I am a "mileage runner" - I fly circuitous routes on Delta solely for the purpose of accumulating frequent flyer miles. This weekend, I flew to Alaska and back - over 8,000 miles total. Wanna hear more, or do you have any general travel questions?...
I just returned home from a "mileage run" on Delta. I flew 8,014 miles from Boston to Alaska: BOS-ATL-MSP-ANC-MSP-BOS. I left on Saturday 10/12 and returned this morning (Monday 10/14). I was in Anchorage for about 20 hours before I turned around and came home. I fly frequently for leisure (mostly to visit my husband, who lives in Houston) and occasionally for business, but I took this trip solely to put me over the threshold for Platinum Medallion status on Delta this year (75,000 miles). My ticket was US$380, or an average cost of 4.7 cents per mile.
In addition to the 8,014 elite qualification miles (MQMs on Delta) I earned, I was upgraded to first class on two flights (BOS-ATL and MSP-ANC), and I earned $160 worth of "redeemable" bonus miles that can be spent to purchase award tickets in the future. I also got to spend a day in Anchorage, a city to which I have been several times with my family and of which I have many fond memories.
I used hotel points to book a free night's stay at the Sheraton in Anchorage so I could shower and get some real sleep before exploring on Sunday. I also have SPG Gold status with Sheraton, so I was able to access the club facilities at the hotel and have free wi-fi and a free hot breakfast with lots of espresso. (Delta and Starwood have a crossover rewards program that allows frequent travelers to earn points with both companies when using either one for travel.)
This was my second mileage run ever. Last year, I flew BOS-DTW-SLC-OAK-LAX-DTW-BOS: $265 for 5,812 elite qualification miles, or about 4.5 cents per mile. The typical price range for a mileage run is 3-5 cents per mile, or better if you can find it. Many of these runs are done toward the end of the year, as elite qualification runs through the end of the calendar year, and frequent flyers have a good idea of where they will fall next year as their annual travel winds down.
I spoke with /u/brownboy13 before I left, and he said that for verification, I could submit images of my boarding passes and my current Delta Gold Medallion card for review and let you guys decide. So, I have included links here and here for my boarding passes from my trip (plus all of my boarding passes from the trip the previous weekend) and my current SkyMiles Gold Medallion card, respectively. (I am posting an image of my Gold card because I will not have Platinum status until after my travel during the first weekend in November.)
Please ask any questions you might have! I understand that many of you non-mileage-runners (my husband included!) think I am nuts, but if anyone wants to know more, or just needs helpful travel advice in general, ask away. :)
ETA: I have dinner place at a little restaurant up in Saugus that is closing soon (Hilltop Steakhouse). :( I will be back later tonight to check in! Thanks for the questions - I hope I was able to at least entertain you for a bit!