This isn’t a Devil’s Advocate post, but I’ve been researching mileage runs during the lazy weekend and stumbled on one that I wanted to pass along for fun, along with a thought on how to maximize it.
I’m generally not a mileage runner as I usually don’t have the time. In fact, the only official mileage run I’ve ever done was a roundtrip last year from Los Angeles to Tucson for a few end-of-year miles to put me over the top for American status. But with the upcoming American/US Airways loyalty program merger next year (covered in detail here at Travel Codex by Scott and Amol), I’ve been intrigued by the possibility of picking up Executive Platinum status on American via a US Airways challenge (which Frequent Miler and others have talked about in detail).
A Delta Mileage Run
However, while I was looking for American and US Airways mileage runs (update: h/t to DL172 at Flyertalk for the original AA run), I happened upon this one on Delta…
That’s over 22,000 miles for just $840, which is around 3.7 cents per mile. With fares as high as they are, getting below 4 cents per mile is pretty sweet nowadays.
On the other hand, this looks super painful for anyone who doesn’t already have status with Delta. If you’re Diamond or Platinum and can count on being upgraded for many of these short domestic hops, then it wouldn’t be too awful. But if you’re just a regular non-elite schmoe like myself, that’s a lot of time sitting in the back with the ham ‘n’ eggers. It also requires overnights in Hong Kong and DC both inbound and outbound, so you’d have to add hotel nights into the cost as well. Also, thanks to the changes Delta is implementing in SkyMiles for 2015, the redeemable miles you’d get from this trip are minimal.
One could argue that it’s much easier to pick up Medallion Qualifying Miles via credit card spend. Several of the different flavors of American Express Delta cards offer MQM bonuses for reaching annual spend thresholds, which in most cases is a lot less agonizing than sitting on all these flights.
But some people aren’t comfortable with or don’t have access to credit cards, and others don’t want to manufacture the large amounts of spend needed to reach those high annual thresholds. So for those folks, this run might be worth doing.
Pick Up Delta Platinum Status For 2015
There’s a way one could use this trip to score more than just 22,000 MQM’s. If you already have elite status with another airline, you can request a Delta SkyMiles Medallion Status Match Challenge (details and the link to request the challenge are here)…
As you can see, if you have either American Executive Platinum or United Premier/1K status (or similar status with another airline), you can match to Delta Platinum. By doing so, you’ll get Delta Platinum status immediately and then have 90 days to pick up 18,750 MQM’s in order to keep Platinum status until January 31, 2016. (Nope, MQM’s acquired via credit card spend don’t count — you have to actually fly these miles.)
So if you requested the challenge, this run would more than cover your challenge requirements. For just $840 and a few days of flying, you’d have Delta Platinum status for all of 2015. Plus you’d have that Platinum status for the run itself, which would mean a lot less time in coach on the domestic legs (the international legs are another story).
Availability in January and February
If you’re interested in pursuing this, you can find via ITA Matrix (see Scott’s seminal posts on how to use ITA or his recent recap of ITA at the Chicago Seminars) about a dozen available dates for this run in January and another half-dozen in February at or around that $840 price…
This isn’t a run I’ll be doing as I don’t have high enough status with either American or United to be able to challenge at Platinum. But if anyone decides to go for it, definitely drop me a line or a tweet and let me know how it goes!
Recent Posts By The Devil’s Advocate:
- Are We Wasting Our Lives Manufacturing Spend?
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- Just How Terrible Are Citi ThankYou Points? (Yes, It’s An Encore!)
Find the entire collection of Devil’s Advocate posts here.