I love to travel to distant locations, fly in the front of the airplane, and stay in the best hotels. Through creative use of mileage and mattress runs, I am able to do this at greatly discounted rates.
Several years ago, my wife and I were on vacation at the beautiful Hilton Waikoloa Village on the big island of Hawaii. I used Hilton points to pay for the stay: without them we would not have been able to afford it. One afternoon I was in the swimming pool and overheard two gentlemen speaking: it was obvious that they did a LOT of flying.
One mentioned that he had used his airline miles to take his wife on a surprise trip to Rio de Janeiro. The other said that he had used his miles to give his daughter and son-in-law an all expense paid two-week trip to Europe for their honeymoon. I was fascinated by this, I had never heard anyone talk about having so many miles.
Then one of the men said, “I’ve found one of the best ways to keep current on great deals is to visit FlyerTalk.com. I go there several times a week.” I had never heard of that website, but I knew I wanted to learn more, so I immediately got out of the pool and wrote the name down.
That evening I visited FlyerTalk and was amazed at what I saw. Thousands of members traded stories about their trips, shared their knowledge of how to find good deals, and seemed very anxious to answer almost any question that was asked. While looking through the site I came across a forum devoted to mileage runs.
My first thought was “Mileage runs? What the heck are those?” After reading for a while, my next thought was “How silly it must be to fly all day, going to 2, 3, or 4 cities, and never leave the airport.”
But as I read more, I realized that mileage runs could be the way for me and my wife to travel in luxury to distant places that we would otherwise never be able to visit. I decided to give it a try.
My first mileage run was very basic: Austin to Chicago to Minneapolis, then back to Chicago, Dallas, and Austin. I left early on a Saturday morning, and was home early that evening. I never left the airport, but it was still fun.
In the years to come I have done many mileage runs. Some have been international (Frankfurt, Germany and Helsinki, Finland.) Others have been domestic where I have allowed myself the time to leave the airport and go into the city to visit, while others have involved flying all around the country without ever leaving the terminal.
All of the mileage runs paid off a few years ago when my wife and I did a two-week trip to Hong Kong and Thailand. We flew business class all the way; I never would have been able to afford that trip had I not been doing mileage runs.
Without a doubt, we have benefited from my mileage runs. I have met a lot interesting people, seen some great sights, and eaten fabulous meals. And have used the miles I have earned to take some incredible vacations. I enjoy doing them and will continue to do them for as long as I can.