$850 for airfare
$30 for public transportation
$160 for food and incidentals
44k points for two nights at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Helsinki (let’s say this was about $40, considering that the annual fee for the credit card is $75)
26,812 American Airline miles (13,406 flown miles plus 100% bonus for being AA Platinum)
10,000 AA miles as a reward for passing the first elite rewards threshold (this was completely unintentional but a nice bonus)
4 500-mile upgrades
And of course, Executive Platinum status, which comes with 8 system-wide upgrades
Total: The miles are worth at least $550 to me; the 500-mile upgrades are mostly moot since I now have Executive Platinum status; Executive Platinum status is of unknown benefit, but even if I don’t fly AA at all next year, I can “trade” the 8 SWUs for at least $200 each (not that I’m saying that I would do this)
I’d never really gone on mileage runs prior to my trips to Shanghai and Helsinki (and I guess these weren’t “true” mileage runs since I did spend time on the ground, albeit relatively short times), but I’m glad that I went, even ignoring the benefit of hitting Executive Platinum status on AA. It was great to explore two new cities, and I’d love to return to both places (although I hope the next time I go to Finland it’s warmer, as the city felt pretty dead in November).
All told, the two mileage runs cost about $2300. In return, I reached Executive Platinum status and received just over 70,000 redeemable miles, which I value at over $1000. I’m excited to see the benefits of AA ExPlat, and I’ve already had a system-wide upgrade clear for a trip to Lima that I have planned in January.