Mileage Run Opportunity: $169.00 nets 6,273 United EQMs LAX-IAD-ATL-IAD-SFO-LAX r/t

United Airlines is attacking Delta’s Atlanta hub tonight, particularly from Los Angeles (the same fare is valid from San Francisco). Very special thanks to reader @kziel who notified me tonight via Twitter.

Updated 1/19/12 at 9:30am PST: As suspected, this fare was pulled this morning and is no longer available.


Travel period: Now through end-of-schedule

Dates I found available: Too many to type out, even this month!

Number of nights stay: 1

Day of week restrictions: None

Fare basis: GA7KN, 7-day advance purchase

Fare: $169.00 all-in

Elite Qualifying Miles earned: 6,273 (assumes 500-mile minimums)

Cost-per-mile (CPM): 2.69

Example itinerary: Click for full view

a screenshot of a white paper with black text Visit my Mileage Running 101 Part 1 and Part 2 posts to get step-by-step instructions on how I found this fare and created the routing. [The FareCompare tool mentioned in my Mileage Running 101 posts is currently offline, but will be back soon.]


  1. While this all makes sense simply from the cost per mile standpoint, the absurdity of flying in and out of Dulles twice is just nuts, let alone the thought of mileage running at all.

    Go spend time with your family and the people that matter most to you instead of in an airplane seat for two days alone. To each their own, but I think this deserves a perspective check!

  2. I found lots of seats on various dates for $162.20 all in going through Denver, Phoenix, or Houston…. Some flights are on Continental and some are on USAirways. Yet to book direct from any of the connecting cities is much more expensive. Talk about a hidden fare as well!

  3. Darren,

    I posted this in one of your other recent mileage run posts, but I don’t think you replied–can you please explain how you get the search results you show in the post to actually appear when you search on When I search for that route on the dates you have in your example (2/3 and 2/4), a 12:52PM flight from LAX-IAD is not an option that is even presented on the outbound, and for the return, there are zero 2-stop segments presented as possibilities to choose from. I’m not aware of being able to force connections in a search on like you would if you were using matrix.itasoftware, so how did you get those results?

    I clicked the links to mileage running “part 1” and “part 2” that you had in the post just to see if there was something there that would explain, but as they did last time, they don’t link to an actual post, but just take you to the Boarding Area homepage.

    Thanks for the explanation…

  4. I’d do it, but just getting to LAX (about 800 miles) would cost about 2x the mileage run’s cost. I hope a few folks make goo use of of this. It is a silly trip, but a good one for miles at the current cpm.

  5. @Andrew: First, my apologies for not replying in the past… sorry for the oversight! On, I use the multi-city feature and build the itinerary one segment at a time. Segment one, I’d enter LAX to IAD at 1pm, then IAD to ATL at 10pm for segment two and so on. The search results will then show you the flights nearest those times so you’d be able to select the 12:52pm departure and so on.
    Thanks for the heads-up about the links… I’ll get those fixed. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Ahhh, thanks Darren, that makes sense! Appreciate the reply! I did this and it was pretty easy to replicate those flights!

    @Kris Ziel, I don’t think you mean to do that on, do you? That’s what you would do on ITA or Hipmunk or something like that, right…

  7. That’s ITA, I thought that is what you meant (it was right after I woke up). I called in to do it because usually it gives me some alert that the dates are too close, and even when it doesn’t it gives me the fare for each segment, not the start to finish fare.

  8. Honeymoon


    I forgot to thank you for all the help! My Honeymoon went great but would not have been the same without flying first class on continenal to Frankfurt. It is a bummer that i was not able to get that layover in Paris. I just didn’t have time to switch my miles. Hope you remember this but thanks for helping set up my first class flight.

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