30,000 miles to nowhere. Party in the sky, and the solution to the traitorous laptop


Background: Until recently, there was a one time opportunity to get top tier American Airlines AAdvantage elite status (Executive Platinum) by enrolling in and completing the US Airways Preferred Status Trial.  For fun, I decided to go for it and I know that many readers did too.  Now we just have to fly 30,000 miles on US Airways or American Airlines flights!  Follow along through this series of posts, or on Twitter search for hashtag #30Ktonowhere.  For additional background, please see:The last great mileage run.  See you in the air!

I’m writing this post aboard a US Airways flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia.  Tonight (last night, by the time this is published), I’ll fly back to Vegas. Then, the next morning, I’ll return home.

Its not just me going nowhere.  There are at least six mileage runners on this flight who, like me, were upgraded to first class.  Remember those $75 round trip fares I wrote about in November?  Yeah, we all paid about that much for these flights.

I’m writing this post on a MacBook Air.  I didn’t own a MacBook Air yesterday.  In fact, I think its been over 20 years since I’ve used a Mac.  My usual computer is a Lenovo 2 Pro, which I really like.  But, yesterday, when waiting at the airport for my outbound flight from Detroit to Vegas (via Dallas), I realized that my Lenovo had decided to stay home.  Uh oh.  I faced a few days on the road with no laptop.  That posed a problem.   Blogging is my job.  And, blogging is easier with a computer.  I considered writing posts on my iPhone, but I wasn’t sure I’d get very far that way.  Luckily, I had another problem that suggested a solution to my dilemma…

It just happens that my 10th grade son is about to start a mentored study program where he’ll be learning how to create iPhone apps.  To do so, he needs a MacBook.  I had planned to buy him a used MacBook for this, and then would probably sell it when he was done.  Instead, I moved on to plan B…

Remember Shawn Coomer, author of Miles to Memories, who I introduced to the FM team over the weekend?  It happens that he lives in Las Vegas.  I contacted him to see if he knew of a place in Vegas with good prices for MacBook laptops.  Maybe I could pick one up Wednesday morning before flying out to Philly?  Luckily for me, Shawn was aware of a good price on a MacBook Air at Best Buy.  Best Buy wouldn’t be open early enough in the morning, but Shawn volunteered to pick it up for me instead.  So, as I waited to board my flight from Detroit, I used my iPhone to buy a new computer.  Later that day, Shawn picked it up for me.  The next morning we held our first in-person business meeting and, of course, he brought the computer.  He also came prepared with his own laptop in case we would do any online work: coincidentally its a Lenovo 2 Pro, just like my traitorous laptop — the one that pulled out of our planned mileage run at the last minute.

As expected the $25K spend trick didn’t work

I’ve mentioned several times that I spent $25,000 on my US Airways card at the end of 2014 in order to generate 10,000 Preferred Qualifying Miles (that feature of the card is no longer present in 2015).  I knew it was a long shot, but my hope was that US Airways Preferred Trial program wasn’t smart enough to differentiate between PQMs earned from the card and PQMs earned from flying.  I hoped that the 10K PQMs would count towards my 30,000 mile goal.  It didn’t.  On Monday I received my 60 day summary email for the Preferred Trial.  No new miles were added due to the credit card spend.  That wasn’t a surprise, but it was a shame.

Next up

Later in January, my family will fly to southern Florida for a long weekend.  I finally had a chance to apply a US Airways $99 companion ticket (the one that currently comes with the credit card).  My flight was a bit pricey: around $400, but with the certificate I was able to add both my wife and son to the itinerary for just $99 plus taxes each.

Then, in early February, I’ll repeat the mileage run I’m on now.  But, instead of just one round trip flight from Vegas to Philly, I’ll do two, on consecutive days.  So far, almost all of my upgrades have been clearing 5 days in advance so I’m hoping for more of the same.

With the above plans on the books, I’ll still be a bit over 4000 miles short of the 30K goal.  I’m looking at booking one more flight, probably to LA via Phoenix, to round out my plans.  My trial ends February 11th, so I’ll have to book it soon!

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Hey, how did you (and the other mileage runners on the same flight) get upgraded to first class? Since you were mileage running to complete the challenge, I assume you already didn’t have status (EXP or CP). So I’m curious as to how you were able to get upgraded to first from economy?

[…] 30,000 miles to nowhere. Party in the sky, and the solution to the traitorous laptop – Latest update in a series about mileage running to top tier status with US Airways. Do credit card PQMs count towards the challenge? […]


I received an email from AA yesterday afternoon, said I was going to get Plat until May 15, 2015. If I can fly 12K from Feb 1 – May 15th it’ll be extended until Feb 29th, 2016!!


Now to try and get 12K in…in 14 weeks.


Tell us how the back-to-backs go. I thought really hard about doing it (those PHL-LAS flights would have been pretty convenient for me), but I just couldn’t see me doing all that meaningless travel in such a short time. The reward didn’t seem worth the pain! Too bad they don’t let you just pay the money and stay home. 🙂


barclays has confirmed via secure message that the companion certificate I received several days ago was the second and will be the last certificate I received from the credit card. But I will get 10000 bonus miles on every account anniversary so I decided to keep this card. By the way, was you on Jan 14 flight 607?


On the US Airways companion certificate that USED to be a feature of the card, I just applied for and got the card, and the companion certificate arrived yesterday, so I think this benefit is still alive and well. It says it is good through the end of 2015.


Firstly, I can’t begin to say how impressed I am by your son, and by your foresight to involve him in such a program.

Secondly, give the Mac a fair chance. I think you’ll find, just as I did many years ago when my Sony VAIO betrayed me, that it’s an incredibly stable and worry free ecosystem.