Mileage Run Opportunity: $248.80 nets 7,340 United EQMs PIT-IAD-SFO-TUS r/t

A reader emailed me asking about mileage run opportunities on United Airlines from his hometown, Pittsburgh. I do tend to be coast-centric as that’s where you get the biggest bang for your buck on mileage runs, but welcome other origins as well. If you’d like me to research options from your hometown, shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

This one travels from Pittsburgh through Washington Dulles and San Francisco to Tucson. There is technically a 0-nighter when starting from Pittsburgh, but the flight arrives at 12:15am with the next departure at 5:51am. I haven’t hung around an airport overnight in years, but know some hard-core runners who do. I’d tack on a mattress run to such a trip.

One thing to note about the itinerary below is the 31-minute connection in SFO. It’s “legal” per United’s rules, but obviously very tight. What I would try to do is standby on the earlier PIT-IAD and IAD-SFO legs that are available that day. Otherwise, if I got stuck in San Francisco, they’d overnight me for misconnecting and I’d pick up the return and plead my case with Mileage Plus to get original routing credit. They’ve said “no” to me once before, but I ended up getting a $200 cert out of it, so was happy enough.

Routing: Pittsburgh to Dulles to San Francisco to Tucson roundtrip

Travel period: Now through end-of-schedule

Dates I found available: 1/19, 30, 31; 2/1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 20, 22, 28, 29

Number of nights stay: 1

Day of week restrictions: None

Fare basis: GA7CN, 7-day advance purchase

Fare: $248.80 all-in

Elite Qualifying Miles earned: 7,340 (assumes 500-mile minimums)

Cost-per-mile (CPM): 3.39

Example itinerary: Click for full view

a screenshot of a white and black documentVisit 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. I will soon update these posts as the FareCompare page is temporarily down and the classic version of Matrix has been taken off line.


  1. As a resident of PGH and a UA 1K, I thank you. Am going to do this search on my own and maybe hit it at the end of February. Thanks!

  2. I live in DEN and there really aren’t all that good of deals out of here because it is close to the middle of the nation. On my Singapore Extravaganza, the fare was $1,500 fare that was good for 39,100 EQMs, unfortunately I missed that fare by a few hours and had to pay way more than I wanted. I really wish I would find deals like this from DEN.

  3. Darren, I tried to read your “Part 1” and “Part 2” links, but they both just took me to the main Boarding Area page. I’m somewhat familiar with using MatrixITA to construct routings, but how do you actually force that routing once you go on I’ve searched a number of the dates you outline, and I have yet to see anything routing through SFO…most of the two-stop options it returns are through ORD/DEN or CLE/IAH (with the occasional LAX). Thanks!

    • @SC Osprey: Hi John, I’ll put CAE on my radar and check. The initial good news is that you’re on a coast, which makes it easier to get more bang for your buck on domestic runs.

  4. thanks Darren for the great deal,,, but for those of us in Canada, is there is MR from yyz for United? 😉 thanks!

    • @Dennis: I’ve had several requests for YYZ, so it’s on my list I check from time to time. A few have also said they’d travel to BUF to start a run, so I’m monitoring that airport, as well. Hopefully I’ll have something soon for my friends up North!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.