Author Topic: Is a mileage run an investment?  (Read 998 times)

ginjaninja

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Is a mileage run an investment?
« on: October 02, 2018, 10:00:37 AM »
I have a question on whether I am being delusional or if this is actually a good idea.

Situation
Currently on track to reach United Premier Platinum status.  Most of my travel is work related, they will spend ~$10,800 on my flights this year. 
Could spend ~$1200 on personal flights and do a mileage run to get to Premier 1K (Minimum spend $12,000)

Would it be considered an investment to spend $1200 of my own money to fly to China, Europe, Australia, Etc. to get the next level of status?  The Points Guy valuations are Premier Platinum = $4580 and Premier 1k = $8810.

It would seem I am spending $1200 to get $4230 in value.  The value is obtained through complimentary global upgrades to first class, more miles per dollar spent, and other perks.

I want to hear what the MMM community would do in this situation, because if I am going to do this I need to start now and not wait until December. 

FI45RE

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2018, 10:09:10 AM »
I have a question on whether I am being delusional or if this is actually a good idea.

Situation
Currently on track to reach United Premier Platinum status.  Most of my travel is work related, they will spend ~$10,800 on my flights this year. 
Could spend ~$1200 on personal flights and do a mileage run to get to Premier 1K (Minimum spend $12,000)

Would it be considered an investment to spend $1200 of my own money to fly to China, Europe, Australia, Etc. to get the next level of status?  The Points Guy valuations are Premier Platinum = $4580 and Premier 1k = $8810.

It would seem I am spending $1200 to get $4230 in value.  The value is obtained through complimentary global upgrades to first class, more miles per dollar spent, and other perks.

I want to hear what the MMM community would do in this situation, because if I am going to do this I need to start now and not wait until December. 

Do you have the 100k PQMs? I wouldn't do it, but then again, I wouldn't fly United to Asia or Australia. Keep in mind that the 2019 1K will require $15k spend, not $12k as it is currently.

ginjaninja

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2018, 10:42:13 AM »
I would be able to get 100k miles by the end of the year by spending ~$1200 on flights.  I would not get the PQM without it.

I understand the differences for next year, I was asking the question for this year.

LifeHappens

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2018, 10:45:19 AM »
It would seem I am spending $1200 to get $4230 in value.  The value is obtained through complimentary global upgrades to first class, more miles per dollar spent, and other perks.
Are those perks truly worth $1200 of your hard earned green soldiers? I personally would only do this if the additional miles per dollar would get me more than $1200 worth of future flights.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2018, 10:47:40 AM »
Nope.  Not an investment.

If it's worth it to you to SPEND that- spend it. But what you are doing is buying the perks you would earn.  Although they are valued a certain way, I don't think they are worth that.

Also, if you are nearly platinum, you already receive many perks. I got first class upgrades all the time as silver, for instance.

Telecaster

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2018, 10:48:21 AM »
It is not an "investment."  Airline status is a luxury.  Now, it could well be that luxury is worth it to you.  Global first class upgrades etc. might well be worth $1200 if you flight a lot. 

Syonyk

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2018, 10:50:39 AM »
The value is obtained through complimentary global upgrades to first class, more miles per dollar spent, and other perks.

Are those various perks worth $1200 to you?

That's the question, moreso than how someone else values it.  If you are perfectly happy flying in whatever class you fly in normally and work pays for, and don't care about first class, then paying for it isn't worth it.  If you'd personally spend more than $1200 on upgrades, or value that sort of thing greatly, go for it.

I tend to personally pay for Early Bird Checkin when I fly SouthWest for work, because to me, the $30 a trip is worth exit row seating (which I can typically get, and will take unless the flight is going to have enough empties that I can get a partly filled row in the back).  I wouldn't pay to milage run SouthWest, because it's more than I pay for the occasional upgrade.  Not like there's first class anyway.

Also, what percentage of your salary/savings does this represent?  If you're making $50k/yr with a low savings rate, that's probably not wise.  If you're making $200k/yr with a 50% savings rate, yeah, get the perks for next year if you care.

Car Jack

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2018, 10:53:54 AM »
I would think you could get the miles by upgrading your business trips to first/business class on your dime.  You don't do something silly (like fly to Asia) just to get the miles.  You get something out of it (first class seats) in your quest for miles. 

terran

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2018, 11:26:14 AM »
Yes, it's an investment just like buying a new BMW at less than sticker price. Which is to say it's luxury consumption at a lower price than some people pay to consume, but still luxury consumption none-the-less.

ginjaninja

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2018, 12:09:53 PM »
You all bring good points.  I didn't mean to get bogged down in the word "investment."  I realize this is a luxury and completely unnecessary. 

The value to me would be mostly in the complimentary global upgrades.  I plan on 1 international trip next year and business/first class would be an awesome perk. 

I have been taking longer routes to get home with the free 24 hour changes (ex last Friday I got from ORD to DEN with the following route: ORD-IAH-AUS-DEN), but any upgrades after the original purchase on business travel would not count towards PQM or PQD.

This would be less than 2% of my salary and my savings rate is above 65% after tax. 

Part of me was hoping for help making a decision either way (in the form of face punches or overwhelming support) but I am leaving with the question "are the perks worth $1200 for me next year?"

I am battling with the psychology of this too.  The darn airlines make it so appealing to strive for status even if the pursuit flies* in the face of logic!

*pun intended
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 12:11:36 PM by ginjaninja »

honeybbq

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 12:45:45 PM »
People do mileage runs all the time. If I traveled a LOT for work, I'd do it in a heart beat because... I'm old and like comforts.

If you ask here, most will say 'no don't do it!'. Ask over on flyertalk and see if you get a different answer. :)


Telecaster

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 01:36:59 PM »
I am battling with the psychology of this too.  The darn airlines make it so appealing to strive for status even if the pursuit flies* in the face of logic!


I'm with you.   Airline status is worth something.   My wife and I debated doing a mileage run this year, but ultimately concluded it wasn't worth it (for us).  But airline status comes with real benefits, so it is hard to dismiss it out of hand. 

Duke03

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 01:39:37 PM »
Do it!!!  Trust me next year while you are taking advantage of all the benefits that come with Platinum status you will be thinking I'm so glad I did it and it was worth every penny!!!

Christof

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 05:03:07 PM »
It would depend on when you asked. Six or seven years ago the answer would have been pretty clear here. Spending money on luxury is wasting money, hurts you, your health and burning extra fuel to get status harms the environment. Instead of dreaming of flying in First Class asked yourself why you fly at all when there is so much unchartered territory close to where you live.

These days itís a matter of what it is worth to you and what is a priority. 1200 is a lot of money for something that is not guaranteed to be available when you wished it would be. Once you locked this in you also stop being creative about how else you could achieve your goal. First Class tickets can be had rather cheap in sales and with credit card signups. You donít need status for this. You also might want to reflect on why you want to fly First Class or Business. The flight isnít long, the space you get is something you wouldnít often accept in a car, often, less in a train or hotel room. Every tent has more privacy than a First Class seat. Lounges arenít offering something special you can get elsewhere cheaper. Being driven in a Mercedes to the aircraft isnít really different from a taxi ride.

That doesnĎt mean that it is not worth it to you, but make sure it is worth to you because of what you get and not because of some fantasy.

Having said this, I do fly Business and First. Itís not a logical choice, it is certainly not an investment and I basically pretend it is a stress relief to deal with all the stress of unwanted business travel and as a treat for the occasional vacation.

 things to think about:

Once you enjoy luxury it is harder to go back.

The optimum for travelling is two persons. Plenty of opportunities to get a deal, but you donĎt rely on many seat being made available or getting a non-standard room in a hotel that normally is not available on points.

Anything related to miles is gamble. Donít gamble wih money you cannot afford to loose. I had close to 300,000 airberlin miles. Enough for several international business class round trips. Then the airline went bust after I booked flights.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 06:27:21 PM »
Checking in here to say that I have United platinum status & have never received a global upgrade. . . ever. My coworker has 1K status, and has occasionally let me use a global upgrade (he is guaranteed X many) in exchange for my domestic upgrades. I don't fly United domestically, so the domestic upgrades are useless to me. Do you think you travel routes where you are likely to receive a global upgrade, because I think the odds are incredibly slim on any given route.

I'd remove the global upgrades from your math, & see if the upgrade is still worth it to you.

I personally have seen minimal value from Platinum over Gold, and wouldn't pay $500 for it, let alone more.

Travel 8-10x/year, mostly SFO to London, Tokyo or Seoul

cchrissyy

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Re: Is a mileage run an investment?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 06:49:34 PM »
bottom line are you saying you'd spend $1200 and a big chunk of your time in order to earn an upgrade to 1st in just ONE international trip next year?  if that's what you're saying then no way, that is too much time and money for too little benefit.

I used to do milage runs, including international, and I did very much enjoy my upgrades in those years! but things have changed and I don't do that anymore. If your personal story is that you'd need to spend that much and you really only would benefit on one trip, I suggest you don't over-complicate things and simply pay to upgrade that trip. Also, in your shoes, I'd try to find one more business trip this year. If there is some level of business need, and somebody else paying your fare, then sure, go for it!