Find your mileage runs with Mileagebrain

It’s never too soon to start planning out your frequent flyer miles earnings, and there’s a new tool out on the interwebs to help you along the way.

The concept of mileage running, to refresh you, has to do with earning *just enough* miles to achieve certain levels of status with a particular airline. If I, fancyeditor of Gadling, for example, fly 97,426 miles on American Airlines in one year, then it actually behooves me to fly another 2,574 to reach 100,000 miles and all of the rewards therein.

What sort of rewards, you ask? Well in this case, 100,000 miles on American Airlines earns me eight system wide upgrades (ie: pay $1200 for a ticket to India and then upgrade to business class, a $12,000 ticket off the shelf) priority boarding, exemption from a full range of fees and a little plastic Executive Platinum card that I can wave menacingly at other passengers.

Anyhow, mileage running is a necessary evil for many frequent travelers, and until now, finding a route to exactly fit the miles you need at the lowest price was a manual endeavour. Draw a circle 1,287 (2,574 divided by two) around your departure airport then find the least expensive ticket outside of that window.

The new robot over at MileageBrain takes much of that manual computation out. All one needs to do to find a good run is plug in departure airport, length of travel and favorite airline — the crawler then automatically finds routes that are the least expensive “per mile”.

Mileagebrain is still in its alpha release and so there’s lots of improvements still coming down the line. Plugging in O’Hare, on American Airlines, for example, yields several routes for over 40 cents a mile (yikes!) but with time and some patience the service often pulls up interesting fares.

You can check the development discussion over at the MileageBrain flyertalk thread. If you want to know more about the art of mileage running, check out Gadling’s guide from 2007.