Mileage running to Dubai: it’s a sickness

In just over a month, I’ll be heading to Dubai, UAE for the Dubai Air Show. I’m really excited to be traveling out there (not to mention it was a really good deal), because I’ve never been to Dubai, and the air show is rumored to be pretty awesome. For just a little over $700, I’m flying out of LAX to Dubai — but the trouble is that I live in San Diego. How will I get there? Drive? Train? Nope. Looks like I’m flying San Diego to LAX…via Orlando.

dubai_air_show

November’s Dubai trip is looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I still don’t have a whole lot planned yet (including where I’m going to stay), but I’m excited nevertheless to be heading there. When it’s all said and done, I’ll have earned 18,714 base miles from flying for 20 or so hours each way, plus another 18,714 miles because of my status with United. What does that mean? 37,428 miles by the time I get home, or more than enough for one-way saver flight to London from San Diego.

The easy part: getting to Dubai

To get to Dubai, I’ll be taking a flight from LAX to Washington Dulles (which also has a direct flight from San Diego, but it was around $400 more at the time) to Dubai – but that also means somehow getting to LAX by 9am for that flight.

dubai-itinerary

My trip to Dubai means I have to fly out of LAX, even though I still connect at Washington Dulles.

 

The hard part: getting to LAX

While Adam’s written about taking the train to LAX, being at the airport at 8am for a 9am flight just wouldn’t work. It’s two hours via train plus another hour by shuttle to the airport. Not gonna happen.

Another option? Drive. Leaving at 5am, I could make it to the airport by 8am. Still ugly, and there’s a good chance I’ll run into traffic along the two-hour+ drive. Not gonna happen.

Or fly. Looking at fares today, flying San Diego to LAX is roughly $220 on United. I’ve seen worse, but it would be an easier trip since San Diego International Airport is an 8-minute drive from my house. Or, I could use 9000 British Airways Avios + $5 to fly that 22-minute American Eagle flight (American Airlines’ commuter wing). Now that’s a good deal.

BA-SAN_LAX

Often, a good deal can be found using BA Avios miles to fly short distances. For instance, San Diego to LAX is 9000 points and $5.

 

San Diego to LAX – via Orlando?

Or the other option: I’ve been meaning to see some friends in Orlando for a while now, and fares are usually pretty reasonable from San Diego. With advanced purchase (now-ish), I can find fares to Orlando for the low $300s, netting me around 11,000 points, and dropping me off in LA the day before my flight. I’d still have to find a way home from LAX when I get back from Dubai and stay the night in LA, but at 4500 Avios and $5, I don’t see this as a problem.

Now, it might sound crazy to fly to Orlando for a couple days just to fly cross-country just to fly across the planet, but for some of us, it’s almost a sickness. There are more efficient ways to earn points and miles by far (most include signing up for credit cards with good bonuses attached), but they’re not as fun. For a reasonable $300 to fly transcon to see some old friends and dropping me off before I need to fly out of LA – putting me over the top for a free round-trip flight to Europe, I might just do it.

mco_flight

San Diego-Orlando-LAX, 4,960 base miles (9,920 with United 1K status), for $337 — and flying to LA on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (assuming I’d make that tight connection).

 

It’s a sickness

I admit: I’ve got a mileage problem. But when it comes down to it, $1000 for just shy of 50,000 miles isn’t bad – that boils down to 2.1 cents per mile. And better, when that means my next trip to Europe is paid for (probably Spring 2014) with the other existing miles I have on hand, that’s worth even more: it’s downright priceless.

SAN – ORD – MCO – IAH – LAX – IAD – DXB – IAD – LAX – SAN. Wow. That’s a lot of flying for a week.