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A Mild Travel Obsession, or US Airways Platinum

To catch you up to where I am now, I hit US Airways Silver, then Gold Status using their Trial Preferred.
A few days after arriving back from Orlando, I sent a cheeky email to Keri.   “Considering going for Platinum.”

I was at 16,276 miles and I would hit Platinum status at 22,500.  That left me a few days to get 6,224 miles.
I was joking.  But as soon as I hit send, I felt a sense of complete and utter longing.  I needed to go for Platinum.

6,224 was an awkward amount to fly.  A round trip to San Francisco (going DCA-PHL-SFO) would give me 6,042 miles.  200 short.  I began questioning every flying choice I made–especially my decision to go to Montego Bay via Charlotte instead of PHL.  That would have put me in a great place to do a mileage run to SFO. 

Another limit was my job.  I had a few days left to make a run for this status, but I couldn’t just skip work.  So I had about 48 hours to do this run.

Trips out to the west coast were hard.  The affordable east-west departures at this point were late at night, so these flights made it really difficult to pair with another flight.  I also tried really complicated routing, sending myself all over the place.  Those flights ended up around $1,000.  A bit pricey for what I was gaining.

I didn’t know what to do.  I was now mentally committed to going for Platinum and it was almost a matter of pride at this point.  But I didn’t want to drop $1,000 for that few miles overall.  I re-visited my Montego Bay trip in my head–then it clicked.

What about a flight to the Caribbean?  They arrive pretty early in the day and leave at night.  The timing would work perfect for one of my day trips.  I searched Montego Bay specifically and found a really reasonably priced flight that would give me 3,567 miles and a few hours in Jamaica.

That left me with 2,675 miles.  I resumed searching, but I needed a few too many miles for the options I was finding.  (The closest was a flight to Orlando, but I couldn’t manage to grab a PHL connection instead of a CLT out of DCA).   
I started thinking about the Caribbean again and suddenly realized a flight to Nassau (with a connection of course) would be the right amount of miles.  I ran, re-ran and re-re-ran the numbers, and it added up.  And the last minute flights to NAS were incredibly cheap.

I ended up with the following flights for my 48-hour trip:

DCA-PHL-NAS-CLT-DCA
DCA-MBJ-CTL-PHL-DCA
I could have done a DCA-CLT-MBJ connection on my Jamaica flight, but the flight to Nassau gave me enough miles, so I didn’t mind giving up ~200 miles for some time in the sun.  The airport is right by a great beach (Doctor’s Cave) and I didn’t mind spending a few hours there.  Plus, Keri decided to come with me to Jamaica for moral support–well, and to have a cocktail on the beach.  I’m not complaining!  Sunny weather in the winter, here we go.By the way, if you need ~3,000 or so miles and you live in the North, I totally suggest going to Jamaica, look how relaxed Keri looks!  (Keri will kill me for posting this in here without warning her).

Keri on the Beach in Jamaica

For the rest of the story:


A Mileage Run to the Bahamas

My 3 Hour Jamaican Vacation

 

1.  US Airways Quick Road to Status

2. Flying with Silver Trial Preferred Status

3. Silver and Beyond

4. A Mild Travel Obsession, or US Airways Platinum

5. A Mileage Run to the Bahamas

6. My 3 Hour Jamaican Vacation

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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13 comments

  1. How much did this cost? Got any tips on how to scout out mileage runs? I’m out of CLT

  2. I ended up spending about $500 on all this to become Platinum. But these flights were because I was on a trial run and had to fly US Airways metal and quickly. Are you looking to do a trial or regular flying? What airline are you trying to go on? CLT is a hub for US Airways, so that helps a lot.

    • I’m shooting for my first status – flying CLT-SFO for work in August so I’m well on my way to getting Silver with Trial preferred. I’ve got free weekends in Aug-Oct, so I’m shooting for the stars here. Any advice?

      • CLT is a good spot because you have a lot of routes to look at. What you might want to consider is seeing if (for whatever reason) there’s CLT-SFO flights with a stop over in PHL. That lets you pick up an extra 500 each way. (It’s easier for me to cheat because DCA is so close to CLT and PHL and silver trial gives you a minimum of 500 each way.)

        You can map out your flights here:

        http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=clt-phl-sfo

        Just replace anything less than 500 miles with 500. Make sure you are flying on US Airways metal. If it is a codeshare but the plane is not a US Airways plane, it won’t count towards your status.

        As for flying the weekends, figure out how much status is worth to you. You can get some Alaska flights on US Airways for ~$700 for August. Depending on the stop-overs you land, that could give you a lot of miles.

        So keep looking until your status is in a price range you are comfortable with.

        If you have specific locations you’d love to travel to, the Fly.com fare calendar can be useful: http://www.fly.com/Flywidgets/CalendarSearch.aspx I used that when pricing out a potential trip to IST (unfortunately on United).

        There’s also another way to do this that gives you more options. I’ll try to find some options for you today, and I might just write it up in a blog post using your flight as an example, since there’s a few steps.

        When you start it, keep me informed about how your upgrades go as you try!

      • In my haste to answer your question, I made a mistake on my ITA matrix searches. Someone helpfully pointed out that you need to have US+, not US in your search. So if you were looking already, I wanted to make sure you knew that change.

        I found:

        October 6th there’s a few for $691 from CLT-PHX-ANC-PHX-CLT turn around flights (but be careful because you may get stuck till Monday if your initial flight is delayed, the turn around is close so you may want to plan with an overnight anyway) 8,650 miles

        September 22nd, CLT-PHX-SJC-PHX-CLT, $340 4,790 miles

  3. Hey — question —

    If during my trial, What if I fly a united ticket that is on a USAir flight and then credit the flight to USair dividend miles. Does that count towards the trial preferred qualification?

    • My assumption is yes. Keri just did that and I think it went through. United has this weird thing where it owns US Air flights it tickets, so that’s the only reason I’d hesitate to say yes definitively, but I’ll check with Keri to make her her United ticked US Air flights (on US Air metal) posted towards her trial.

      • One flight on United metal posted but my other 3 codeshare flights have not, so I definitely wouldn’t count on it counting towards your status.

        • Keri–he means what if he flies a US Airways flight on US Airways metal but on a United Ticket. I believe your flight from Hawaii was US Airways metal on a United ticket. That posted towards your Trial Preferred, right?

          • Whoops, sorry about that. Yes, the United flights on US Airways metal counted towards trial preferred.

          • for some reason it wouldn’t let me comment on Keri’s more recent reply. Awesome! I got a United voucher I can use to get a flight to DCA to get a cheap cross-country.

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