11,003 MQMs, 24,757 RDMs for $306 All-in Delta 2014 Mileage Run!

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flying over chicago delta mileage run delta points blog polar vortex

Booking a mileage run in January may not be the best idea ever now that I think about it. My thought process, at the time of booking anyway, and running all my numbers real quick was that with rollover from 2013 and this run and my upcoming vacation run to Hawaii soon will put me to 125,000+ for 2014 and re-earn my Diamond Medallion status for 2015 (once I hit my MQD exempt spend that is and that is coming along fine). The one thing I did not take into account the #Polarfreezeyou2deathifUwalkoutside happening just before my run.

I was technically under the Delta “Midwest weather waiver” and could have changed my dates, but not by enough to make it work for me and my schedule so I press ahead and things did work out with all but my very last flight pretty much on time! The only real issue was upgrades or the lack thereof that is. Actually, I did not really care as there were people stuck for DAYS in airports and I know from reps they were putting people in 1st class when they did not have a 1st class ticket just to get them out after so many cancellations and delays. The result was not one single upgrade on the transcon segments but all of the MKE & DTW ones did clear pre-run. Most of the time I was 4 or 6 on the list but one time as deep as 11th out of SFO. Quality time in coach is good to keep me humble right? (no, not really, I don’t like it at all)!


Since the weather was virtually unbearable I decided to go the day before most of the way and stay just ½ an hour south of the airport at a Candlewood Suites since it was net only 8,000 IHG points and I have plenty of those. The drive was a bit worse than I expected as most of the way only one lane was usable and highway speeds went from 35-65 most of the way. I made it and enjoyed a good stay and then had time to relax in the Skyclub before the run (happy it is not MAY and my wife has to sit outside the club 🙁 ).

MKE airport start to delta mileage run delta points blog

My route for this run was MKE-ATL-SFO-ATL-MKE-ATL-SFO-DTW-MKE! I was basically nonstop flying other than a few hours between turns in SFO. The first day I spent some quality time in SFO Terminal 2 at the XpressSpa and the Skyclub.


For both my ATL-SFO legs I did not clear and enjoyed the most leg room on the Delta 767-300 that is seat 26B.

no working TV Delta 767-300 atl-sfo delta points blog

The most irritating thing that I am not used to is that Delta charges for just about everything on the IFE and I was not about to slide my Delta AMEX Reserve card for a $6 movie or a $1 TV show – ridiculous. On top of that, one of the only things that was free was Satellite TV but that was down. Good thing I had my own stuff to enjoy on my phone as well as getting a good price on the still working monthly GoGo pass at 30% off.

rene and jim sfo delta milea run

Day two I had a real treat in store. You may remember reading about a fellow Delta Diamond Jim who did a guest post on the blog a few weeks back. Jim was nice enough to pick me up and take me to a minor league hockey game in SFO and while I only had 1 hour to enjoy it was a real treat and it is always so good to see you, Jim – thanks for the treat and hope to see you soon again my friend!

delta 737-900 new economy comfort seats delta points blog redeye flight sfo-dtw

Then it was back for my last redeye. I was hoping against hope for an upgrade to 1st on this 737-900 after my enjoyable flight on the inaugural flight of the model last year. That did not happen and I ended up DEEP on the upgrade list. However, coach was just about empty this flight. So much so that the middle seat was empty on almost the whole plane. I have to say, as worried as I was about this new slim-line seat Delta has been putting in, it really is OK. Not great mind you, but no worse than what was there before. To me, that is a win as I was expecting worse.

Delta biscoff cookie Delta Points blog

The only real issue I had was my final flight from DTW-MKE. Yes it was snowing a bit but the real problem was paperwork. Apparently someone had taken 30 pages from a book in the cockpit that was needed and we had to wait for an hour for the pages to be photo copied so we could legally fly. I slept so it was OK but getting home late was not the best. Ah well.

Snowy flight from DTW to MKE Delta  Points blog

On to the numbers. This really was a great deal! The price dropped within 24hrs of my first booking and I got in at just $153 for each round trip or $306 total! So:

Ticket price $306
Cost per mile 2.8
I also earned back 24,757 miles worth $248
I did spend less than $100 on gas and tolls
I also burned 8,000 IHG points for a room

Bottom line my cost to earn over 11k MQMs was just $158. Compare that to the nearly $2000 Delta would have sold me 10k MQMs for and you can see the value even though it cost me some time.

My next trip is Hawaii and a vacation run combo (we will see if I have as much fun as Lar-Eric & Pablo did). I will be burning a BOGOF cert since Lisa is joining me on this combo and then hopping all over the USA to get to Hawaii the longest way I can work out. Then my last Hilton points will go to good use as well as a few SPG stays along the way. I can’t wait to see how it goes! – René

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  1. Great post, Rene. Please keep us posted on new MR opportunities — after you book it yourself, of course. Does DL pull these MR opportunities the minute they see them publicized on your twitter or the flyer talk forum?

  2. “I will be burning a BOGOF cert since Lisa is joining me on this combo and then hopping all over the USA to get to Hawaii the longest way I can work out.”

    I thought the certificates excluded Hawaii??

  3. @Matt – on a V class fare on the SFO route is VERY hard to clear in advance. With the storm, made it all but impossible. I could have changed free due to storm or SDC but all the flights all days were packed transcon (other than last one back). I did try. I almost bumped day one as they were over by 9 but at flight time they went out even – grrrr! 😉

  4. Hi Rene!
    I apologize if this isn’t the right place to post this question: I have had my Delta Business Reserve card for just under a year. Is there a way to downgrade to the Platinum card just to spend $1K and collect the bonus, then upgrade to the Reserve Card again to collect a new signing bonus of EQMs?

  5. @Steve – ask questions anyplace just please ask away. AMEX is crazy on upgrade and downgrade and can promise anything and you may or may not get what you were promised. I could get the BIZ card and then cancel personal. Then rinse and repeat next year.

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