Scott McCartney, author of the weekly Middle Seat column in the Wall Street Journal, wrote on a topic near and dear to my heart today: “a growing number of 20-somethings mastering the calculus of frequent-flier miles, making globe-trotting their hobby.”
Yes, that aptly describes me and I wish Scott had featured me in his story as well. I mileage run for two reasons:
1.) Simply because it is fun
Most would be horrified at the thought of traveling 20,000 miles with only a few hours between flights (if that), but I relish it. My spring mileage run from Seattle to Newark via Hawaii and Brazil (among other places) was great, even with delays and sleep deprivation. Even more conventional runs between Philadelphia and Los Angeles can be a lot of fun–a decent meal or two, plenty of time to study law or create material for this blog, and often a few hiccups that make for great stories and fond memories.
2.) Mileage runs make aspirational international first class trips affordable
For better or worse, I am hooked on international first class, those seats that retail for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars and are well-beyond my budget. But with strategically planned mileage runs that pay for themselves with delay compensation or bumps, I can use those miles to book elusive first class tickets and pay next to nothing out of pocket.
And even when I am “mileage running” I have had the grand opportunity to see much of the United States and countries around the world–and not just from airports and tarmacs.
Mileage running requires an investment in time and patience, but I have found that my investment has been paid back many times over.