TravelStories Episode 12: Looking Back on the Era of Mileage Running

Episode 12: Show Notes

Mileage runs used to be fun and exciting travel bursts that allowed you to visit many destinations in a short space of time while racking up tons of miles. Today, however, things are a bit different and mileage runs are no longer prevalent. Trevor and TK take a trip down memory lane to the good old days when mileage runs were common practice. Our hosts begin by sharing their first joint mileage run and the nested itinerary that came with it. We explore what a trip in vain is, and other mileage run examples from our hosts. Finally, we learn about how airlines can be separated by the little things, whether elite status still matters, why mileage runs are uncommon but still possible to do today, and so much more. We thank you for tuning in.  

Key Points From This Episode:

  • [00:18] Today, we will be covering a mishmash of random airline mileage run topics. 
  • [00:40] What Thomas remembers from the mileage run days. 
  • [01:22] Trevor and Thomas’ first planned mileage run and their nested itinerary.
  • [04:36] Late check-ins, last-minute boarding, and secondary security screening selection. 
  • [09:30] The contract of carriage, and a trip in vain. 
  • [12:54] Why Trevor got more miles than Thomas even though he traveled less.  
  • [13:58] Exploring differences between various programs when making travel changes. 
  • [15:52] The rest of Thomas’ nested itinerary experience after Trevor dropped out of the trip.
  • [18:10] In-flight equipment, amenities, travel comfort, and magic menus. 
  • [20:55] Why Alaska Airlines can afford to have riskier menus. 
  • [22:14] Thomas’ solo Mexico-Easter Island mileage run. 
  • [27:33] Trevor’s fun Brazilian mileage run.  
  • [30:30] Geeking out on airline seats. 
  • [32:15] How mileage runs are still possible today, and Thomas’ favorite runs of the past.
  • [34:00] The validity and benefits of obtaining elite status in today’s world. 
  • [35:56] How to get the most out of flying a 737 to build miles. 
  • [37:01] Why today’s airfares and mileage costs make mileage runs difficult.   


“The age of the revenue-based mileage system pretty much killed mileage runs.” — @TktweetsKim [01:02]

“Brazil was an interesting place because they don’t allow fuel surcharges.” — @tmount [27:56]

“It’s fun running into like-minded people who honestly care as much about elite status as you do.” — @TktweetsKim [34:11]

“The golden age of mileage runs seems to be behind us…where the action is these days is buying revenue tickets in business classes, where the subsequent miles are still a bit more advantageous.” — @TktweetsKim [38:58]

“I think now, for us, we’re much more vacation-run focused. If we’re going to do something and pay for it, we’re generally looking to spend a night or a couple of nights.” — @tmount [39:48]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

American Airlines 

Le Chic Geek 


The Points Guy 

Pizza in Motion 

United Airlines 

Alaska Airlines 

Easter Island, Chile 

Live and Let Die

Southwest Airlines 

British Airways

Thomas Kim on Twitter

Trevor on Twitter

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