Friday, April 15, 2011

What people do for miles: An Epic Mileage Run

I mentioned in an earlier post that the mileage game can work in your favor if you watch out for the pitfalls, but some people take this stuff seriously. In this post, I give a tribute to a FlyerTalk member known as "colonius" who decided he wanted to keep his top tier elite status with United in December of last year, but found that he was some 47,000 miles short. What to do?

A mileage run of epic proportions: 47,000 miles in 11 days.


That's Seattle to Denver to Honolulu to Los Angeles to San Francisco to Sydney (Australia) to Melbourne back to Sydney back to San Francisco to Los Angeles back to Honolulu and back again to San Fransisco then to Chicago to connect to Munich (Germany) to Paris (France) to Frankfurt (Germany) to, once again, San Francisco and out to Honolulu one last time before heading back to Seattle via San Francisco one final time. All in 11 days. $3,000 for the tickets, all economy (before his upgrades). I don't even want to calculate how much time he actually spent on the plane and in the airports.

So why on earth would you do this just for honor of being "1K", or an upper tier elite? Does this sort of thing even make sense?

Well, maybe.

  • With his current elite bonus, he'll earn 94,000 redeemable miles. That's almost two tickets to Europe or two tickets to the Caribbean plus one domestic ticket or one and a half tickets to Asia or half of a round the world ticket.
  • During his mileage run, he got several upgrades to first class due to his elite status. If he is flying a lot next year, he'll keep getting those upgrades.
  • Those 47,000 miles go towards his lifetime mileage on United, which at 1,000,000 miles gets you free elite status for life. That's 4.5% of that goal done in 11 days. 
  • In his case in particular, he did have business in Europe so at least PART of the trip was work related
colonius, I salute your tireless pursuit of miles and your truly epic mileage run.


  1. That is crazy!

    One thing I'd like to know: how much time did he spend in aircraft during those 11 days?

  2. 84 to 108 hours? Somewhere in there? About 33% of the time was on a plane, and probably more in an airport.