SLC Traveler

Mileage runs from ATL

Destination    Route    MQMs Earned    PPM (YMMV*)
5-10k MQMs
Honolulu ATL-SFO-LAX-HNL-LAX-ATL 9,550 $.06
* This is the lowest Price-Per-Mile fare I have been able to find. Getting the cheapest fare requires being flexible, traveling during low seasons and sometimes planning ahead (although at times there are also great last-minute rates if you are able to pickup and go without warning)

"Mileage Running" is the art of taking flights to increase your MQM's (usually in an effort to reach a higher status level). True mileage runners take flights to a destination and take the next flight back as the only purpose is mileage accumulation.

Others choose flights, times and routes based on mileage earning opportunities but want to visit new places and stay for a few days (or even longer). Whether you're a mileage junkie or a world traveler you will quickly learn that you can spend hours with online tools in search of the perfect route.

Price-per-mile
Usually mileage runners are looking for flights offering the cheapest price-per-mile. This can be accomplished by finding routes including special fares, the willingness to deal with multiple layovers and a lot of creativity. I've never personally found anything quite so amazing but mileage runners report finding $.03/mile fares (and sometimes lower). On Delta I am usually pretty happy with a $0.05/mile route.

To find cheap PPM flights you should use ITA Matrix. ITA (owned by Google) gives you a lot more flexibility to search for fares than any other travel site online (indeed this is the data that virtually all online travel agents' systems rely on). If you know the right codes you can force certain fare classes, search multiple airports (either direction) and filter results by lowest price-per-mile.

Fare classes
If you book on Delta.com you will get at least 1 MQM per mile flown. If you book an M, B or Y fare or any business class ticket (including discount business fares) you get a 50% MQM boost (so a 1,000 mile flight will net you 1,500 miles). These premium fares generally don't justify themselves based on MQM's alone for mileage runners since they will increase your ticket fare more than 50% always (usually more like 300-500%) but they can help you fly in business class when flying overseas (read more about Delta international upgrades on M, B and Y fares).