The wife and I target long weekends to get cheap airfares to accumulate elite qualifying miles in order to keep our status.  Due to my being a Million Miler on United, we (spouse matches your Million Miler status) are perennially Gold there and there is not any point in trying for miles there unless I think that I can get to 75k+.  Since United is easy, we focus on our other main FF program, Alaska Mileage Plan.

My wife used to think I was crazy to research so much about frequent flying, but once she earned status on Alaska, she became addicted to keeping it.  Last year she made MVP Gold 75K by BIS.  I matched my expiring United 1K status and Alaska gave my MVP Gold 75K also.  I guess we are an AS power couple!  So after a couple of really cheap DCA-LAX mileage runs in February we are well positioned, but still have a long ways to go in the year to get 75,000 on a primarily domestic airline.

The secret is to fly as far as one can and D.C. to either Alaska or Hawaii is about 5,000 miles each way.  Alaska makes mileage runs easier than most airlines due to the companion fare allowed by their BoA credit card.  So for any fare I can find, my wife flies along for only $99 + taxes and earns the same mileage that I do.  Note that if your primary program is AA or DL, you can use this technique also and credit your miles to those program.  However, the DL mileage is down due to the continuing hostility as part of the “Battle for Seattle”.

This run I arranged for us to not only go to our second home in ANC, but also hit HNL for a couple of days.  The routing is shown below and the total cost was $1,270, but divide that in half and get $635 per person.  The routing will get us each 12,065 EQM and with the MVPG 75K 125% bonus, we each get 27,146 RDM each.  Some of my fellow bloggers value AS miles at 2 cents each for a value of $542 earned meaning that we are theoretically spending less than $100 to visit ANC and HNL!

ANC HNL Mileage Run

While the routing to ANC is pretty simple, normally I would route through LAX to pick up an extra 1,000 miles, just couldn’t find a good price for this weekend.  However, on the way back, I found routing through BLI (Bellingham, WA).  Not only does this pick up an extra 500 miles for the BLI-SEA route, but the chance of getting upgraded on a less crowded flight is much greater.  So how did our upgrades look?  Well, I used certificates we got for being Golds for U class flights and got lucky for a couple of flights with complimentary upgrades.  The wife was already upgraded 10 of 12 flights so far this year, so top status really makes a difference.  Here’s how our itinerary looked before we boarded Saturday morning.

ANC HNL Schedule

So First Class for every flight except one so far!  More to follow in the remaining days this week…


Posted by glenn | 2 Comments

2 responses to “DC-Alaska-Hawaii Mileage Run”

  1. Vicente says:

    How did you develop this MR? Playing with single segments endlessly, or something else?

    • glenn says:

      @ Vincente – I look for destinations that are far apart initially. Then after finding an attractive fare, try to warp the routing by experimenting with flying through different connections in order to maximize miles for the same price. Connection times can be a challenge so decide how much risk you can accept for a delayed flight missing your connection. Using a view on the airlines site that shows the fares for the whole month is key as shifting a day or two can result in a dramatic fare difference. For example, we flew the long weekend starting on Saturday rather than Thursday or Friday when most people take off for vacation. And then return on Wed. rather than Monday or Tuesday.

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