What Price 2,000 Miles?

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

What Price 2,000 Miles?

Million Mile SecretsWhat Price 2,000 Miles?Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.


I like to think that I value my time more than collecting miles.

That means that I don’t mileage run (take flights just to earn elite qualifying miles for status or redeemable miles for award travel).  I also factor in my time when evaluating miles and points deals, which explains my preference for earning miles and points with credit cards.

But a recent conversation with Emily had me thinking if that was really true.

Emily was booking business travel to Washington, DC and called me to run her hotel and flights by me.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Emily:  Hi hon!  Just wanted to run my DC trip by you.

Daraius (thinking):  Great!  I wonder how many miles and points we can squeeze out of this trip!

Daraius:  Sure!  What have you got planned?

Emily:  I want to fly on Frontier airlines to Washington Reagan airport.  And…

Daraius (thinking):  Frontier airlines?  Why on earth would she do that?  We probably have only 2,000 or 3,000 miles with Frontier, which I’m guessing we earned by signing up for frequent flyer accounts or for signing up for email from Frontier.

What are we going to do with an extra 2,000 Frontier miles?  I’d much rather her fly United or US Air and earn miles which are more useful to us.

Daraius:  (interrupting)..but honey, doesn’t United have a direct (emphasizing direct) flight to Washington, Dulles?  Isn’t that what you took last time?  And what about US Air?

Emily:  Frontier flies directly to Washington Reagan and that’s closer to my hotel.  US Air has a stop over and takes more time.

Daraius (thinking):  So what if it is further from the hotel.  The longer cab ride means more miles for us because she’s going to get double points by paying for it with her Chase Sapphire Preferred!

And the stopover will also get us more miles!

Daraius:  Isn’t it more expensive to fly into Reagan?!

Emily:  Actually, they are both about the same.

Daraius (thinking):  She’s probably right.  Saving time matters more than earning miles on United or US Air.  And I can always top off the Frontier account with a credit card application.

Daraius:  But…Ok, honey, that makes sense.  Why don’t you book it if you’re sure you want to fly Frontier.

What would I do?

I was reflecting on this conversation later on, and was wondering what I would have done.

Would I have taken the direct flight on Frontier to Washington Reagan airport and saved time since the hotel was closer, but earned miles on an airline which I’m unlikely to fly often.

Or would I have taken the flight to Washington Dulles airport and earned miles in my preferred airline and had a longer ride to the hotel (also earning more miles)?

I’d like to think that my rational self would have prevailed since 2,000 miles is clearly not worth sacrificing a lot of time for, but the conversation above leaves me unsure.  I don’t believe (looks sheepish) that I was hoping that my wife would waste 1 or 2 hours over a measly 2,000 miles!

All I can say is that I’m glad I’m able to talk things through with Emily and see how some of my instincts to earn miles and points can be a huge waste of time and counter productive.  This is not the first time she’s stopped me from doing silly things!

What would you do, wise readers?  Vote in the poll below!

[poll id=”4″]

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 33,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Regarding Dulles, it is inconvenient, but there are several options (as long as you don’t have an extremely early or late flight):

1) There’s the 5A bus which runs from L’enfant Plaza through Rosslyn and Tysons (and I think Herndon too) to Dulles

2) I think there is a shuttle that goes from West Falls Church too, not 100% sure on that one

Also, regarding security lines…yea they are terrible. However, there is a “secret” checkpoint at Dulles where the wait is usually no more than 10 minues, that I definitely recommend you look up if you are flying through there… 🙂

I just wanted to thank you for this blog Darius. I read this…what are these, “articles?” a couple of days ago and it was still rolling around in the back of my mind when I was trying to make reservations for a business trip today. I was planning to get a Southwest RT ticket from KC to Minneapolis to build points towards Companion Pass and A-List despite there being no direct flights on SW and direct flights being available through other airlines. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about how much sense your policy of not doing “mileage runs” and other time-wasters just to get a few extra points made.

Long story short, I went with the direct flight. I’ll get better sleep before my meeting, am less likely to put my co-workers out with a different schedule, and will be less travel-weary all-around as well. Just wanted to say thanks and I thought you might enjoy a real-life example of how your blog can make a difference even beyond the sharing of mile and point bargains.

Million Mile Secrets

@ilovetocount – Thanks for your kind words and for sharing the story! I enjoyed reading it and glad you did what made the most sense for you (and your co-workers).

The cookies were divine!! They tasted fresh out of the oven. It was my first time flying Frontier and it was such a nice surprise.

I also liked their back to front boarding system. It makes so much sense and boarding was a breeze.

I live in Northern Virginia and only fly from Dulles if I’m traveling internationally. Reagan is just so much more convenient to everything and usually the prices are comparable. The downside is that Frontier is in Reagan’s A terminal, which is pretty dingy and only has one sit-down restaurant and no club lounge.

I personally take a direct flight whenever I can. Plus you forgot to factor in the cookies on Frontier!

i dont see closing date i just see due date of march 5th, what date should i change to?

Million Mile Secrets

@Rachel – Ha! I’ll take cookies over peanuts any day of the week!

@jimmy – If this is your 1st statement, just call Chase and ask them when your statement closes. You’ll get the points a few days later (assuming you completed the minimum spending)

Load more