My United Airlines mileage tracking spreadsheet

A couple of months ago I noticed the spreadsheet I maintain that tracks my United Airlines mileage didn’t add up to what was showing online. I was able to quickly compare each segment’s mileage and discovered Continental Airlines and United use different mileage amounts for flights out of Denver. As far as I know that discrepancy remains today, but more to the point of this post, I thought I’d share my spreadsheet with you.

It’s the “old school” way of keeping a record of my mileage, as there are many online tools to do the same, but I like to keep an account of other interesting tidbits from my travels that the online versions typically don’t have the ability to track. Here’s a snapshot of my travels from earlier this year, which you can click into for a full-size view:

Each line represents mileage earning or redemption activities, and I track both redeemable miles (RDM) and elite qualifying miles (EQM). The first line is my beginning balance as of January 1, 2011. My first flight of the year happened to also be on January 1st, and was United Airlines flight number 951 booked in full-fare business class (‘C’) on a Boeing 777. I geek out tracking aircraft registrations, so keep a record of those codes in the next column. If I couldn’t see the number on the aircraft itself, I use this handy tool to later look them up.

The next column shows I was seated in the business class cabin in 11A (‘C/11A’). Continuing across, I earned 2,288 miles for the flight and another 2,288 miles as my 100% elite bonus, for a total of 4,576 redeemable miles. I keep a running tally of those miles to quickly compare my spreadsheet amounts with what’s showing online.

Next, I keep record of my elite qualifying miles (EQMs), and you’ll see I earned a 50% bonus on top of the regular 2,288 flight miles because I was booked in full-fare business class. No, I didn’t pay for it, but was rebooked that way due to volunteering my seat a day earlier on an oversold flight. I keep a running tally in the next column to also compare to what United is showing online.

The ticket I was flying on was purchased in 2010, so I didn’t include the cents per mile (CPM) calculation, or the amount I spent out-of-pocket in the next two columns. The next trip below, I did enter that information, and you’ll see I spent $159.30, and the fare yielded a CPM of 3.55. For the CPM column, it’s important to note the calculation is taking the total fare divided by the total EQM for the trip. Later in the year, I redeemed several certificates, so keep in mind my column labeled as ‘$ SPENT’ is actually just that: my own spend, which can be different than the total fare. I have the CPM column averaged out at the bottom of my spreadsheet, and total the ‘$ SPENT’ column to reveal how much I spend in total for the year.

I may eventually sign up for one of the online tools to track similar fields, many of which are free services, but have used this spreadsheet since 2008. So I’m curious as to what all the other mileage runners and point trackers out there use. Do you maintain a spreadsheet, or have you gone totally online and track your miles & points with a service provider?

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  1. I keep a spreadsheet so I know when I’ll hit a status and whether I’ll need to do a mileage run. (This year, factoring in all my planned flights, I’ll fall 8.5k short of 1K.)

    I have most of the same columns as you, but in addition, I keep track of the plane type, and whether or not I got an upgrade. I really only track EQMs, but I do track total miles no matter what airline I’m on, so that I can get good stats on how far I’ve flown over the year.

    I haven’t been tracking CPM since most of my flights are paid for by our corporate booking app, but it might be worth starting.

    • @Patrick: Glad to hear I’m not the only “old school” one keeping a spreadsheet. If 1K is meaningful for you and depending on where you live, you may be able to knock out a mileage run to get that 8.5K miles, as I’m sure you know.

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