Something else to bear in mind is that for each segment you fly, something could potentially go wrong. I mean this in the best possible way; any one of your flights could be overbooked and you could take a 300$ voucher to take the next trip home. Weather could cause delays, resulting in a reroute through another city and additional miles. It’s important to remember that once you book an itinerary its the airlines’ responsibility to fulfill those flights. If your trip gets disrupted due to weather, mechanical or (their) logistical problems, they need to help you get home. Just be flexible in your options on your routing and you should be in good shape.
Finally, try to keep an open mind and be friendly when you’re mileage running; you don’t realize how long of a day your crew is working until you run into them twice in the same day. Last time I flew into Phoenix on a job I ran into the city, had two beers with a friend, turned around came back. Once I grabbed my same seat in the same plane returning back to Detroit, I looked around to find another four people from my flight out. We all had a chuckle, shared a couple of stories and promptly fell asleep for the long redeye home.
If you’ve done everything right, you’ll hate yourself for a few hours once you get back home to your bed. You should be tired of travel, dealing with airlines, turbulence and sitting upright. You should miss your significant other, your 450 thread count sheets and walking barefoot through the kitchen. But once your miles post, your status is upgraded and you start to earn enough miles to take the family out on vacation next spring, you’ll think about the time you put into earning these rewards. And then you’ll know that your investment was worthwhile.