[Travel diaries] Should I have taken my 11-year-old daughter on a mileage run to make airline status?

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The other day I realized that my 11-year-old, who has been to Europe a bunch of times recently – including 3 times in 12 months – hadn’t flown economy to Europe in 10 years. Yup. the last time she was sitting in economy and now business was as a 1-year-old. Those upgrades have spoiled her – and me!

In 2018, we went twice. Once over President’s Day because tickets were $1,000 total for two and we then got upgraded. Not sure if it was a mistake fare or not, but it was honored and we took the trip. Then we took another trip – a somewhat annual one – over Thanksgiving. On the way back we hit a winter storm in the Midwest and ended up driving back from Chicago to Cedar Rapids and American Airlines refunded about $50 of that ticket. We had also changed our trip slightly and that ticket ended up being cheaper too. So anyway, for her to get Gold Status on American Airlines, she needed 25,000 miles and $3,000 in spend and right after all of her travel in 2018 (which also included trips to the Gulf of Mexico and San Antonio) her American account looked liked this:

She made Gold on miles with almost 28,000. Whoa! But was short $75 miles on the $3,000 spend. She flew a total of 22 segments for the year. Whoa, again!

Some people suggested that I would take her on an EQD run to get her to Gold Status. I was thinking about it. What would the advantages be? Let’s look.

Advantages for a 11-year-old to have airline status

  • She earn reward miles quicker
  • She earns 500-mile upgrades which allow her to use them to get upgraded – including when she’s flying with me – who has executive platinum status. Right now, I have to buy them for $40 a pop or use miles. As an EP, I don’t earn them since all my upgrades are free for myself.
  • It’s kind of cool to have status at that age.

Reasons why status may not matter for an 11-year-old

  • Chances are she’s flying with me anyway so would just upgrade on my status.
  • She doesn’t fly enough to make use of it.

So take my 11-year-old on a mile run or no?

I considered all those items when I thought about whether or not it would be worth it to take a quick trip somewhere before the end of the year. Being able to save to buy those upgrades could be a good reason!

Problem 1: I can’t fly anywhere for $75 from Cedar Rapids and would look at at least $200-$300 and that times two since I’m with her. There are reasons that make mileage runs worth it, but I wasn’t quite getting there for her here.

Item to look at No. 2: Would she even be flying enough in 2019? Didn’t look like it. I wasn’t planning on taking her to Europe as this was the year I would take her sister to see relatives. Her next Europe trip may be in 2020 – at which time the status would already have expired.

She has one booked and paid trip to Cancun, Mexico. And another trip booked on miles for the two of us to attend Vidcon in Anaheim.

So she doesn’t have many trips to earn miles.

Conclusion

I decided that it wasn’t worth dropping $500 or more to get her to Gold Status. She’ll earn miles slower, but she’s also only doing one paid trip this year so chances are she won’t earn any 500-mile upgrades anyway.