This has not been a good year for mileage runs. Fewer planes are flying, fares are higher, fewer seats are available.

For years, my goal has been to find a flight in the low two cents per mile range or lower. The last time I spent a serious amount of time looking, I couldn’t even find a flight below 4 cents per mile. Today I managed to find a flight below 3.5 cents per mile. Not great, and in most years I would not even consider it, but it’s a good deal by current standards.

I found a trip to San Jose (SJC) on July 17. I’ll leave Austin at 6 a.m., return home at 8 p.m. that evening with a connection both ways at DFW. A three-hour layover at SJC will not allow me to leave the airport and go into town, but it will give me enough time to eat lunch without being rushed. The ticket cost $280; with my Platinum bonus that came to 3.61 cents per mile. Not great, but better than many I have found , particularly for that time of year when ticket prices are so much higher.

I used a 10% discount coupon that I earned for voting in the Century in the Making promotion. That lowered the fare to $257 and a cost per mile of 3.32.

Is this a great mileage run? Absolutely not!

But I’ll earn more than 3,700 EQMs, and 7,750 total miles; I really need those EQMs!  My hope at the start of the year had been to again earn Platinum status in 2010; I need 50,000 EQMs to do that. Since it is June and I am only at 13,000 EQMs, I can give up on Platinum unless American offers its double EQM promotion again.

So, my new goal is to earn at least 25,000 miles and achieve Gold status for next year. With this trip I’ll have almost 17,000 miles, putting Gold within reach. All I need to do now is find those 8,000 EQMs.