When last we left our intrepid hero (me), I had just crossed a million lifetime miles with United. This not only gives me lifetime Gold, but also my lovely spouse as well. In fact, when we travel together she is equal in status to me – so currently she is a 1K! While Lifetime Gold sounds great, keeping my 1K status sounds even better. Take a look at my summary I posted last month.
Notice the problem that I have – only 83,240 EQM so far this year and we are rapidly running out of “year”. Fortunately, I keep pretty close track of my EQM and realized this summer that I would have to take a mileage run if I was to maintain 1K. My wife was actually encouraging me to take a mileage run since she knew the great benefits that go with being a 1K. Of course, she also wanted me to take her with me! We had our 25th anniversary in July, but were too bust trying to buy a house in Arlington before interest rates rose (again) and had to skip something special on that date other than a very expensive dinner at Ray’s the Steaks.
Searching with several tools for something cheap but exciting, I came across a great rate on my daily subscription to www.theflightdeal.com. BWI to SIN on United for less than $1000 and nearly 20k miles RT! We had never been to Singapore and always wanted to go; having heard so many great stories about the food and shopping. Now while the purpose of this flight is to gain enough miles to make 1K, I am not a fan of the true “mileage run” which purists define as landing and not even leaving the airport before boarding the flight home. I did one of these a few years ago and it is pretty exhausting. So if at all possible we take a “Semi-Mileage Run” and make a mini-vacation out of it. Truth be told a few days in a single location is about all I need. A week in one place is just not my style.
At the time I thought that I would need 19,000 EQM. A short trip popped up in Sept. which got me 2000 unexpected EQM, but it didn’t change the fact that I needed a boatload! Singapore seemed to fit the bill just right although I did not take the most direct route which would have been BWI-EWR-HKG-SIN. I was somewhat constrained on time as I wanted to use the Veterans Day weekend and I had a big meeting the Wed. before that I had to chair. I found a good flight leaving at O’ Dark Thirty on Thursday and a good return fare for the next Monday. The wife convinced me that we needed a little more time on the ground so I extended the return until Wed. the 13th. Four days in paradise! I ended up bumping the price up to $1088, but then applied a $150 voucher UA had given me in July for a flight misconnect due to mechanical problems. So $938 for a total of 21,500 EQM comes out to 4.36 CPM (cent per mile) which is a pretty good deal. I have four UA Global Premier Upgrades to you to ease the ass-pain, but they wouldn’t be useable on such a low fare. I checked out the requirements and fing the W class fare required for upgrading would costs me $1770. Forget that! I will gladly sit in Coach the whole way happy that I did not have to spend an extra $700 on the possibility of getting upgraded. Not too many people look forward to 29 hours on a plane!
Now what to do about the wife? No sense paying for her to get 21,500 EQM and make Silver since she was now Lifetime Gold. Also, she was planning on being at our home in Anchorage in early November. Well, I did say that I was sitting on 1,000,000 RDM on UA right? Looking for flights ANC-SIN was not so bad, but finding ones in premium class was. My wife hates to fly coach – good thing she is married to a miles savvy guy like me, right? I find her a First Class itinerary ANC-SFO-NRT-SIN for 70,000 miles. They had a similar itin for 60,000 for Business class, but for 10k in miles, why not go First Class? For the record, I have never flown International First Class. If I get an upgrade or spend miles, it is always on the wife or daughter. Maybe someday when I am old and decrepit.
The return news for the wife is not so good. She needs to come back on the same flight as me, but I cannot find worthwhile mileage tickets that offer an upgrade the whole way. We end up settling on a flight that is SIN-NRT in coach, NRT-DEN in Business, and we’ll hope for the complimentary upgrade DEN-BWI. It still costs 60,000 miles since they charge the highest of any single segment. Ehh, I have miles to spare, 60k it is for a total of 130k for the trip. Of course, I know that I’ll earn back 43k in miles just from the trip as well as 2k more from buying my fare with the Chase United Card. I should be back over a million miles in no time. Time to pack!