7 Reasons Why I’ll Gladly Fly 900+ Miles Out of the Way to Get to My Final Destination

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Flying from Los Angeles to Nashville with a layover in Seattle might not seem like a desirable itinerary to most folks.  But there’s always a method to my madness when I’m booking a flight.

When you develop a loyalty to an airline, a couple hour detour can actually be very rewarding in the long run.  Plus, add in some credit card benefits, like airport lounge access and free in-flight Wi-Fi, and a longer journey can actually be more enjoyable than a direct flight on an airline you don’t typically fly!

Personally, I’d Rather Fly a Less Direct Route on My Preferred Airline, Which Usually Means a Business Class Upgrade!

I know some folks despise the thought of having a stopover when a non-stop alternative is available.  But here are a few reasons why I sometimes opt for the indirect routing!

1.   Fly in Business Class Instead of Coach

After completing the Alaska Airlines elite status match a couple years ago, I’ve developed significant loyalty to the airline.  And their merger with Virgin America was great news for me because I get to enjoy perks like seat upgrades on more flights.

With MVP Gold status, I find that I’m consistently upgraded to Business Class.  For me, it’s more enjoyable to take 2 flights in Business Class than a direct flight on another airline where I’ll likely be stuck in the middle seat unless I pay some ridiculous seat selection fee.

Alaska Airlines Elite Status Is Much More Rewarding Than My Low-Level Statuses With Other Domestic Airlines

2.   Potentially Earn More Miles

This benefit might only be valid when flying Alaska Airlines, but flying a longer distance means you can earn additional frequent flyer miles to use toward future award flights.  Because Alaska Airlines frequent flyer program is NOT revenue based, like most other domestic airlines.

So even if you book a cheap ticket with Alaska Airlines, you’ll still earn miles based on the distance you fly, which really incentivizes me to take the scenic route if I have time to spare.

Plus, Alaska Airlines miles are extremely valuable because you can use them to book award flights on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific!

3.   Fast Track to Elite Status

Besides earning valuable frequent flyer miles, taking paid flights earns me miles that count toward elite status.  In essence, it’s like a mileage run.

This strategy is working to my advantage this year as halfway through the year I’m halfway toward earning MVP Gold status again.

The Unnecessary Flying Is Necessary in My Mind in Order to Continue My Chase Toward Continued Elite Status!

4.   Free In-Flight Wi-Fi Passes Mean I Can Keep Up With Work!

I have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which means I get 10 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each calendar year.  Plus, I’m a T-Mobile customer, which means I can enjoy a free hour of Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi on Gogo-equipped domestic planes.

So spending more time in the air doesn’t make me feel any less productive.  And if I don’t have any immediate plans once I land in my final destination, it’s likely I can actually get more done while I’m flying.

It’s Easy to Be Productive In the Air When You’ve Got a Card That Offers Free In-Flight Wi-Fi Passes

5.   Enjoy Airport Lounge Access With Certain Credit Cards

My wallet has a few fantastic rewards credit cards that offer airport lounge benefits.  Depending on the length of my layover, I usually have an opportunity to check out the nearest lounge and enjoy a quick snack and cocktail.

Specifically, flying through Seattle is a great option for a layover because they have an AMEX Centurion Lounge.  I find their buffet style meals and craft beer selection to be better than other overpriced airport dining options.

As an AMEX Business Platinum Cardholder, I  Can Enjoy Airport Lounge Access During Layovers, Including Centurion Lounges, Which Have Great Bars!

6.   More Wing Pictures!

I take so many pictures during most flights that my seatmates typically ask me if it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a plane.  I think aviation is so fascinating and the views from the wing can be pretty incredible!

A quick search of ‘airplane wing’ on my Google Photos app reveals thousands of photos.  It’s just another small reason why adding another leg to my itinerary doesn’t bother me.  More flying = more photos!

Thank Goodness for Google Photos Which Sorts All of My Flying Photos!

7.   Save Money on Airfare

This isn’t always the case, but flights with layovers have the potential to be significantly cheaper than non-stop flights.

Specifically, when I was researching flights to Nashville, it was ~$550 for a round-trip non-stop coach ticket on American Airlines or Delta (two airlines I don’t fly often).  Instead, I paid ~$450 for the Alaska Airlines itinerary and got the Business Class upgrades on each leg.

Bottom Line

If I’m not in a hurry to get to my final destination, I actually prefer to book flight itineraries with layovers if it means I can fly Alaska Airlines.  I’ve done this recently on trips to Detroit and Nashville, and enjoyed pleasant layovers in Portland and Seattle.

For me, there are lots of advantages to remaining loyal to Alaska Airlines and flying out of the way.  First, I have MVP Gold status, which means I generally get upgraded to Business Class. Personally, I prefer to take 2 Business Class flights with a quick layover instead of flying in the middle seat on a less rewarding airline.

Combine airline loyalty with credit card perks and the extra flying time isn’t bad at all.  I have several credit cards that offer airport lounge access, which means I can enjoy snacks (or even a meal) and a cocktail during my layover.  And as an AMEX Business Platinum cardholder, I get free in-flight Wi-Fi passes, which means I can be just as productive in the air as I am on the ground.

So am I crazy?  Does anyone else book less desirable itineraries to take advantage of elite status perks?  Let me know in the comments below!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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