Mileage Runs: Frequent Flyer Genius Or Pure Insanity?


Search through travel forums and you will find stories of frequent flyers who have endured insane mileage runs in order to earn miles or to maintain airline or hotel status. Most recently, my friend Xavier who writes the travel blog “The Luxury Travel Expert” did an extreme mileage run with a return flight on an Emirates A380 in Business Class Düsseldorf to Dubai and then straight back from Dubai to Düsseldorf, with just a 3-hour stop-over in Dubai. He made use of a pricing error and an unusually low Business Class fare (750 euros per person).

His comments after taking this rather extreme run were “it was a pretty crazy and exhausting adventure as I only spent 3 hours on the ground and arrived back in Düsseldorf 16 hours after I left. And although I am now an Emirates Gold Member, I won’t do another mileage run in the near future as sitting in an aluminium tube for hours with no destination is not only a waste of time but also undermines one’s health.”

My Own Experience

These mileage runs are common practice among points & miles addicts. I have to admit that I have done a number of mileage and mattress runs (mattress runs are the equivalent to mileage runs but in the hotel sector). In the past, I have booked a number of nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Poole and an equally uninspiring Holiday Inn airport hotel, to achieve status and for bonus miles for my stays at the Intercontinental Park Lane.

I also recently booked 3 flights in a widely covered and insane Iberia airline sale to grow my Avios balance. For this offer, I didn’t actually have to take my flight, so the risk was only whether Iberia would honour all the bookings made by frequent flyers who had no intention of flying that particular leg (so far they have).

Is It Worth It?

It depends the value you put on your status and miles and points and the value you put on your time and your health. This is something that will vary hugely from person to person.

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