Crazy Status Mileage Run — Great BBQ, an Hour in Alaska,and Breakfast with Tiff (Almost)

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As you might remember, I’m trying for status on 3 airlines this year. American Airlines granted me an Executive Platinum Challenge, which meant I needed to fly 25,000 base points.

My Easter Island flights netted me 10K of the points I needed. I just had to come up with 15K base points by the end of July, which sounds easier than it is. Base points are based on fare class, so super cheap flights only net half the normal amount of points.

Anyway, after much research I found a slightly reasonably priced flight for last weekend that would earn ~8K points. The only catch was, it was a straight turn. 🙁

Now I’m not a traditional mileage runner. It’s rare that I won’t spend the night or at least the day at my destination. I hate never leaving the airport, so I’d rather pay a little more and go somewhere I have an interest in. But, with only a few free weekends to hit my flown miles and a desire not to take a red eye back and go straight into work, I wound up booking flights with just an hour layover in Anchorage, less time than I’d have in Dallas!

But this was already going to be better than my United mileage runs. I could upgrade First Class in advance for cash & miles for my outbound and every flight would have internet and power sources. Many of my lazy weekend days are spent online, so this wouldn’t be much different. Right?

DCA-Dallas was great. We were served a light snack that I was able to book online in advance. To me, a frequent US Air passenger, a snack = the usual snack basket. On American Airlines it means a real salad or wrap. And cookies! And they even offered me seconds! Unheard of decadence for a domestic airline!!

This meant I arrived at Dallas pretty full. Unfortunate (for me) because I’d been commanded by friends to check out Dickey’s BBQ (not Salt Lick!). And it was just one gate from where we landed, so I had no excuse not to go.

I got the Texas Style Beef Brisket sandwich and it was better than any BBQ I’d had in DC. And it was in an airport!!

Dickey's BBQ sweet tea

I also went for the sweet tea. They were kind enough to let me sample it before committing and it was just right. Brewed strong, lots of sugar but not too much. Mmmmm. Though probably not a good choice for 6 1/2 hours in a window seat…

And so I boarded the plane feeling a little uncomfortably stuffed. Only to be greeted an hour later with real meal service. Good bread, spiced chicken appetizer, and an interesting salad of marinated mushrooms, etc with arugala. Main course (which I had pre-ordered) was beef with potatos, surprisingly not overcooked!

I gave up halfway through, fully intending to decline the cookies when they came by. Except there were no cookies — we all got our choice of ice cream sundaes, fruit cups or cheese plates. So I took a cheese plate for later 😉

My brilliant plan of being online the whole time (at least for the outbound) didn’t quite work out because Gogo doesn’t work 100 miles outside of the US. BOOOO. But the amazing view coming into Anchorage almost made up for the fact I wouldn’t have time to leave the airport.

Upon arrival, I discovered I had no cell service and couldn’t remember what I had done last time to fix that. Not really a problem except I couldn’t download my electronic boarding passes and had to ask the gate agent to print them for me. That’s when I discovered the return leg had been upgraded to first 🙂 That makes me 5/5 on American Airlines and confirming this crazy trip was probably worth it.

As close as I got to the Alaska Mountains

As close as I got to the Alaska Mountains

For the ANC-DFW leg, we were given a printed “Midnight Raid menu” with choice of grilled Italian beef salad, cheese and fruit plate, or onion & leek soup. Since I’d been eating all day, I went for the soup, and a glass of the Chilean Carmenere. Except turns out they only had a 1/4 of a glass left, so I wound up doing my second on-board wine tasting of the year, comparing the splash of Carmenere with a Napa Valley Cabernet. (Surprisingly the Napa Cab won.)

Upon arrival I anxiously checked my phone for news from Tiff. Earlier she’d touched base with me about meeting up at the airport to grab breakfast during my layover, which would have made the trip even more fun. Unfortunately with storms sweeping through the area, it wasn’t going to work out, so I headed to the American Airlines lounge in Terminal D.

Since it was a Sunday (not to mention 6AM!) I was informed I couldn’t get alcohol, but I could use my voucher for bottled water, juice, or a smoothie. The free breakfast options — apples and mini-muffins — were less than United Clubs which usually have bagels and cream cheese at least, but since I’d be eating in another hour I just grabbed some coffee and watched the storm roll through.

The DFW-DCA flight left on time, my egg frittata was quite good, and I was so happy to arrive back in DC only 26 hours after leaving. Despite packing an amenity kit full of rejuvenating products, I was feeling tired and my back was definitely hurting.

But I actually enjoyed the trip, shedding some of my usual indifference to flying domestically. I had window seats most of the time and was completely enraptured looking at the snowy mountains and mid-west plains. Even observing how they handle baggage during a storm was unusually interesting to me. AND now I only have one more Alaska flight (this time actually staying for a night) to go to lock in my Executive Platinum status. 🙂

What’s the best mileage run you’ve taken?


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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