Back when Continental Airlines was an official sponsor of the New York City Marathon, non-elite runners were given the opportunity to purchase (or participate in an auction) for special entry to a VIP tent. I believe the “cost” was five to ten thousand miles. In return, they got the right to hang out before the start of the marathon in a heated tent, with breakfast food and special toilets.
In recent years, I’ve seen the sale of VIP treatment continue with some marathons, such that runners could pay for the right to attend VIP pasta dinners or ride in VIP buses to the start of a marathon or wait in VIP tents.
But I have never seen a program where one could pay for a marathon in miles. Until now. KLM and Air France on their Flying Blue Running website has a program called Run and Miles. In Run and Miles, runners have the opportunity to pay in miles for certain marathons, and receive entry and VIP treatment, including a massage! The website page says:
Would you like to run a marathon and enjoy special VIP treatment? You can now sign up for marathons using your Flying Blue Miles!
Flying Blue Running offers you the unique opportunity to spend your accrued Miles on spectacular marathons. Check back frequently, as we’re always adding new marathons to our selection.
This is the list of current offerings.
|Rock’n’Roll Madrid Marathon||Madrid||28.04.2013||15,000|
|Rock’n’Roll Madrid Half Marathon||Madrid||28.04.2013||10,000|
|Geneva Marathon for Unicef||Geneva||05.05.2013||15,000|
|Geneva Half Marathon for Unicef||Geneva||05.05.2013||10,000|
|Mizuno Half Marathon||Amsterdam||20.10.2013||20,000|
|Amsterdam 8K marathon||Amsterdam||20.10.2013||20,000|
|French Riviera Marathon||Nice||10.11.2013||20,000|
Whether the Run and Miles program is a good deal or not can only be determined on a race-by-race basis.
For example, registration for the Amsterdam Marathon is 65 euros (US $85). Through Run and Miles, it is 25,000 miles. Included is entry to the race, access to KLM’s lounge with baggage check, snacks, beverage and massage. What is not included are flights, transfers, accommodations, and meals beyond what is mentioned above. On analysis, this to me does not seem like a particularly good deal, unless perhaps someone has a lot of miles to spare, or entry to the marathon has closed.
Registration for the Geneva Marathon is 90 Swiss Francs (just under US $100). Through Run and Miles, it is 15,000 miles. Like the Amsterdam Marathon option, this includes race entry, lounge access, snacks, beverages and massage, but not flights or accommodations. Depending on how you value a massage and VIP lounge access, 15,000 miles may in fact be a decent deal for this.
I think its very interesting to see airlines market marathon entries for miles. What do you think of this?