Last post I talked about finding and flying the dreaded end of year mileage runs. These tend to be stressful as you are worried about not making status, there is little time along with everything else for the holidays, etc. On the otehr hand are mileage runs done at the beginning of the year. These are much more pleasant as you can pick and chose at a time when few people are traveling. After the holiday rush, few people want to fly and that’s why all the airlines offer their best deals from about 5 Jan through mid-March before Spring Break starts.
Last year, the wife and I found a $390 fare from HNL-LAX-IAH-BZE (Belize) that started us with 10,000 EQM for the year. This is not that hard to find. As I related in my last post, you can go to Flyertalk or Milepoint Mileage Run pages. However, something that I like to do is simply go to your favorite airlines reservation page and do a flexible time search for some exotic desitinations that interest you. Here is a sample below from Alaska Airlines, but most airlines will have something similar.
I plugged in two random dates, but now we can see when all the low fares are to be had. It’s unfortunate that the really low fares are during the week, but maybe we can use part of that. Say you decide that a weekend in HNL sounds good in order to get away from all that rain in California. Fly out on Sat., 26 Jan and back on Monday, 28 Jan. and you have a nice weekend in Hawaii for $300 and start the year off with 5,000 miles in your account.
Try out a few searches on your favorite airline or an affiliated one that will get you EQM credited to your favorite airline and try out a bunch of destinations. Note you may find it a good idea to print screen on some of these searches so you can remember all the choices. There are also other techniques for looking for some mileage runs. One that I found recently thanks to Aadvantage Geek, is TheFlightDeal. This subscription service will e-mail you various flight deals that they find that are all less than 6 cents/ mile. Here is a shot of their typical e-mail.
I did not include the whole e-mail, but showed you a sample of the detail given for each deal that they find. It helpfully gives you the parameters of the sale fare and how to find it on the ITA search engine. I am kind of excited about htis service and hope to snag a great fare or two before they disappear. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a great mileage run on Flyertalk, only to find out you were a day late in grabbing it.
So get out there and start searching. I find the first quarter of the year quite adventurous and end up going places that I never expected, like Belize! A final note that is a little more advanced. Once you find the end points of the mileage run that you want to take, go back and start to look for crooked routings that will give you even more miles. The best way to do this is using the “Multi-City” choice on your airlines search function, instead of selecting “One Way” or “Round Trip”. Then start trying some detours through cities that are common connection hubs. So for example, if you want to travel from Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL), try making it EWR to Hoouston (IAH) and then to HNL. A lot of the time you can get this for the same ost, but add on several hundred miles to your total.
Good Luck and Good Hunting!