Breaking Down Two Mileage Runs for 30,000 EQMs to get AA Executive Platinum
Getting a Chinese Visa
Planning a Mileage Run to Shanghai
Vegetarian Economy Meals on American Airlines
Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Shanghai
Eating in Shanghai
Getting a Chinese Massage aka Tui Na
First Class Lounge (No. 69) Shanghai Pudong PVG
Concluding Thoughts on My Mileage Run to Shanghai
I’ll stop with posts about this promotion soon, I promise. But I thought I’d share my specific plans to get 30,000 EQMs by the end of the year to get American Airlines Executive Platinum status.
Since I have a full-time job, minimizing time outside of the office is one of my primary concerns. I also don’t currently have any status on American, so I’d prefer longer, international trips to shorter domestic ones as I won’t yet get any complimentary upgrades on those domestic segments. Together, this means that I was looking to take as few trips as possible over weekends to international destinations.
My first search was for Shanghai. I’m based out of SFO, and SFO-ORD-PVG and back is over 17,000 miles, which gets me well over halfway to the goal of 30,000 miles. There were fares for $1044, or just under 6 cents per mile, and thanks to a generous FTer, I was able to use a 10% off promo code to get it down to $948. I’ll have 26 hours on the ground in Shanghai and miss only a single day of work.
I still need to apply for a Chinese visa, which costs $140, but I figure that I can amortize that cost over the trips I’m sure I’ll take to China next year. For lodging, there are a large number of options, but if I want to minimize my out-of-pocket expenses, there are a couple of Shanghai hotels on the latest Points Break list, which means I could get a night for only 5,000 Priority Club points (roughly $35).
With only 13,000 miles needed to get to 30,000, there are a lot of destinations that would supply sufficient mileage from SFO like almost anywhere in Europe or Asia that’s not Great Britain. I ended up choosing Helsinki, partly because there were fares for a little over $800 or just over 6 cents per mile, but also because it’s another city I’ve yet to visit and I have a couple of friends who’ve been there recently and enjoyed the city. I’ll be flying SFO-JFK-HEL, but unfortunately, the JFK-HEL segment is a codeshare operated by Finnair, so the 10% off AA promo codes don’t apply.
No visa is needed for Finland for US citizens, so no extra costs there. I’ll have about 2.5 days in Helsinki and miss one day of work (the other day I’d miss is Veteran’s Day), so I’ll need 2 nights of lodging. I haven’t figured out exactly what I’m going to do, but I think I might apply for the US Bank Club Carlson (FT link) credit card in my next round of credit card applications, which would enable me to get 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel or Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel for only 44,000 points since the second night would be free thanks to the credit card.
So in total, I’ll visit two new cities in two weekend trips to get Executive Platinum status for next year. The airfare was about $1800, the Chinese visa will be $140, I’ll probably spend about 50k hotel points for three nights of lodging, and I’ll miss two days of work. I’ll also end up netting about 45,000 redeemable miles, which I might conservatively value at around $700. All in all, seems like a pretty great deal, no?