Friday, September 7, 2012

Mileage Run Update

Today was a productive morning! My little boy slept in later than usual, so I took full advantage of the opportunity and called United to book two more mileage runs to MCO and DSM. All I have to do now is fly what I have booked and I'll at least be a Platinum! That's still 25,000 miles away from my goal of 1K, but for the first time that goal actually seems reachable. It's one thing to say I'm going to go out and fly 100,000 miles, but as I'm finding out, it's another entirely to actually go do it.

Calling United to book a mileage run using an e-cert

I got off to a late start this year, due to having a baby and all, and didn't go on my first run until April. My little one was only 3 months old then when I flew SMF-LAX-EWR-LAX-SMF. The next week the whole family came along and we took baby on his first trip to Maui, then the week after that I went on an overnight and flew SMF-SFO-IAD-EWR-IAH-SMF. I was originally supposed to go EWR-DCA-IAH-SMF on the return, but as anyone who has experienced the "new" United may tell you, s*** often happens, plans change, and well, that didn't happen that way. It's totally OK though, because whoever rebooked me EWR-IAH put me in C (fare code for revenue business class) so I ended up earning 1.5x times miles on the segment and came out about 50 miles ahead of if I had actually flown to DCA. It also got me to Houston a few hours early which opened up the opportunity for a VDB (voluntary denied boarding) situation. I still made it home at the original scheduled time with a $300 e-cert, which I greatly appreciate, because aside from the trips to Maui for work, my mileage running hobby is completely self-funded.

Due to the summer travel season and higher airfares I didn't do any runs. The family and I went back to OGG for a few weeks in July and then I redeemed some miles and took just the baby to JAC to visit family in Wyoming, but other than that, most of the summer was enjoyed at home.

Now that summer is over, the fun officially begins. Next week I fly SMF-LAX-JFK-SFO-SMF with transcon's on United's p.s. flights. At the end of the month I'm going SMF-DEN-MCO-LAX-SMF, finally doing that trip to Orlando that I put off from labor day weekend.

October: SMF-LAX-CLE-MCI-CLE-SFO-SMF (possibly x2), SMF-LAX-SEA-PDX-SEA-LAX-SMF, and SMF-LAX-IAH-ABQ-IAH-LAX-SMF in between my son's "guppie-turtle" swim lessons that we signed him up for here at the local pool. I still have two opportunities to book something else in October, which is usually considered the best month for mileage runs, but it's going to have to be REALLY good to make me want to miss out on swim class.

In early November I'm doing the island hopper and flying SMF-LAX-HNL-MAJ-KWA-KSA-PNI-TKK-GUM-MNL-GUM-HNL-SFO-SMF with a one-day stop over to go surfing in Honolulu. When I get back, SMF-IAH-DEN-DSM-DEN-IAH-SMF, which I love, because if you look at it on a map it makes no sense, and you think they'd make you fly Denver-Houston-Des Moines, but no; somehow I pulled it off. 

Nothing is booked yet for December, but I'll probably end up going to Maui again early in the month.  Due to past experience, I try my best to avoid travel during the holidays, because basically, it sucks. That still leaves a few chances to try and get in extra trips to make 1K, so I'm hoping an praying something reasonably priced to Asia will come along so I can score a bunch of miles at once. If you've noticed, most of my runs tend to be shorter domestic one and there is a reason for that, they're cheap (or even free after I apply one of the many e-certs I've been given this year due to United's dismal operational performance), but the trade-off is I end up spending more time than I would like to away from home. 

For me, mileage running is all about finding that perfect balance, which means sometimes the best CPM (cents per mile) isn't always the best deal if it means extended time away from the family, or even worse, when that time away from family is spent going to Kansas City for three straight weekends in a row! I try to mix it up a bit when I can by picking new destinations or routes. Each time I fly it is an adventure and I always look forward to the opportunity to get away and escape from being a somewhat stir-crazy primarily-stay-at-home mom. But then when I get back, I'm always happy to be home, and I'm infinitely more appreciative of my new life, my wonderful husband, and the perfect baby boy I have there waiting for me. I'm also happy when I get to use all those hard-earned miles and buy them business class seats to Singapore, Bali, and India next year!

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