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14,616 MQMs + 50,192 Skymiles + 3 days in Hawaii Delta “mileage run”

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

hawaii mileage run totals for rene

Time to see if this mileage / vacation run ended up with the numbers I was hoping and had planned for. I put the mileage run in the title of the blog post in quotes as a true mileage run does not include 3 days on the beach, but since I was in Hawaii – why not. Plus, since my Lisa joined me on this run, I had to make some adjustments. Like what you ask?

snowy CRJ900 Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (3)

Well, as I said on the Rudy Maxa radio show that I did from Waikiki, where you start a mileage run does not matter. If the price is good enough you can always position yourself and get the most miles you can for that part too. Even if that “cost per mile” or CPM for that part is a little higher than you would like, the net cost, that is both tickets, can make it a good deal. Had I been flying alone I would have taken the route that cost the least and gave the BEST CPM.

deiceing in sbn delta points blog final

With Lisa along, I took a more direct route to position and on top of that booked in 1st class with an AMEX BOGOF cert. The flight was so empty in 1st, as you can see below, they were selling 1st class upgrades

Delta selling 1st class seat upgrades Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (4)

So my route. My wife does not like red-eye flights unless there is a full-flat seat for her. So, I had to work around that and it included some overnights at SPG hotels; that works anyway as I need SPG stay credits and have SPG points. I booked for our positing flights SBN-DTW-IAH and then overnighted at the Sheraton IAH (review on the way soon). Then next day IAH-ATL-SEA-HNL. On the return, HNL-LAX-SLC-IAH and an overnight again at the Sheraton IAH. Return home was IAH-DTW-SBN.

Delta Connection CRJ900 1st class seat Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (2)

First let me cover the trip and then the breakdown on the cost and points. The outbound was a CRJ200 to DTW and CRJ900 to IAH. The seats in these birds are nice. No IFE and NO power, but very comfortable and the service is great as you have an FA for only a few seats (when they are being attentive that is).

southwest cold dinner Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (5)

The food on these jets is often cold but that can be OK. The dinner I had was a southwest chicken dish and it was very tasty. I really liked it.

We departed early from IAH to ATL as clearly that is the best direction to fly to Hawaii to get points (i.e. fly the wrong way then the right way). None of my upgrades had cleared preflight as a Diamond, but all of them did at the gate so Lisa took my 1st class seat and I sat in coach with extra HOOUs (“Have One On Us” coupons given to GM+ who don’t upgrade) since I got hers and mine as she is Gold Medallion (gifted from my DM status). I split our reservations to get max shots at upgrades and I picked the center seat and Lisa the aisle so when I upgraded I had an aisle seat that is hers. Also, on the flight to ATL the center seat was empty so I had a ton of space.

Once we arrived in ATL things started to get interesting. I am always looking for a “bumportunity” if they are willing to pay enough like a $400 voucher at least since the spending rules are so tight now on them. They were offering $300 and I was NOT top of the list even though I had electronically volunteered at check-in. I even offered to give up my seat free for a first class ride to HNL any way they could get us there to save Delta money (i.e. this last minute the chance of selling a 1st class seat is remote so just taking away an upgrade from a fellow medallion or on the direct ATL-HNL we cannot get free upgrades on anyway). No doing and was told to find a red coat. Found one but again got a no so we boarded. As it turned out, I found out once aboard, the paper volunteers said NO so they had to deny boarding to 3 people and that cost Delta a bunch more than $300 each!

view from skyclub SEA Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (7)

The trip to SEA was fine and enjoyed the ride as I had front row coach with unlimited leg room. Had a Travel Treats snack box with my HOOU and a glass of red wine and enjoyed a movie on my phone (still have a few openings to join my Sprint “Framily Plan” btw if interested).

Sunset tail art SEA airport Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (1)

On landing went to the club and found the SEA-HNL was oversold. And, since we were both Medallions, got an Op-Up that is an operational upgrade to 1st class since coach was oversold.

757-300 cockpit SEA-HNL Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (11)

They still even after that needed 6 more off the plane and it was hard to say no to 2x$400 but I would have lost a day in Hawaii and the Op-Up as the next day’s flight would have been in coach (the flight we would have been moved to had we taken the bump).

Mai Tais pre flight to hawaii on Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (14)

The Captain was nice enough to let me take a shot of the cockpit and then I sat back to enjoy my ride in 1st as well as the pre flight mai-tais! The dinners were good, I had a hot chicken one and Lisa had the pasta (the photos did not turn out so good – sorry).

view of the sky in hawaii at the hilton hawaiian village delta points blog

I will have a post up later about the time in Hawaii, dinner with Scott from MileValue and readers of both blogs, as well as our great stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

IAH airport from the air Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (10)

I talked about our issues with cancellations the other day and our coach ride and first 787 trip on United so if you want to peek that that one you can read about it here. Also, like I talked about in this week’s rookie post, I did get full credit from Delta for the canceled flights. So then on to the return flight after an extended stay at the Sheraton IAH since our flights canceled due to the ice storm in Texas. No problem, I have SPG points and we enjoyed a relaxing day of #SPGlife!

cold breakfast delta CRJ900 Delta Points mileage run to hawaii (8)

The good news was it looked like a bump was in order for IAH-DTW as they were oversold by 2 and was told to wait to be last to board. We waited but in the end the flight went out even – rats! Then we were served in 1st class the “cold” breakfast. It was a bit disappointing (why butter and jam an no bread I ask you) as was the service as this was an early AM flight and the FA was so loud I am sure very few were able to sleep!

Then, as you can see from this morning’s post, the CRJ200 flight from DTW-SBN was a bit more eventful that normal and readers comments were pretty much all against me (point taken everyone btw 😉 & txs for feedback)!

So let’s do the numbers as they as they were most interesting. Keep in mind with the BOGOF cert from AMEX with the Reserve personal  or /and business Reserve card you can pick either 1st class or coach. I picked 1st class and the primary flyer, me, earns not just Skymiles but also class of service bonus points as well. Passenger two, Lisa, gets nothing but a ride in 1st class for free (just the tax).

  • Cost for positioning flight for two in 1st class to IAH $705.20
  • Cost for mileage run from IAH-HNL each was $431.10
  • Total cost all-in for air was $1567.40
  • MQMs earned for Rene (Lisa’s don’t matter) was 14,616
  • Thus my CPM was almost 11  (really not a great MR number)
  • Skymiles earned for both of us total was 50,192
  • Included in this was 500 points for a middle seat 🙂 Txs Delta
  • Points worth $502-$1004 at 1-2 CPM value to me
  • Also spent NET 11,500 SPG points for 3 nights at the Sheraton IAH
  • I should earn some US Air points for the United flight that will become AA points soon once the merger is completed. EDIT: Miles have posted. Total for us both was 2758!

The net results for all of this was my real cost to me with a minimum value of the Skymiles for the air for us both was just $1065. Really not too bad a price for a mostly 1st class flight to Hawaii with a bunch of MQMs as icing on the cake and a “family” mileage / vacation run.

Just some other bits. Had I done this on my own, with just one day or no layover in Hawaii, I would have taken any of the $400 bumps and probably boarded last on the ATL-SEA leg. I also would have flown a much longer route to IAH and would have spent either Arrival points or FlexPerks points and flown coach for FREE (and earning points for the flight as well) on those points and done my best to get free medallion upgrades to get the cost lower as a mileage run. – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. So every think about doing a group mileage run? Could be fun…

    • @Ryan404 – many times I end up with flyers on the same runs. Would be hard to setup. Also, I do not publish my info on dates of my runs (hate to say it but must be this way).

  2. Pingback: MileValue Dinner in Honolulu: Meet the Miles Blogger

  3. Nina. (DeltaGoldLass) Reply

    Hats off to you Rene!
    You get a lemon and make
    Lemonade for all!
    Re sprint- I’m interested
    Plz contact me ?

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