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No Vacation Required Podcast

For fulfillment fanatics interested in traveling deliriously, living deliberately, and working virtually.

We're Doing a Mileage Run

NVR Guys

Last week, we were at a holiday party. We overheard a friend across the room say: “I know someone who’s flying to Vegas just to get miles. Can you believe that?” We turned to each other. I said “Oh boy – if that guy only knew what we have brewing.” We guzzled our drinks.

Aside from our love of traveling deliriously, we are overwhelmingly motivated to do a mileage run (MR) this year (more on that specific motivation in a later post). For now – let's just say that most travel enthusiasts will agree that miles are your friend, regardless of the motivation for earning them.

Let's start with some MR basics.

In talking with a lot of people – both travel nuts and infrequent travelers – we learned that many aren't crystal clear on just what a MR is. According to Wikipedia, a MR is defined as follows:

A mileage run is an airline trip designed and taken solely to gain maximum frequent flyer miles, points or status.

Simple enough. If you ever visit Flyer Talk, you'll see that many savvy travelers are fervent MR fanatics. On Flyer Talk's travel forums, it's apparent that many responders will do nearly anything and go almost anywhere to earn miles - especially if the price is right. The often followed equation seems to be:

cheap airfare + long distance = perfect MR

Our take on what makes a good MR.

A couple ground rules we operate with:

  • We probably wouldn't visit a place we have no interest in for the sole purpose of a MR. It just seems so tough to justify and too mindless even for us as travel junkies. We have plenty of potential MR destinations on our "dream" travel list.
  • We're not the type of guys who are likely to jump on an absurd multiple leg, sleep-at-the-airport type scheme in order to rack up miles.  We recently read about a person who flew from Miami to six destinations across Europe. All of this travel occurred on consecutive days, sleeping only at airports and seeing nothing. No thanks.

Here's what we will do:

  • We have no problem with spontaneous. Post 9/11, we found a last minute air/hotel uber-deal to Paris. It came to about $900 for both of us. We jumped on it.
  • Although we love new destinations, we are happy (thrilled, actually!) to re-visit a place that we love. All the better if the price is right and the miles are good. We are still kicking ourselves for not immediately booking a $396 (round trip) Seattle ---> Buenos Aires trip about a year ago. Stupid.

Each of those examples does not, alone, constitute a MR, but they give you an idea of what we dig. Bottom line... Here's the equation that works best for us:

cheap airfare to awesome destination + long distance with no rush = perfect NVR MR

Our upcoming NVR MR.

A while back we started plotting our vision for 2011. We quickly framed some plans for a couple of our core NVR pillars: 1) growing our virtual business and 2) giving back.Things got complicated when talk turned to travel. In our initial planning, we realized there are a couple destinations we need to hit early in the year (commitments). Other than that, we were wide open (and, honestly, just happy to be making some sort of loose plan).

Doing research, we noticed some incredible deals to locations on that dream travel list mentioned earlier.  Things started to fall into place such that it began to look like our best bet  would be a multi-leg journey that combines our travel commitments and some dream list destinations AND, by default, doubles as a de facto MR.

We hope to have the details nailed down in a couple of weeks. At this point, two things are pretty certain:

  1. We're going to earn renew our airline "elite" status with this one adventure
  2. Our friend from the party will probably have a heart attack when he hears about it.

Stay tuned.

What's your take on mileage runs? Have you done one?