I’m close to achieving premier status on an airline for the first time. I generally fly on the best price but I’ve been consolidating my flights to United and Continental this year. I have one more flight to the East coast but the traditional routings would leave me about 1,500 miles short of reaching the necessary 25,000 miles. Time for some creativity.
Here are some links to building “mileage runs” – intentionally bad airline itineraries designed to rack up additional frequent flyer miles. Also in the list below are some unique or useful itinerary planning tools. I was particularly blown away by ITA’s Matrix which lets you specify how many hops, on what airlines, in what class of travel and with what connections to build a trip. These will come in handy when I get on the Amazing Race.
- InsideFlyer article on mileage runs – with links to tools
- FlyerTalk mileage run tools – an epic list of tools
- FlyerTalk mileage run strategy – how one MR fanatic goes about booking his trips
- Travelocity DreamMap – display cheap trips on a map using a starting location, show where you can go on the cheap
- HappyFlier – strategies on finding routes
- ITA Software’s Matrix Planner – lets you specify arcane airline codes to build exactly the route desired and price it
- Great Circle Mapper – for sticking in a flight route like SFO-LAX-IAH-MCO and figuring out the total miles. 2,570 if you’re counting.
- Fare Codes, Award calculations, Mileage charts
- United Origin-Destination mileage calculator (also shows many valid routing options)
Updated 6/22/12 – United has a mileage calculator between two airports that also shows lots of valid routes which can be used to help book award itineraries.
Also, need to plug MileValue.com. Scott helped me rebook an award ticket to save me 40k miles and upgrade to 1st class one direction plus add a free one-way. You can hire him to do the same!