Home » Do you need a mileage run to top you out for the year? Here’s what to do (Travel Tip Tuesday #45)
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Do you need a mileage run to top you out for the year? Here’s what to do (Travel Tip Tuesday #45)

by Jeremy B

It’s that time of the year. No, not Christmas, silly (well, it’s that too, but we don’t care about that, haha). It’s the time of year where we are putting the finishing touches on our status for the year.

Each Tuesday we share a unique or interesting travel tidbit so be sure to read all of the preceding Travel Tip Tuesday’s here. In the month of December we are focusing on points & miles. 

Status you say? Yep, status. That sometimes elusive set of privileges us frequent travelers get from all of the travel we do each year. Maybe it’s hotel status (like Hilton Honors) or Airline Status (e.g. Southwest Rapid Rewards A-List) or even Rental Car Status (like Hertz Gold).

travel status

With status comes privileges that make our travel life easier each year and of course there’s points. Yes, points. Those wonderful things we earn while we travel and in theory use to book more travel (but, like, fun travel).

In this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday post we are reminding readers to double check their balances and “do the math” on whether it makes sense to do a quick mileage run (or mattress run) to get over the limits for 2020.

Travel Tip Tuesday #45 – Double Check your Balances and Do the Math. A step by step guide to doing a practical mileage or mattress run

When considering a mileage run (which we detail here) there’s a few things you need to do:

  1. Check your balances – login to each of your accounts and find out where you are out. Don’t forget to check accounts and programs you may not use all that often. For example, I rarely stay at Marriott properties, but I do have a few stays there. Check and see where you are at with all programs you participate in – even small levels of participation.
  2. Do the math – determine how far you are away from the next level. For example, I switched to United as my primary airline this year, mid year. While Silver was easy enough I wasn’t sure if I was going to hit Gold. I did the math on all remaining booked flights (United tells you what each flight will earn you) and realized I was about 4800 or so PQMs short. Ok, now I know where I stand.
  3. Consider the benefits – review the benefits you get at the next level to see if they are useful to you. As my BoardingArea.com colleague from PizzaInMotion reminded me, “what do you value in travel.” Is it free checked bags? Not for me because I don’t check. Is it extra mileage earning? In this case, yes, since I am trying to take the family to Europe and want every mile I can get. Better upgrades? Some rewards level programs have levels and benefits that are pretty lame. Figure out for YOU what you value.
  4. Do some more math – so much math! LOL…sorry. This time, do the math on what it would cost you to close the gap. In my case, to close the United Gold gap it was a $350.00 round trip mileage run to Newark and back. Done. I can expense it too. Maybe, though, the gap is too wide. The cost too high. Maybe it’s gonna cost you $1200.00 to close the gap and the value doesn’t align with the cost. Don’t overspend.
  5. Double check other methods – the most common way to earn status is to use the product, but you don’t always have to go that route. By earning Gold Status for 2020 with United I automatically get Marriott’s Gold Bonvoy level. That’s handy – even though I don’t stay at Marriott’s, those few times I do this will make it nicer. Now a single mileage run (my Newark trip) get’s me two status levels on different programs. Feels like a win. Other programs can be hit via credit card spend (e.g. Southwest has a companion pass program that you can pretty darn close to via credit card).

Armed with this approach you should be able to figure out what you need to do, want to do, and can do to get you where you need to be for 2020. Boom. Problem solved.

What tricks do you use?

Check out our Christmas Guide

Christmas is just around the corner…we’ve got you covered in our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers….you are welcome.

The Christmas gift guide for travelers

Thanks for reading this week

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For readers interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might be like these great articles:

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Do you need a mileage run to top you out for the year_ Here's what to do Travel Tip Tuesday

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