Okay, we're exaggerating, but only to make the point.
This trip started when Kathy found us a bargain fare YVR-MSP. The $88 base price added up to about $153 all-in. Flying YVR-DEN-MSP-SFO-YVR will add 4179 Elite Qualifying Miles to our Mileage Plus accounts. With our 100% bonus as 1Ks, we'll each have a total of about 8300 miles in our account for this quick trip.
Since we flew in F, there were no meal costs on the ground. Our $75 stay at the MSP Airport Hilton was a "bed-and-breakfast" rate that included a full buffet breakfast. The hotel shuttle to the airport and the Mall of America are free of charge.
It's been a pleasant outing and, in return, we're 4000 miles closer to the prize we covet: Million Mile status on UA. As well, we've earned enough miles to cover about 1/3 of a domestic saver award ticket, and Brian will officially requalify for 2011 1K status by the time we get off in YVR. Kathy's already 1K for 2011 due to the UA flights she's bought on her UA Visa card.
It's a tough job earning points, but somebody gets to do it.