Oops I did it again
Oops I did it again… I couldn’t resist and booked another crazy mileage run! History seems to repeating itself every year that just before or just after New Year, there are a ton of good deals out there. All you need to do is keep your eyes open or in my case use a bit of technology to my advantage, hey I make my living working as an I.T. geek haha so might as well use it for my “hobby”!
Due to the upcoming changes with American Airlines I was still on the lookout to earn some miles for travel in 2016 and through a fellow travelblogger & mileagerunner Sanne (who runs the EverythingAboutPoints blog), I was made aware of a cheap fare. I owe you a drink man!
My initial search started on Google Flights and ITA Matrix for the last weekend of January, but I wasn’t able to maximize the number of earned miles and it meant changing airports in New York during a 4 hour layover… As you can see on the picture below I tried routing the flight through London and JFK but whenever the search results showed up, it showed me flying into Newark and then having to transfer to JFK. That was something I didn’t want to do because so many things that could possibly go wrong!
So I continued to mess around with ITA by changing the connecting cities and dates. This is where the advanced routing codes on ITA really come in handy. You can see examples of codes you can use by clicking on the question mark icon and otherwise you can refer to an extensive guide on this link. At first your mind will be boggled by all the possible codes, but once you get the hang of it you can really do great things with this tool!
Let me take you through the steps of the search query I build above here, because as you can see I specified 3 different flights:
- Flight 1 departing from Amsterdam (AMS) to Sao Paolo (GRU) where I wanted to fly on a specific carrier (c:aa,ba with aa standing for American Airlines and ba standing for British Airways) and I wanted to have layovers in Philadelphia (PHL) and Dallas (DFW) in order to maximize the number of miles;
- Flight 2 departs from GRU to Miami (MIA) on American Airlines (aa) and the plus sign (+) specifies that I want to have a layover but I did not mention a city, I will ITA figure this out for me;
- Flight 3 will get me from MIA back to Brussels (BRU) on either American Airlines or British Airways with again a non-specified layover.
“Now why in the hell would you fly from Amsterdam to Philadelphia, then all the way to Dallas and continue to Sao Paolo?” I already hear you think… Well it’s all about the miles! If I can get additional miles at no extra cost I would be crazy not to go for that option! These so called “free” transfers can be found in the routing rules of the fare, most of the times these are limited but on some (rare) occasions you will see “unlimited transfers” or “unlimited stopovers”, these are a mileagerunner’s dream!
So eventually I ended up with an itinerary that looks like this:
On Friday January 22nd I will fly from Amsterdam to Philadelphia, where I need to clear immigration as it’s my first point of entry in the USA and hopefully by using the self service kiosks still have a bit time to get a double JD at the Admirals Club in Dallas (DFW)! Later that day I will fly from DFW to Sao Paolo on a red eye flight, so I can get some sleep.
On Saturday I will spend about 10 hours in Sao Paolo, I don’t know yet if I will head into the chaotic city or if I just clear immigration and check in again to spend my day at one of the airport lounges… Any advice would be welcome for both going into the city or which lounge I should definitely visit? If there are any good ones at the airport?
I will fly out of Sao Paolo to Miami on Saturday night and have a long layover there, before flying to Philly and fly home on a night flight to Brussels. The long layover in Miami will give me time to freshen up and hopefully take a shower so I can be all fresh and back in time for work on Monday morning haha!
I did the math for this trip and believe me, for the fare that I paid I’m getting a lot back. The total mileage of this trip comes to 18.996 miles! The only downside is that both transatlantic flights are on the outdated Boeing 757, from which I know by experience have bad seats, so better bring my inflatable pillow with me if I don’t want to get a sore ass!
Now because I can still benefit from my American Airlines Platinum elite status during this entire year, these miles will be doubled as I get a 100% bonus… After putting the route into milecalc.com it shows a total of 37.990 award miles for a weekend trip! Besides the award miles that this trip will bring me, it will also get me 18.995 elite qualifying miles on American Airlines. I just need another 31.005 miles to re-qualify for my Platinum status so I can keep it throughout 2017. I don’t have a clue yet how I’m gonna achieve that!
So just a couple more weeks of impatient waiting and I can fly again, I can’t wait! It’s really getting addictive… But bare with me as I will soon unveil what all these mileage runs are for as there is a purpose, a purpose to spoil myself rotten this year by redeeming all the miles I have earned with the flying I have done lately. It will definitely make it all worth it!