Let's get this straight. Our trip to Singapore is not a classic FlyerTalk Mileage Run, which includes an immediate turn-around for the return flight. So how will we earn 18,252 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) on United Airlines during our first trip of 2010, from Seattle to San Francisco to Tokyo Narita to Singapore and back again?
We fly SEA-SFO (678 EQM) 7:26 a.m. January 12, arriving after 2 hours 24 minutes of flying at 9:50 a.m. We'll then walk over to the international terminal on the new walkway, stopping by the International RCC before boarding a flight for NRT that departs at 11:28 a.m. We arrive in NRT at 3:30 p.m. January 13, after a flight of 11 hours 2 minutes (5124 EQM).
We'll stop by the NRT RCC and its amazing beer machine before the flight to Singapore at 5:50 p.m. That will add another 3324 EQM over 7 hours 30 minutes, and we'll arrive at SIN after about 21 hours of flying at 12:20 a.m. January 14 with 9126 EQM in our Mileage Plus account.
The mileage on the return trip is the same, not affected by our stopping over in Tokyo for a couple of days. With the 100% mileage bonus, we'll land back in Seattle with a total of 18,252 miles in our account.
Here's the pleasant catch, and the motivation for maintaining our status. We're flying in domestic First Class and international Business Class all the way. Even if we weren't members of United's Red Carpet Club, we'd have access as Star Alliance Golds on an international itinerary. As long we maintain our 1K status, we have a very good chance of upgrading long flights such as these.
No, it's not exactly like crossing the continent in a covered wagon.