Yesterday I booked my first mileage run of the year for next weekend… well, maybe I should consider it more as a “status run”.
A mileage run is a trip you take for no other purpose than to simply build up an additional inventory of frequent flyer miles – as inexpensively as possible. A status run is similar, however instead of you earning the same amount of award and status miles, you simply earn more status miles to re-qualify for elite status.
So why is the second referred to as a status run? Well, because most U.S. based airlines (UA, AA, DL) now award you miles (or will do later this year) based on how much money you spent on a ticket. For example, if I spent $200 USD on a ticket, I might earn just 1.000 miles (if you earn 5 miles per $1 USD spent). However, you would still earn status miles based on the distance flown (and class of service flown).
Thankfully, because I am loyal to non-U.S. airlines, I can still consider my mileage runs “mileage runs” because I continue to earn the same amount of award and status miles. In fact, when flying domestically in First Class around the United States, I earn 325% miles – that’s kind of great for a $400 USD ticket.
However, I think I should call it a status run. Why? Because the main reason I am taking the trip is to re-qualify for Star Alliance Gold (earning status miles) and while I am also earning the same amount of award miles, it isn’t the purpose of the trip. I earn 60% of my miles from credit cards… that’s a huge number. So while I will earn the same amount of award and status miles, I would still consider it a status run because that is the main purpose.
You could look at it differently – because I still earn the same amount of award and status miles (based on class of service and distance flown), it could be considered a mileage run… Running for miles… both award and status.
Most people now consider mileage runs to be just status runs, mainly due to the fact of the revenue-based frequent flyer programmes in the US. I can call my mileage runs both terms because I am still earning the amount of miles I should be truly earning… it is called a “frequent flyer programme”, not a “frequent spender programme” after all…