I booked a mileage run trip two months ago because I did the math and I was running about 12,000 miles short on my status goal. I bought a round trip to Oslo, with connections at SFO and EWR, for $850 and relaxed knowing I was one weekend of flying away from my 2014 status goal.
Major Airline in Oslo
The last two months did not go as expected and I collected 13,000 status miles. Now my flight to Oslo looks like wasted money. Taking the trip would put me 10,000 miles and $2,000 away from the next status level. My initial idea was to plan on the flight being canceled because of snow at EWR; when it snows, United cancels the narrow body flights before the wide body flights. This idea was too much of a gamble for me.
United Airlines Aircraft in Houston
I started looking for ways to move the trip, and miles, to 2015 so I can have a jump on status next year. I searched for flights to Oslo in January because I’m dropping a peg in status and will earn more redeemable miles taking the trip before status downgrades February 1. Also anything March or later was out, no matter how cheap, because United moves to earning award miles based on fare price rather than distance. Flying on a $100 fare (and $750 in taxes and fees) would result in very few award miles and remove most of the value from the trip. I luckily found cheap weekend flights in January, so cheap that the $300 change fee was offset by the $210 in fare savings. I now have a head start on 2015 status for a mere $90. There are still many cheap weekend trips in January and February, so happy hunting.