Mileage Running for United 1K Status

Once the semester is over, I will be going on a number of exciting trips. While most of them are for quick-turns (twelve hours or less at the destination), I did I manage to find a decent fare to Hawaii, the weekend after school lets out for the summer. Below is a map of where I will be flying in May/June, and a description of how many miles I will earn for each trip.

image from www.gcmap.com

Trip 1 - Lihue

My first trip will be to Lihue, Hawaii. I'll start by flying from Denver to San Jose, where I will spend a night at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. At 6am the following morning, I will fly from San Jose to LAX, and then on to Lihue. Unfortunately, the Hyatt in Lihue is charging more than I plan on spending for the trip, so I will stay at the local Sheraton, which is currently being renovated. However, all guests are going to receive free breakfast, due to the ongoing renovations. The next day, I'll take a red-eye from Lihue to LAX, and then go through San Jose to Denver.

For the trip to Lihue, I will earn 8,126 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs), and 16,252 Redeemable Miles (RDMs). If you care to calculate the cost per mile (CPM) for this trip, then it comes out to 0.03433423579 CPM. To calculate the CPM, just divide the total paid for the trip (9) by the total miles earned. If I calculate the CPM for the RDMs that I earn, the trip is even less, coming in at 0.01716711789 CPM :)

Trip 2 & 4 - Sao Paulo, Brazil

About a month ago, the Mileage Run Deals forum on FlyerTalk was buzzing about the latest mistake fare. For whatever reasons, somebody at Continental had programmed a fare from Seattle to Newark for 3 a/i (all in - including taxes), but allowed the passenger to connect in Anchorage, Bogota, Honolulu, Kona, Lima, or Sao Paulo, all without raising the price of the ticket. As I wanted to get a head start on the 100K EQMs needed for 1K status, I purchased two of the mistake fares. My routing is as follows:

SEA-SFO-LAX-IAD-GRU-ORD-EWR

If you include the positioning flights that I booked, DEN-LAX-SEA & EWR-DEN, I will receive 17,562EQMs and 35,124RDMs. If you calculate the CPM, EQMs come out to 0.0132678163, while RDMs are 0.006633640815CPM.

I booked two of the mistake fares to GRU, so after both trips are completed, I will have earned 35,124EQMs, and 70,248RDMs. If I had more time to book, I would have also booked one of the trips that had an eight hour layover in Honolulu.

Trip 3 - Miami

Although it was not a mistake fare, CO was offering some decent prices for LAX-MIA. Routing was LAX-IAH-MIA-IAH-DEN-LAX, giving 4,969EQMs and 9,938RDMs. While I will be stopping the trip in Houston, so I can fly up to Seattle to begin the second trip to Brazil, I will earn 6,043EQMs and 12,086RDMs. CPM for the EQMs comes out to 0.03028297203 and 0.01514148062 for the RDMs.

Trip 4 - Raleigh Durham & Portland, Maine

As I have done for the last three summers, I will be working at the Chewonki Foundation, in Wiscasset, Maine, from mid-June to mid-August. While this trip has not yet been booked, I estimate that the routing will be as follows:

DEN-ORD-RDU-ORD-PWM.

This routing will earn me 3,082EQMs and 6,614RDMs.

Total EQMs and RDMs:

All of the flights above will occur between May 31st and June 13th. With varying numbers of flights each day, I'll be on no more than four flights per day, however, some of those flights will be long-haul, international flights.

Added together, I will have earned 52,375EQMs, and 105,200RDMs. All of the miles earned will be Butt-In-Seat, which means that I will have flown 52,375 miles in eleven days. With all of the flights added together, I will renew my 1K status by June 11th, or earlier, depending on any changes to my flight schedules.

I'm sure some people reading this entry will think that I am crazy for flying so much. However, I'd like to put it into perspective. With the miles that I earn from these flights, I qualify for 1K status on United. For that, I earn Six System-Wide Upgrades, that can be used on every international flight operated by United, provided that I purchase at least a W-fare. I will also be given 100% bonus on all flights operated by United, Continental, Lufthansa, US Airways, and Air Canada. In addition, I will be given the chance to get Unlimited Domestic Upgrades (UDUs) on all domestic flights on United and Continental. As of now, I have been upgraded into first class on all but one of the domestic flights I have flown in 2011. 1Ks also receive Star Alliance Gold Status, access to United's US call centers, priority check-in/security/boarding, and priority over other elites for upgrades.

In my opionion, 1K status is a very worthwhile benefit. I can book award travel for almost anywhere in the world, and if necessary, cancel the ticket and have the miles refunded for free. If you are not a 1K or Global Services member on United, then you are charged a 0 fee to have miles redeposited. This benefit came in handy on Saturday, as I canceled an award ticket that I had booked for December.

If you have any other questions about why I fly so much, or how you can get started, feel free to post below, or email me: daniel@upgrd.com

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