One of the comments I received on my last post (“Finally – I’ve Found a Mileage Run“) came  from Bo who asked “How about AUS-ORD-LGA using the triple EQM promo for ORD/BOS-LGA flights?” Great question!

American Airlines and Delta are competing for traffic on the New York La Guardia (LGA) – Chicago O’Hare (ORD) route. Delta offered triple miles and triple elite qualifying miles, (EQMs) and American matched the offer. It runs until August 31.

I checked the price for the remaining Saturdays; it sounds like a great deal, but at $399, it still came to 4.8 cents per mile, including the triple miles, and that’s not a great deal. I checked the price for  the remaining Sundays during the promotional period, and actually found a better deal for August 29, the last Sunday of the promotional period. The price was $350, and I could get an additional 10% off using the Century in the Making promotion. It’s still not a great deal, but I desperately need the EQMs and the triple EQMs between ORD and LGA would come in handy.

I used the multi-city feature at AA.com. found an itinerary I liked that would get me home that evening, and I decided to book it. But there was one problem, I was not able to enter the Century in the Making promotional code to get my 10% discount.

I called the AA Platinum desk to ask how to use the 10% discount and was told it was not available on multi-city bookings; it could only be used on round trip reservations. I’m not sure why that policy is in place or what sense it makes, but I had to deal with it.

So, I went back to AA.com and changed my search criteria from AUS-ORD-LGA-ORD-AUS to a more simple AUS-LGA round trip. I looked farther into the listings and sure enough, I found the exact same itinerary through ORD that I had found when using the multi-city feature. And, I could get the 10% discount because I was now booking it as a round trip ticket instead of a multi-city ticket, even though it was the exact same flight.  (Note to American Airlines: that doesn’t make any sense!)

My final cost for the ticket was $331.  Not great, even with the triple miles between ORD and LGA, it’s almost 4 cents per mile. But I’ll also earn triple EQMs for those segments which will change my total EQMs for the trip from 3,422 to 6,354. Since my biggest need at this time is not miles but EQMs, that will be a big help.

With no business travel this year, and American not offering system-wide double EQMs as they did last year, I’ve given up on making Platinum again this year. But this trip will make it much easier for me to at least make Gold. I won’t get my double miles next year, but I’ll still be able to board early and won’t have to pay luggage fees. I’ll take it.

On another note I saw that American is trying to build business from several cities. For the rest of the year, they are offering triple miles and double EQMs on all trips originating and terminating in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Nashville, or Raleigh-Durham. Any time American wants to offer that from AUS, I’ll be happy to accept!