A MKE Mileage Run report from blog reader John – Nothing like a fun run!

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I booked a $202 roundtrip MKE-LAX mileage run for a Tues afternoon with same-night turnaround to a red-eye back to MSP. Only challenge was that I live in MSP, so I had to book a oneway MSP-MKE in order to pick up my trip, but I found a $70 fare so it was a go! Routing: MSP-MKE (ow), MKE-MSP-LAX-MSP(-MKE, which I planned not to use as I’d be back home).

I generally hate domestic red-eye flights as it’s not enough time to sleep, nor comfortable enough seats to snooze, but I noted that the LAX-MSP was a 767-300 and was wide open in F, so I took a chance that my GM status would get me up to my rightful place in front of the curtain 🙂 As it turned out, I received emails from DL three days before my trip confirming the longer segments MSP-LAX-MSP. Nice!

I was on a 3:10p-4:22p MSP-MKE (MD-90…yuck!), with a planned 3h30m layover in MKE which I intended to spend in the SkyClub (AMEX Platinum via last spring’s Ameriprise first year waived deal). When F filled up I was still 18 of 34 on the upgrade list; I had picked my comp EC seat right behind F, and sat next to a guy who was from my hometown in CT. He’s PM and was 5 of 34 on the list. We had some iffy winter weather move in to the Upper Midwest, so I was a bit concerned about my return to MSP. So, when I got off the plane in MKE, I went right to the podium (same gate, as our ship was turning around for a return to MSP) and was confirmed on that next flight.

So, I got to spend 3h30m in my hometown airport (MSP) which I actually rather enjoyed. I arrived back from MKE at the end of the G concourse (formerly the “Gold”, for you nostalgia enthusiasts!), and my LAX flight departed from the head of the same concourse. They’ve recently done a huge renovation on the concourse and the eateries are all new, now managed by OTG group with at-table ordering via iPad which you can then surf while eating, drinking and topping up the charge on your various electronic devices. I ate at Shoyu where the old Wolfgang Yuck used to be right across from the Customs area. I had an awesome bowl of Soba with Wild Mushrooms, plus Edamame, Unagi (freshwater eel nigiri sushi, not Ross Geller’s version!) and a Sapporo. Airport prices – $45 with 20% tip – but it was really tasty.

They also renovated the little shops and eateries (ex-McDonald’s space) at the entrance to G gates 1-6. Good variety of food and sundries to grab on the way to your flight. I browsed a bit, then made my way to the nearby SkyClub. I have to say that I really don’t care for this one at all; it’s all just one big room, it’s unattractive, kinda beat-up and there’s no longer the easy entry/exit by the aforementioned shop area and the connector between F and G concourses. However, I really like the one on the C concourse (near B). My UConn women’s team was in the National Championship so I sat at the bar and watched the game until boarding time.

My MSP-LAX-MSP trips were uneventful (which is good when you’re 40k feet above the ground!). I was in 4A on a 757-200 on the way out so no individual video but I read then nodded off for an hour or so thanks to a couple of glasses of wine. Very bumpy for much of the flight but I’m a good flyer as was my seatmate. We arrived LAX a few minutes early so I had about 50 minutes in the SkyClub. Yuck. It just seemed end-of-the day tired in there, snacks hadn’t been refreshed for a few hours and no energy. I read a bit then made it back to the gate to board my red-eye home to MSP. 767-300 with the big seats and good recline but no leg rests. I had 3A but there was a couple hopeful of sitting together so I moved over to the far aisle seat. A pre-departure cup of box wine, a Melatonin and I barely made it through the take-off roll (2:57am the time my body was on). Arrived back in MSP with time to scrape the snow off my car, drive 15 minutes home and drive my kids to school.

Observations/Takeaways:

  • – 4072 MQM’s, 8144 miles with GM bonus + 544 miles ($272 airfare on AmEx SkyMiles Plat = 2x miles) for 8688 total
  • – CPMQM = $.067; CPM = $.031
  • – The $70 MSP-MKE oneway was a bummer, but still a good MR; last year I had to make a $142 MSP-MDW roundtrip on a December Saturday morning as I was going to be 700 MQM’s shy of GM. I’ll call this a “pre-emptive MR”.
  • – I was pleased to get in F for the MSP-LAX-MSP segments; this was a fair amount of flying in a short time, with a red-eye. Fortunately, I’m pretty compact (5’6″) but like to have room to stretch nonetheless. Not sure how much I’d like a IST MR like the one Rene wrote about recently!
  • – My decision to turn right around in MKE (if available) was a good one, and harkens back to my days as a Northwest employee traveling on non-rev passes: get as far as you can, as soon as you can because you never know what might happen. – John

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John thanks for this and permission to post and a great summary of what someone can do/enjoy/see on a mileage run! I will be doing this run about 1x a month all year so hope to see you all up in the air, in MKE or LAX or SFO along the way! With all the less than amazing news from Delta as of late, this made my day – thank you John! – Rene

 

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5 comments

  1. Does Delta care about you not taking the final leg from MSP back to MKE? I live near MSP as well and have been considering doing the exact same trip, but didn’t want to do the final MSP to MKE leg and find a way back to MSP.

    Thanks for the write up!

  2. I had little concern about stepping off before the last leg, and my miles have now posted. You can’t do that on an earlier leg, as they’ll auto-cancel the remainder of your ticketed itinerary otherwise. Alas, it used to be different…

  3. Rene, I noticed these MR fares ex-MKE disappeared. I noticed WN ended a 10-day fare sale last night, and assume a new one will begin Tuesday, as is their practice. Is it your sense that DL switches this fare on/off as WN begins/ends its near-weekly sales?

  4. @Adam – I long ago stopped trying to understand whey Delta does any pricing decisions! However, your reasoning sounds like it could be valid. This great rate has gone up, then down, then down MORE again and again. I have got from $162-$232 all in all year (paid more some days to get back to back trips).

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