Let me clarify the scenario. I am a stay-at-home mom with a retired hubby. We have a lot of time and some money to work with. We like to travel once or twice a year, long trips to Africa or Asia. Of course, we would prefer to go business class, but the full fare is not worth it. So, enter mileage runs. In January I find a 20K mileage run that costs, say, $800. I do the run. In February I see the same opportunity, as I do in March and April. Come May, I have reached Platinum status because I have topped 75K miles. My outlay has been $3200-. Not enough to get me to Africa from USA. So, I make 3 more MRs and now my total is 140K miles, enough to get me to Africa r/t business class. But I have spent $5800- in earning the miles to get me my business class r/t tix to Africa. That's almost the price of the full fare business class tix I would have purchased in the first place, without having to make a bunch of MRs. The only way I can see this would work to our (hubby and my) benefit is if we started with an initial cash outlay of, say, $10,000. We decide that this year we are going to travel, and our destinations will be dependent upon the best MRs. In January a MR to, say Istanbul comes up. So we both hop on it and go to Ist for 5 days--after all, it's on our bucket list. Then in February a good MR to Lima comes up, and we take that, and in our 4 days we do a side trip to Cuzco, Machu Picchu. In March a MR comes up to Singapore, one of our fave spots, and we spend a week there....on and on. By June we will have earned enough miles to go to Africa business class on an award, and not only that, future travel (MRs) for the remainder of the year will eligible for an upgrade. So, future MRs will be less painful on the tailbone and miles will be more easily earned. As long as we have enough of a cash kitty to continue traveling, we'll be okay. [Note, I am not including cc mile awards with this] Do I have it correctly? It's a snowball effect, more or less---you gotta start with some snow to make the snowball in the first place, but the more you roll it, the larger it grows? And if you stop rolling the snowball eventually melts? I've traveled all over the world (for pleasure) and I'm as savvy as they come to saving money on land;I have a 'Founding Member' tee shirt from Trip Advisor and I've been reading ff boards for a few years now, but I think I'm missing something here. Thanks!