How I’m Justifying Mileage Running for AA Executive Platinum Status

I’ve written before about my dilemma on whether or not I should mileage run for American Airlines Executive Platinum status, and I pretty much concluded that it’s not really rational for me to do so. I would be booking incremental (i.e. not already planned/largely unnecessary) trips to get the status, and since I don’t have any plans to fly American next year and I already have two international trips booked using miles, I would likely be booking incremental travel next year just so that I could take advantage of the status. Yeah, doesn’t seem rational at all.

Except for the fact that my utility function doesn’t have to be rational. Just as I argued that it can be rational to play the lottery, I think it can be rational for me to mileage run to get status, provided that I’m deriving more utility from the incremental trips booked than I would from using that money and time otherwise. This starts to sound more feasible when I consider that travel–and this whole miles and points game generally–has become one of my primary sources of entertainment. While other people spend their money on Starbucks or alcohol or clothing, I buy airline tickets and Vanilla Reloads.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be doing this if the mileage runs I had planned were multiple same-day turns to somewhere in the US where I didn’t leave the airport. Although I find the act of air travel to be remarkable, I think it’d be truly irrational of me to mileage run 30k miles this year, then feel obliged to mileage run 100k next year, and never once step foot outside of an airport while doing so. But since I’m booking trips to countries that I’ve yet to visit and I’ll have some (albeit quite limited) time on the ground in both countries, I view this as a good excuse for me to travel more.

I’ve never regretted taking a trip, so it’s kinda good to have something to compel me to travel more, even if it’s superficial like airline status. But I’ll know when I’m traveling too much when either my boss reprimands me for never being at work or I stop looking forward to my next trip. But until either of these happens, I think I’ve done a good job of convincing myself that it’s rationally irrational for me to mileage run to Executive Platinum status.

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