Elite Status

Planning A Mileage Run … To Get Cash?

Written by Charlie

Mileage runs are flights flown for the purpose of accruing mileage. In this frequent flyer climate, the miles mostly sought after by doing mileage runs are for elite earnings, not award miles, but there was a day when people did a lot of mileage runs for the award miles as well. Normally, these trips are quick trips out and back (but many do turn the cheap trip into a mini vacation)

Mileage Running In The Past

I have done a fair amount of mileage runs in the past. Back when Delta had a doubling bonus on MQMs (their elite miles) out of select airports (Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville, and St. Louis), I drove down to Pittsburgh for a few different flights. One of the several trips I did was to Long Beach, California. I was able to pick up 12,500 elite miles for only $220! That was a steal! I also did back-to-back trips to Seattle (getting upgraded on all legs) and also a quick trip to Sydney (two hours on the ground and 45,000 elite miles for $600).

Probably one of my favorite had been the very cheap tickets to Japan a few years ago. For $400, I was able to fly to Tokyo and do it through hubs that gave me double miles as a bonus. That trip netted me a little over 50,000 award miles and gave me 17 hours to explore Tokyo – pretty nice trip!

My Current Mileage Running Plans

Now that Delta and United have switched to a revenue model for the earning of award miles, it only makes sense to do mileage runs on those carriers if you want to accrue elite miles. In my situation, I am renewing my Aegean elite status this year (pretty decent program plus it is my “home” airline) having left United and Delta status behind.

Aegean changed up their elite program last year so it has to be earned every year. However, if you are already an Aegean Gold, you only need to fly half of what is required by someone trying to get Gold from nothing. That is a pretty good incentive to hit it year after year! I thought it would be a slam dunk for me since the mileage requirement is small enough but just about every trip I have flown this year thus far as been on miles (a good thing!). So, I am booking some of my trips as revenue trips to get the mileage I need before my elite year is up in November.

Planning A Mileage Run To Get Cash?!


Ever think about doing a mileage run to pick up cash? 🙂 Via Shutterstock

Which brings me to planning a mileage run to get cash! As I am sure most of you know, Greece has been going through a difficult financial time. Today marks the first time in 3 weeks that the banks have opened. It created a very difficult situation for the Greek people being only able to get €60 out each day and not knowing when the money was going to run out of the banks.

When the news first started coming out about the capital controls that were being put into place several weeks ago, the early reports said it would affect everyone – Greeks and foreigners alike – with the €60 limit. Not only that, but out of panic, some vendors began refusing all credit cards as well. With things looming like rent and, I don’t know, food purchases, I began to consider my options.

The best option was to fly to another city in the Eurozone every few weeks (or as long as the bank crisis lasted) and get my limit of withdrawals for two days from ATMs to hold us over. Hey, I needed to get miles to requalify anyway so why not turn it into a mileage run to get cash?!

I came up with quite a few, nice trips to pick up a good chunk of the miles I needed and was even going to be able to use up some of my business class upgrade certificates. However, the official news came out after that that foreign cards would be unaffected and foreign credit cards had to be accepted (though some smaller vendors still did not want to take them).

Oh well, on to other mileage run plans! The best part about having to do a mileage run like I thought I needed to was that it gave a different purpose to my trip, besides just earning miles. 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.