This is the first post in a series detailing my most recent mileage run to Singapore in November 2013. In this series, I will talk about:
- The anatomy of my mileage run.
- Lounge Review: The Club at San Jose Airport.
- Trip report: ANA Economy class from San Jose to Tokyo Narita, Boeing 787.
- Hotel review: Fairmont Singapore.
- Trip report: United Airlines Economy class from Tokyo Narita to Los Angeles, Boeing 787.
- Lounge review: United Club at Tokyo Narita Airport.
- Lounge review: Korean Airlines Lounge at Tokyo Narita Airport.
- United Airlines Premier Gold Status
So why do a mileage run to Singapore?
Well, I’m still fairly new to the miles game and I wanted to hit United Airlines Premier Gold Status this year. Having already qualified for UA Premier Silver (and not really seeing much benefit from it), I decided to go for Premier Gold and see if there was any difference.
Premier Silver was actually quite underwhelming. There’s really no benefit that it offers that you can’t get from owning one of the UA branded credit cards. Sure you get complimentary upgrade eligibility but as a Premier Silver, I wouldn’t hold my breath. You can safely assume that you’re never gonna get upgraded as a Premier Silver unless you’re flying from a non-UA hub or to some random regional airport. I discussed the benefits of Premier Silver in a previous post and you can find out more about it here.
Needing twice the number of required miles, Premier Gold promised many more benefits than Premier Silver so I wanted to give it a try. However, I was short by about 17k miles and didn’t really want to spend my weekends flying a series of transcon flights just to make status. I value a Premier Gold status but I definitely value my free weekends much more.
So I did some mileage searching and found that a round trip flight from Los Angeles to Singapore would yield me just enough PQMs to qualify me for Premier Gold this year. Looking at some flights, I actually found flights as low as $700 for the dates I was looking for. For 17,500 miles, that would have been 4.8 cents per mile, which is pretty decent for a mileage run. However, those flights were connecting through San Francisco and I would be on United’s 747-400 for the 10+ hours on the transpac legs.
Now, I love me some Gold status but I don’t love it that much to put up with an aging 747-400 with no AVOD entertainment for over 20 hours of flying. So I kept searching United’s website and found an itinerary that looked pretty decent to me. This route would take me from LAX-SJC-NRT-SIN and then return the reverse route. Though the price was $300 more, this itinerary was much more appealing.
Having never flown on the Boeing 787-800 before, this itinerary would allow me to experience both United Airlines’ 787-800 and ANA’s 787-800 on the transpac legs and I figured you guys would appreciate a comparison of the two airlines. I will also get to experience United’s intra-Asia flights and compare them to its US based flights, stay at another great Fairmont hotel and visit a country that I have never been to before. And lastly, this mileage run will get me to Premier Gold status.
So at the end of the day, my itinerary cost me 6.2 cents per mile, which is not great for a mileage run. Ideally, they should be under 5 cents per mile but what the heck, I figured the experience would be worth it and I’m sure you guys will appreciate reading about it.