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Yesterday, I wrote about some amazing domestic airfares on American Airlines and US Airways.  These included Chicago to Los Angeles for $41 one-way and roundtrips from Boston or New York to Los Angeles for $144.

All the talk made me think if it was worth doing a mileage run at all.  Mileage running, or booking mileage tickets solely to earn the miles from flying, is just about dead – there are very few times when I think it makes any sense at all, but this might be one of those times.

  • It’s on American Airlines, which is the last of the Big 3 US Airlines to stay on the miles flown = miles earned paradigm (with United and Delta, the amount of miles you earn is based on the COST of your ticket, not the distance flown)
  • There are (were) multiple days available, with some same-day turns even available
  • American does have a few status challenges available –

It’s not available any more but Frequent Miler recently did a “#30KToNowhere” status challenge, where he spent $1181 to earn 25,824 miles and complete a US Airways challenge that, once US Airways and American merged earlier this year, gave him American Executive Platinum status

Might this be worth it?

Frequent Miler did most of his running on the backs of a LAS-PHL roundtrip that cost $75 at the time.  That $75 gave 4346 flown miles, which is a much better deal than the 5594 miles we could get with BOS-DFW-LAX-DFW-BOS for $144.  What might we get with the current deal (if we had booked it when it first came out – looks like most if not all of the fares are gone today)

There were some same-day turns available


That was pricing out at $144 (it’s much higher right now) for 5594 flown miles, or 2.57 cpm (cents per mile)

But of course, living in Cincinnati, I’d have to get to either Los Angeles or Boston.  I actually found a great roundtrip in October


That 4192 miles was only $224 roundtrip, which is 5.34 cpm

So I started putting together a possible grouping of a series of flights

  • CVG-DFW-LAX 10/20 7:15p-11:17p  – $224, 2046 miles
  • LAX-DFW-BOS-DFW-LAX 10/21 6:15a-4:49p, 5:40p-12:48a – $144, 5594 miles
  • LAX-DFW-MIA-DFW-LAX, 10/24 6:00a-12:48a, $190, 4711 miles
  • LAX-DFW-CVG 10/28 12:35p-11:25p – (part of roundtrip) 2046 miles

So far with those flights, I would have spent $558 (and part of that could have been offset or even completely paid for with Citi ThankYou points from my latest credit card churn, in exchange for 14,397 miles, or 3.87cpm.  I’d have needed to find some better dates and more flights to make it truly worth it, but it might have dropped the cost per mile down a little bit.

In the end….

I didn’t do anything for a few reasons

  1. I don’t really value those miles a ton because I don’t have any kind of elite status with American or any other airline
  2. I don’t have status because most if not all of my flights are award flights (I get my miles from credit cards and manufactured spending
  3. I ran out of time – these deals go FAST.  Even though this wasn’t a mistake fare like the $80 first class flights to London, all the deals were gone in a matter of hours

If you missed out on this deal, you might try 4 reasons why you’ll miss out on the next mistake fare or 5 steps to get you ready for the next mistake fare sale!

But I really like “puzzles” and challenges like this, so I thought I would share the notes that I took down while the deals were still active.  I was also curious if others think this was a deal I should have jumped on.  Did you book anything?  Let me know in the comments.

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