Last Minute Mileage Strategies for 2019
You are looking at your frequent flyer account. You are on the verge of achieving elite status for all the flights you have taken this year. But you are missing a few kilometers and you only have a few weeks left in the year.
If you’re like most people, you don’t do anything because booking a flight just to gain status seems absurd. But if you’re one of us who can’t live without the perks of elite status, you might want to do some last minute mileage.
Finding cheap flights at the end of the year is notoriously tricky – flying during Thanksgiving week or the last two weeks of December is expensive, regardless of the destination. But do not worry ; we’ve got a few tips up our sleeve to help you land 2020 status without breaking the bank.
Use Google Flights’ open search
Google Flights offers a convenient search function that allows you to find the cheapest flights to all over for a given date range. It’s almost as if it was done for mile trips, as it allows you to quickly see which destinations have cheap round-trip fares. Just enter “North America” in the destination field and you’ll see a map like this:
You are looking for a combination of cheap fares and long distances from your home airport. For example, some flights to New York from Los Angeles were still well under $ 300 round trip in December when we last checked.
You’ll have to filter and search to find the low fares offered by the carrier you’re trying to gain status with, but these instant views provide a good way to quickly narrow down potential destinations for a mileage run.
Ask the airline for a challenge (or a favor)
Airlines companies want to you gain elite status because it means more business for them the following year, so it doesn’t hurt to ask them for a boost.
Just email the frequent flyer program and explain your situation, for example: “I’m missing 5,000 miles for MVP Gold status and I can only earn 3,000 miles – help me!” Sometimes they will offer you a “challenge” to get a status that does not require reaching the usual thresholds, and sometimes, especially if you have been a frequent traveler with the program for many years, they will do you a favor and upgrade your status.
As always when dealing with hard working airline employees, kindness goes a long way.
Use your credit card points to book travel directly
Some rewards experts would gasp at this suggestion, as the use of credit card points such as Hunt the Ultimate Rewards® booking travel directly is rarely the most attractive exchange option. However, sometimes it is the best choice.
Unlike award travel bookings, which do not earn redeemable or qualifying miles, flights booked using credit card points are actually cash fares. This means that you can get the miles needed to achieve elite status without spending any money.
Why use points instead of cash? At the end of the year, some of us are reluctant to spend more money or increase credit card bills. Booking flights with points avoids this problem. Also, if you’re looking to redeem points or close your credit card account (maybe before paying your annual fee again), using points to book travel in this way is a good way to save money. delete them from your account.
The bottom line
To fall just short of the elite status of airlines is a disgrace. Last-minute mileage runs may get you past the threshold needed to achieve status, but they’re hard to do in December without significant expense. Use these tactics to explore mileage options, but remember: there’s always next year.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our choices for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those that are best suited: