Virgin America Mileage Run
This past weekend I did a mileage run on Virgin America that took across the country twice. Leaving Friday evening and returning Sunday evening, I flew 11,222 miles. The total flight time of the 6 flights was 26 hours and 43 minutes over the course of less than 48 hours. And that’s flight time; it does not include the time sitting on a plane during boarding and waiting to deplane.
I purchased the ticket last December for $161.20. The ticket was considered a PDX-LAX round trip. However, the routing rules allowed for creativity. My routing to get from Portland to Los Angeles looked like this:
PDX-SFO Flight 1948 (1:41 flight time) 550 miles
Departure Friday 7:21 PM
Arrival Friday 9:02 PM
SFO-JFK Flight 1034 (5:45 flight time) 2,586 miles
Departure Friday 11:23 PM
Arrival Saturday 8:08 AM
JFK-LAX Flight 1409 (6:07 flight time) 2,475 miles
Departure Saturday 11:27 AM
Arrival Saturday 2:34 PM
And the “return” trip looked like this:
LAX-JFK Flight 1420 (5:36 flight time) 2,475 miles
Departure Saturday 11:20 PM
Arrival Sunday 7:56 AM
JFK-SFO Flight 1023 (5:57 flight time) 2,586 miles
Departure Sunday 10:25 AM
Arrival Sunday 1:22 PM
SFO-PDX Flight 1816 (1:37 flight time) 550 miles
Departure Sunday 3:26 PM
Arrival Sunday 5:03 PM
Cost: I live in Seattle so I had to position myself to Portland for the run. I was able to book a ticket on Alaska SEA-PDX for 5,000 miles plus $5.60. The return trip was $84.20.
All in, I paid $251.00 and 5,000 Alaska miles. Obviously the deal would have been better had I not needed to position to PDX.
Earn: As an Alaska Gold 75K I earned a total of 28,410 redeemable miles (23,410 after subtracting the cost of the SEA-PDX flight). Total elite qualifying miles earned was 11,722.
Even with the positioning flights, I got a value of 2.1 cents per elite qualifying mile. For me, anything under 4 cents per EQM is a good deal. This was a steal. The cost of redeemable miles was even better: less than 1.1 cent per redeemable mile.
The worst flight by far was the first overnight. Luckily my friend and I booked a room at the Hyatt Regency at LAX for our long layover to get some sleep, shower and exercise. I won’t be doing another mileage run like this one any time soon, but for me it was worth it.