Mileage Run Istanbul: American Airlines 14,234 EQMs for $928

by Marc Cain     

While not the best EQMs for the buck, IST was certainly a bucket list destination.  But for a few extra dollars why not enjoy the run.  It also gave us a chance to stay at our sister club, the Soho Istanbul.

The routing chosen for this trip was designed to maximize EQMs on American. The following options from Chicago were available:

  • ORD – IST  the non-stop on Turkish Air = 10,982 RT miles and 0 EQMs on American.
  • ORD – LHR – IST = 11,036 EQMs round trip on American (LHR – IST on BA).
  • ORD – DFW – LHR – IST = 14,234 a whopping 3,198 more EQMs on American

Here is how the trip fell into place:

Flight #2349 ORD-DFW provided the shortest layover in Dallas and it was on the 787.  We were upgraded a 4 days before the flight due to my Executive Platinum status on American.  Gotta say I love those business class seats on the 787.

Flight #78 was an actual AA flight (sadly on a 777-200).  We chose this flight because it would allow us control over the premium seats and the ability to use SWU if we chose to waste one on AA’s 777-200 (the business class seats suck).  Have to say this flight was one of the worst flights I have had traveling on American.  Nothing worked right.  The entertainment system was a complete mess.  The plane was filthy dirty.  The flight attendants spent the entire flight yelling at each other across 5 seats so no one could sleep – they also were all in a really bad mood.  The 777-200 is the worst AA plane to get stuck on when traveling international.  Bitter, party of two.

Flight #6465 gave us the opportunity to experience a BA flight and to layover using the BA First lounge in Terminal 5.  They offered me an upgrade to business class for £159.  Something I wouldn’t do again – but got to chat with interesting seat mates.  BA business class on these shorter flights are just regular seats with a tray table blocking off the middle seat.  Certainly not worth the money to me to do again.

I had a little time at LHR to check out the different lounges I had access to.  The AA Admirals Club (sad), the two clubs offered as part of my Amex card and Ritz card by Priority Pass (not bad), and the British Airways First Class Lounge (Aaaamazing).  The BA Lounge had me with the Champagne Bar and kept me with the Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch and yes it was all free!

Don’t forget to check out the Flight Miles calculator when planning your mileage runs, or download the iPhone App.


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