Oops: I Accidentally Took My Significant Other On A Mileage Run, And He Hated It

I know it’s probably terrible for my health, but I love flying. Even though I’ve flown about five million miles, being above the clouds never gets old for me. I love watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets, I love the electric energy of being on a plane and in airports with people traveling to every corner of the globe, and heck, I even love the exhaustion and jetlag that comes with flying.

Basically, this is me on a plane:

So while ideally I’d like to actually visit somewhere when traveling, I’m also quite content just flying around, as I often do for the purposes of reviewing new airlines. For me, spending a week mostly on planes is par for the course.

Well, the past week I’ve learned the hard way that apparently some people don’t enjoy flying nonstop without having a real destination. Who would have thought?!

How I sold Ford on a mileage run

Last year Ford earned Executive Platinum status with American, though he hasn’t been doing that much revenue flying on American this year, as most of our international travel is using miles on other airlines.

However, a few months back Qatar Airways published some ridiculously cheap business class fares out of Vietnam to just about everywhere. They were under $700 roundtrip, and I figured there was almost no chance of them being honored, especially as Qatar Airways has a history of canceling mistake fares.

Nonetheless I love the thrill of booking a mistake fare. So when I saw this sale I called up Ford:

“So I don’t think this fare is going to be honored, but Qatar Airways has these really cheap business class fares out of Ho Chi Minh City to just about anywhere, and if you take one of these trips you’d requalify for Executive Platinum. The problem is that we don’t have much time to do this, so we can just do a quick mileage run there and back.”

To my surprise, he said yes. The thing is, I’m not sure the full itinerary clicked for him, and that’s my fault, because I didn’t explain it in great detail. The number one rule of mistake fares is that you book now and ask questions later.

Well, Qatar Airways ended up honoring the fares, and then we realized we had about a seven day window where we could take this trip, due to other commitments we had planned.

Everything was working out great, as there were super cheap fares from the US to Hong Kong on American, and we easily upgraded those to business class. Then we redeemed Avios for Cathay Pacific business class between Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City.

So in the end we were flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City to Doha to New York to Doha to Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong to Los Angeles over the course of a week. That’s over 37,000 flown miles, or over 5,000 miles per day. The entire trip had one night in Ho Chi Minh City, one night in New York, and one night in Hong Kong.

So, how did Ford’s first (and last) crazy mileage run go?

What I love about Ford more than anything is that he’s almost always in a good mood. I’ve never met someone who wakes up happy every day in the way he does. So his default is to be in a great mood, and he’s always a grateful person who likes to make the best of situations.

Well, suffice to say that I’ve never seen Ford as unhappy as he was during our mileage run. It’s not because he wanted to have a bad attitude, or because he was angry at me, etc.

Instead it’s understandable that a lack of natural light, inability to sleep regularly, etc., can really impact someone. Even when we had overnights in hotels, he could only sleep for a few hours due to jetlag, and woke up feeling sick.

For me it’s something I’ve become accustomed to, and it’s just part of my life. If you train yourself enough to be fine with something, it’ll happen. But for most people this is the equivalent of torture, especially if there’s not actually a destination you’re traveling to that you can look forward to.

Halfway through the trip, when we got to New York, I gave Ford the “out” and said he had the option of calling it quits there, given how hard of a time he was having with the trip. He was determined to finish and didn’t want to give up halfway through, but I’m not sure that ended up being in either of our best interests.

Ford has done some mileage runs before, though they were a bit different. For example, we’ve flown to China for two days, and to Panama for one day. I should have realized the distinction between those trips and flying for eight days without a real destination.

Fortunately it’s all over now, but suffice to say it was a very rough week. Ford is requalifying for Executive Platinum, and I think he also completed his last crazy mileage run ever. I hope he doesn’t have PTSD every time he takes advantage of one of the Executive Platinum benefits, thinking back on this trip. šŸ˜‰

Bottom line

Nowadays I don’t typically do mileage runs anymore, but rather I do review trips. At times I lose sight of how unusual and draining these trips are. For me, the past week in the sky was relaxing and enjoyable. I’ve done worse, like flying from Casablanca to Doha to Colombo to Jeddah to Manchester to New York to Los Angeles without any time in a hotel, and without flat beds for most of the trip.

But it’s always a good reminder that most normal people don’t enjoy flying constantly. Ultimately I take full responsibility for Ford’s unhappiness here. He was trying to be a good sport, but this type of trip is something that a tiny percentage of crazy people enjoy, and everyone else in the world would hate.

Comments

  1. Yes, Ben, you’re definitely pretty unusual in this regard — just by reading that itinerary, I’m EXHAUSTED, I can’t imagine actually flying it!

    But, hey, if nothing else, you two will have a story to look back at and hopefully chuckle about one day…

  2. Wow
    That’s one crazy run.
    The longest stretch of mine was
    BLR-MAA-AUH-JFK-LAX-SJC
    All with a max of 4 hours between flights. It was brilliant!
    Interestingly, it wasn’t for a mileage run but was simply the dirt cheapest path I could find.

  3. I took my first trip with my SO a few weeks ago. Until then I hadn’t taken any major trips with a SO so I booked it like I had always booked my trips. I like nature and outdoor activities and he seems to like cities, people, and more modern comforts. I realized my mistake pretty early. He didn’t have a bad time but he didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I did. So next time we’ll have to find a happy middle ground (though I draw the line at cruises).

  4. would do a mileage run any day of the week, or just fly around for no purpose, absolutely love it!!

  5. Ford still looks nice on the picture.
    I like that one.

    What are you going to do now to make him forgetting that exhausting mileage run?

    Aah! It is not my business… do not tell me šŸ˜‰

  6. When I meet people who say they love travel… I remind them that I am not just someone who likes going places, but actually likes the process of travel. I love being on a plane. That’s a different kind of passion… my vacation begins for me when I get to the airport not when I arrive at my destination. Doesn’t matter if I’m going wow air or Qatar Biz.

  7. I’ve never done an itinerary like that, but people always think I’m crazy when I say I’m at my most relaxed when on a plane (particularly when in business class, watching movies in a comfy chair while people bring me food and drink).

  8. @Karim Amen! My fiancee gives me a hard time when I want to go to the lounge before the flight, as she’d rather walk in the airport and onto the plane!

  9. Lol I love this post.
    I’m one of those who actually enjoy crazy itineraries like Lucky, but it’s not for everyone.

  10. Think my most insane was,

    LHR-AMS-LHR-HKG-HND (on a saturday arriving on a Sunday evening around 9PM
    and then with 3 hours in between flying right back and doing
    HND-DOH-AMS-LHR-AMS-LHR

    That was the most brutal trip I have ever taken.

  11. Well, I think if you made it through an 8-day mileage run without killing each other, married life should be relatively easy.

    I’ll never forget the year I requalified for exp by flying to hk for the weekend. The look on my boss’s face was priceless when I asked for friday and monday off so I could go on a hiking trip with some friends… to the new territories. For the record, my husband politely declined to participate.

  12. My partner has only done a handful of mileage runs with me an he certainly doesn’t get excited about them. Mileage runs are certainly not for everyone and I’m happy for it to be that way šŸ™‚

  13. Jet lag has felt like the flu to me. I travel with a family and it is critical to give downtime. I can be insomniac in the most comfortable spaces until I’m not. We went to sleep at PHT once in the afternoon. We made it back to the hotel just before sleeping on cement could have been a real possibility. It made for some awesome sunrise pictures and luckily we made it to the room in the nick of time.

  14. Most crazy trip I ever did was ZRH-SIN-EWR-SIN-BKK-SIN-ZRH in coach(!) and without any hotel stay in between. That was when SQ flew SIN-EWR nonstop. I’m looking forward to repeating this in business class when they will fly that route again soon. At least SIN-EWR-SIN hadn’t had any real coach seating, it was then like what we call PE nowadays.

  15. @Lucky, dude your just like me I love the airports, planes, the buzz, the MOVEMENT it’s never the destination it’s the journey that excites me, I just been around 2-3 times in random AF patterns, long-way round etc and I love it, can understand how some people can’t hack it. But this is what gives you your energy and your passion. If you push it with your flying you can push that energy anywhere in life hence this excellent site and blog you have created

  16. I’ve done, BLQ-LHR-KUL-LHR-VCE with one overnight in KUL. I’ve also done VCE-VIE-IST-SIN-CGK-SIN-IST-VIE-VCE with 2 hrs on the ground in CGK (with a fellow frequent flyer, we have done shorter trip to Russia As well). Many domestic LGA-STL-ORD-SEA-PHX-SEA-ORD-LGA, it was my week-end trip while studying. I even got stopped and grilled by an Air Marshall in PHX once with a 40′ turnaround (it’s on FT).

  17. Saw you two in SGN (the first time). You seemed game for another ~96 hours. He did not. Glad you both made it to the end.

    Next time Iā€™d recommend taking a week in the middle to make it seem like the ~40 hours of flying has a purpose.

  18. That’s a crazy run. Back BEFORE online check-in I spent two weekends doing a DAL-STL-DAL-AUS-DAL and a third DFW-ATL-DFW-ATL-DFW. Imagine the looks I got from the gate agent when I showed up first thing in the morning and asked to check-in for all my flights (this occurred BEFORE online check- in).

    Funny thing though was the I wasn’t the only one doing this run. Several others were also on the flight doing exactly the same thing.

  19. I donā€™t know if itā€™s the air or the altitude or pressure or noise but after about 12 hours in flight, a general fatigue sets in and I start to feel like the peace and quiet of a cool, darkened hotel room somewhere on the ground would be heaven. I honestly am in awe of your ability to do these runs.

  20. First time I ever did a transcon redeye I swore I would never do it again. Then, soon after, I ended up having to do redeyes every other week for about 7 years for work. I very quickly learned to adapt physically and actually love the redeye due to being able to preserve an entire day of onsite work with my client when flying east. However, as I got older it became more difficult to endure and I had to give it up.

  21. I like how you said it was an “accident.” HAHA. I also considered doing a mileage run well, not even for the miles, but to try Qatar’s J product, so I totally understand where you’re coming from!

  22. In other words, he doesn’t want to work hard to maintain the status or get extra miles to fly in Business/First Class?, just use whatever you have?.

    This is very common when you have a trophy wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, is the price you have to paid when you partner is a good looking men/women šŸ˜‰

    Please don’t take it personal, I like your blog and I appreciate the time you spend for your readers

  23. I think such a mileage run, especially for someone who has never done it, is both mentally and physically exhuasting.

    Must really psyche your other half up for it, and pace yourself to last the whole run. (Watch your diet and drinks, try to sleep whenever you can. Hit the gym if possible when on the ground, etc.)

    Mileage run for status is truly painful. Maybe those FFPs that requalifies on money spent is easier. Just pay the highest fare for your status. (That said, if you are already paying for F class, status is not really useful. )

  24. I enjoy the journey but if there isn’t an adventure after the long flight then yeah traveling gets pretty boring and extremely tiring. Luckily for Ford it was in premium cabinets and not in coach like a lot of road warriors struggle with.

  25. Ford’s face totally confirms that y’all have a great relationship. It’s the “I still love you, but I’m really tired of your shit” face. Priceless. Agree with Patrick. Ford’s side of the story would probably be hilarious.

  26. I have never done a mileage run, although l have done trips where the original reason (business meeting) has been abandoned but the ticket/hotel has not been refundable.

    Is it weird to admit that your 8 day mileage run sounds exciting to me?

  27. Well you started with buying him first class flights – now he has been downgraded to business. I think he knows he’s not the Shawn Mendes anymore. “Drag the wheelie-bag for me will you”… as we’ve seen on the on-line clips. You need to treat yer girl right matey!

  28. Nice run! I would be up for it anytime…
    I did a RTW trip in under 70 hours and that was the best trip ever! MUC-FRA-ORD-TPE-HKG-AUH-MUC with one leg in F, one in C and rest in Y.
    Slept on plane and lounge, showered in lounges. It was a bit hard with the time difference as I had no time to adapt to it, I had to gly further. But I hardly have any problems with jet lag anyway.
    And the trip was done with my wife and she actually enjoyed it a lot!

  29. I laughed harder at this post way harder than I should’ve. Chalk me up as another “loves mileage runs but my partner reels at the thought”. I think MCI-DFW-LAX-MIA-SJU-MIA-LAX-MIA-SJU-LAX-DFW-MCI has been my worst, but to me, Lucky’s itinerary with that many longhauls after each other would actually be better since you can get some real sleep.

  30. Oh, man, that photo – he would maybe like to kill you, just a little bit. Like, “why are you doing this to me?”

  31. I wish mileage runs were still a thing like they were ~10-15 years ago. I’ve not done any pure mileage runs in ages. A mattress-run or $100 burger are about the closest I’ve had in recent years. Still fun, especially clearing immigration and saying, “No, seriously, we were just here for dinner.”

  32. My goal in retirement — still 10 years off — is to just do mileage runs EVERYWHERE, ALL the time šŸ˜€ I am that Kermit-in-the-window-seat … but sadly, this is my husband’s idea of hell :-/ So I guess I’ll be mileage-running solo, unless I find a friend or relative who also gets that adrenaline rush just walking through the airport doors.

  33. Well at least Ford got to relax a bit in the chairs of the Apricot lounge. I hope you had a bowl of pho there, obviously it isn’t particularly special but I for one can’t go to Vietnam without having it hehe

  34. How true. I’ve just booked QF J ADL-BNE-MEL-SYD-NOU-SYD-BNE-MEL-ADL for a 48 hour period early next year to acquire status, and it’s fair to say that most of my friends and family think I’m crazy! Hopefully Ford can enjoy the benefits that requalifying for his status will bring.

  35. I love flying, but the only mileage run I ever did I pretty much hated .. even on the finnair a350 in J. lack of sleep, weird eating / drinking patterns, all for some points… I’ve decided to keep all of my earning to ‘real’ trips!

  36. was this MR worth it, as you mentioned you did it on a cheap Qatar flight from Vietnam to NY return BUT you used points to get there and back ? surely what you earned was less than the cost of the other flights using your points ?

  37. I love the process. Being on a plane, and in some lounges, is nearly the only place anyone ever waits on me and serves me food and champagne. After raising a family I think I deserve it.

  38. The amount of times you’ve said you don’t do mileage runs but then do one anyway is too much.
    And the amount of times you say you’re not bothering to requalify for status and then do a stupid trip like this is too high too

  39. It’s nice that you have a travel partner who understands the craziness of status runs AND decides to take it with you. That sure adds fun into your travel but in this case I sort of pity the other person. Hopefully it was truly worth it for the both of you.

  40. (almost) round the world in 8 days? I think my wife would have divorced me, not surprised Ford wasn’t too happy!

  41. My top 3 was:
    Jfk-sfo-Icn-gum-hnl-ewr
    Lga-iah-sea-nrt-sin-hkg-ord-lga
    Jfk-jnb-cpt-jnb-dxb,auh-jfk

    All was tons of fun and would do it again anytime.

  42. That explains a lot. I was in the Orchid lounge in HCMC and noticed you two at the back of the lounge. I would have said hello, but Ford didn’t look like he was in a very good mood.

    ;-p

  43. To me, the most ridiculous thing about this is how you have cried and moaned all year about how status is worth less nowadays, how AAdvantage is garbage, how you want to be a free agent, etc, but at the end of the day you encouraged your SA to do a ridiculous mileage run for status anyway. Make up your mind – does status matter or not? Is American screwing up or not?

  44. @FORD you are a warrior for taking that trip. I respect it . Mr. Executive Platinum

    I’ve flown alot of redeyes from LA to NY over the years and even in first class my body aches for the next two days . Hungry at 4AM . Sleeping till 1PM.

  45. Doing that in business class and staying in luxury hotels should be a cake-walk to a travel blogger.
    Come on Ford! You got to drink champers in the front of the plane for a week and it was also a future investment in status for another year.

  46. Ford’s look is so cute. It’s the typical husbands ‘I HATE you, but I LOVE you’ look I get from my husband way too often. Ha ha.

  47. Ford wins ‘gorgeous person of the year’ award – as does my long suffering husband who has discovered the meaning of ‘mileage run’ the hard way!

  48. I hear ya Lucky. Ford looks exhausted but still looks cute, you lucky, lucky guy!

    But thatā€™s the beauty of travel and the nature of the beast, you sometimes change direction, or do stuff very last minute! And even though you’re more an aviation geek, I still regard you somewhat as a travel blogger, as you’re always travelling!

    I travel a lot myself, although for me, it’s the destination. Having said that, I also like the journey itself but when travelling with either my husband or my teen son, I keep those impulses down to a minimum, in order to give them a good time, rather than my travel madness spurts!

    Most of my madness has been by road. And get this, I don’t even drive!

    I have been known to take a car from Berlin ā€“ London ā€“ Berlin ā€˜cos I was home-sick, went on a 26-hour road trip from Estonia to Berlin as a challenge, decided it was hell, and then did a far worst thing by doing it again, from Berlin to Sweden and back again, just because I could!

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