The Painful Yearend Mileage Run

united_airlines_1k I truly was looking forward to a week at home between the holidays. No travel, just catching up on a number of projects I have neglected, including Live and Let's Fly. Then I noticed I ended the year with 145K United Airlines Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs). Immediately, I shook my head for not planning better (one of my few trips on American Airlines could have been on United instead…) but immediately resolved to take one more trip to get those last 5K miles. Surpassing the 150K threshold with United results in two more systemwide upgrades and two more regional upgrades, well worth the cost of a ticket.

I spent about six hours trying to find an exotic destination I had not been to. Ultimately, I selected Aruba. Tickets on United were $695 (yes, I'm ashamed to say I considered that a good price) and the flights were wide-open. In fact, after booking three days before departure my upgrades cleared overnight on a LAX-IAD-AUA-ORD-LAX routing (with an overnight in Chicago in order to try out the Park Hyatt there).

But then I tried to find a hotel in Aruba. Oops…

Aruba has a Hyatt resort and so my first stop was Sold out. Resorts are exempted from the 48hr Diamond and 72hr Platinum guaranteed room offer, so even with my status I could not secure a room.  And the rest of the island was sold out as well: 



So I cancelled the trip—I have no desire to sleep on the beach or spend the night sitting in a casino or hotel lobby. I'll return to Aruba again on another occasion, though I must admit it is not high on my travel wish list.

With Aruba cancelled, I was still 5K miles in the hole. Thankfully, Boston came through with a same-day LAX-BOS-SFO-LAX trip for $442. With a $400 voucher applied, I won't pay much out of pocket for this last trip of the year and the upgrades have cleared.

But still, $442 for a 1hr trip to Boston? That hurts. Hopefully I'll plan better in 2013.

(thanks to AeroWesty for the help in finding the BOS MR)


Adam December 27, 2012 at 08:56 pm

Funny - I'm doing AUA for my Mileage run tomorrow (LGA-CVG-ATL-AUA-ATL-IAD-LGA) -- and although hotel prices were exorbitant, as of 2 weeks ago at least, there was wide points availability at the Holiday Inn and Radisson.

I hate flying last minute MRs to hit 150K. My first year as 1K, I ended up at 149K, although I did not realize that I was missing the miles until the last few weeks of December.. Took a trip to LAX, for $500, minus a $250 e-cert. While the extra SWUs & CR1s were nice, the seven hour delay at LAX was not much fun. Should have been back to DEN at 12pm~ (left at 7am), landed after 7:30pm.

Good luck with your BOS run!

JASON December 28, 2012 at 01:44 pm

i am also LAX based and 5K short of gold at 50K miles. Which day is this mileage run for? I cant seem to get all those segments at $442 RT! That's a great deal this late in the year

Hi Jason, I booked this yesterday on (T-Class) for travel on Saturday.

Sally February 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

Actually I had a really fun one-day trip to Cleveland from ORD to remake gold on AA. Instead of just doing a turnaround I went to the art museum, saw an interesting exhibit, had lunch in their cafe and then back to the airport for the flight home. Everyone was most helpful, especially some USAir agents who explained how to take the light rail to where I needed to be, rather than a taxi. So a miles flight doesn't have to be a waste of a day:)

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