This year is pretty much a wash, but why not load up early on easy EQMs (and RDMs) with American in 2012. Their Double Elite Qualifying Miles and Double Flight Miles promotion continues through March 31, 2012 and there are currently a huge amount of dates available from both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
It’s open to residents of Illinois, California and Texas and applies to flights from ORD or DFW to either LAX or SFO. The example itinerary below is the best deal coming in at 2.97 cpm, but plenty of availability also exists between LAX and ORD at 3.14 cpm. I’m sure DFW to LAX/SFO also has plenty of availability, but at a much higher cpm.
United also has a similar promotion through January 31, 2012, but it requires a W-bucket fare or higher. The cheapest LAX-ORD roundtrip in W, for example, is $339.40 or 4.86 cpm… a terrible mileage run option.
Routing: San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare roundtrip
Travel period: Now through March 31, 2012
Dates I found available: Almost unlimited
Number of nights stay: 0 (easy & quick day trip)
Day of week restrictions: Monday through Saturday only
Fare basis: QA07OQY1, 7-day advance purchase
All-in fare: $219.40
Elite Qualifying Miles earned: 7,384
Cost-per-mile (CPM): 2.97
Example itinerary: Click for full view