What Exactly is a Mileage Run, Anyway?
Now that we’re in the second half of the year, many frequent flyers are thinking about maintaining their status with their favorite airlines or hotel chains. This is no surprise, given how travelers value their status and the benefits that come with it.
Most airlines award flyers “status” based on flying a certain number of miles within a year, typically at 25,000, 50,000, 75,000, and 100,000 miles, while most hotel chains award a status typically based on number of nights per year stayed. The different tiers vary in name at airlines and hotel chains, but are all based upon the same principle – the more you travel with a carrier or stay with a hotel chain, the higher up on the food chain you will find yourself.
Flyers achieve these levels by reaching an airline’s specific number of miles or by flying a specified number of segments. For example, United Airlines MileagePlus will give its top published status, Premier 1K, to flyers reaching 100,000 miles or 120 segments, and a requirement of $12,000. Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles program requires 125,000 miles or 140 segments, and $15,000 spent for its top tier, Diamond, while American Airlines’ AAdvantage top tier, Executive Platinum, requires either 100,000 miles or 120 segments.
Meanwhile, travelers staying with a hotel chain achieve elite status after a certain number of stays or nights in a calendar year. Starwood, for example, awards its top tier, Platinum, to Starwood Preferred Guest travelers who complete 25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights within a year, the same requirements for Hyatt Gold Passport’s top tier, Diamond. Hilton awards HHonors grants members Diamond status after 30 eligible stays, 60 eligible nights, or 120,000 Base Points, and Marriott Rewards Platinum status is awarded at 75 eligible nights.
The benefits of achieving elite airline status vary, but can include access to lounges (regardless of class of travel), a bonus in elite qualifying miles when flying in first or business class, the ability to reserve better seats including those in what we at FBT call “premium economy lite”, free or discounted upgrades, priority in stand-by for a different flight, priority in not being bumped if a flight is oversold, fewer or no nuisance fees, among many perks.
Hotels chains are no strangers to perks either, and top-level members are granted certain benefits such as earning more points for money spent during stays, executive lounge access, free breakfasts, upgrades to best available room at check-in, and guaranteed room availability on short notice.
Even with the recent changes in how airlines and, to a lesser extent, calculate elite status, the basic principles behind a mileage run and mattress run still hold true.
A mileage or mattress one comes into play if you are short on status miles or nights and stays to maintain your status. Simply book an inexpensive flight or several nights at different nearby hotels in the same chain to accrue the necessary miles or stays.
Click here to continue to Page 2 – Going on a Mileage or Mattress Run
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