I’ve been a member of Toastmasters, the public speaking and leadership organization, for almost ten years. I’ve earned the Distinguished Toastmaster designation and won a District speech contest. For those of you who are not familiar with Toastmasters, that is all good.

One of the best things I have gotten is the chance to make new friends in the organization. One of them is David Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking. Even though David travels around the world doing presentations, he still needed to do a mileage run today to earn status. Here is his report of that trip.

“If you’re a regular reader of www.HappyFlier.com you are no doubt familiar with “mileage runs.” Many of you depend on them this time of year, but there may still be a few skeptics who wonder if they are worth it. Perhaps this report will put any doubts to rest.

I’m in the Admiral’s Club at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport at the moment in the last leg of a productive one-day run.

I’ve been an American Platinum flier since 1994, having flown more than 2 million miles on all airlines combined. A million and a half of those were on American. Like Happy Flier Bob, I live in Austin, Texas, so we are exceptionally well-served by American.

I am a professional speaker, have spoken in 24 countries and have booked several around-the-world itineraries. This year, due to the economy, a couple of long-haul trips were canceled, so I was faced with the unpleasant prospect of falling just short of the 50,000-mile Platinum requirement.

I’m already Lifetime Gold, but as you know, Gold only gives you a 25% mileage bonus, where Platinum yields a 100% bonus. The difference in bonus miles is definitely worth a mileage run when you’re just short of the 50K plateau.

So this morning I left my house at 5:00 a.m. for 6:00 flight AUS-DFW. (Yes, on a Saturday morning, I actually made that!) I arrived DFW at 6:45, had coffee and muffins at the DFW Admiral’s Club, and walked about 100 yards to the gate for my 8:15 flight from DFW to Seattle. (At 1660 miles, DFW-SEA is a good route for a mileage run.)

Using upgrades, I settled into my first-class seat for a pleasant flight to Seattle. I arrived Seattle at 10:50 PST, and made the short walk to their better-than-average food court for a snack.

Forty minutes later, I boarded the Noon flight from Seattle to Chicago. Another upgrade, and another pleasant 4-hour flight to ORD.

Now at ORD, I have the longest layover of the day–a whole two hours! So as soon as I post this report, I’m departing the Admiral’s Club for dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s (not a bad choice for airport food, by the way)before returning to the gate for my 8:30 p.m. ORD-AUS final leg, again upgraded to first class.

Barring any unexpected delays, I will arrive at AUS at 11:15 p.m.

How much did a day of flying benefit me? Quite a bit, actually, because American is giving double Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) through Dec. 15. So my day in the air netted me 9,714 qualifying miles–enough to requalify me for Platinum for next year. The cost? A total airfare of $278 and $8 for parking.

Was it worth it? Ask me next year when I’m still racking up double miles as a Platinum flier.

David Brooks
1990 World Champion of Public Speaking

Thank you David, great report! I’m sure it will come as a surprise to some that a person who travels as much as you do would need a mileage run. As you point out, it was worth your time to earn double miles next year.

I’ve probably done the Seattle mileage run more than any other. I’m already looking at them for next year. I’ve earned Platinum status for next year, but on January 1, my mileage total drops back to zero. So, 2010 will be another year of looking for deals!

Note: David let me know that he was home by 11:05. That’s a good trip!