The Joys and Pains of Elite Airline Status Racking up miles to earn elite airline status can be a pain, but the perks are worth it.
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It's mid-November as I write this, and I'm about to go to the Frontier Airlines website and do something I haven't done since the Spice Girls were together: I'm going to book a mileage run.
Remember mileage runs? They were as late-'80s as stonewashed jeans. Toward year's end, you found yourself a bit short in the ongoing quest for elite status with your favorite airline. So you opened your Official Airline Guide and booked a trip. You might have chosen a roundabout routing to get somewhere you actually had to go, like Chicago to Cleveland through Dallas--or, in the extreme case of one journalist I knew, Boston to Baltimore via San Francisco. (Yes, that actually happened.)
More existentially, you could book a trip to nowhere, flying to a just-distant-enough destination and catching the next plane home without leaving the airport. Or, if you were your own boss and had planned properly, you pulled out one of those noncrucial trips you'd been delaying--a visit to a plant or a key customer--and got it over with before the end of the year.