The definition of a pure mileage run varies slightly but generally it is defined as getting from point A to point B for the sole purpose of earning frequent flier miles for the least amount of money possible. I’d like to purpose a new term, a Medical Mileage Run where the sole purpose is to offset the cost of your trip by saving on well-researched (even referred) dental, medical, or optical services.
Now, I’ve done my share of mileage runs, flying across the world for nothing more than to pad my frequent flier account, achieve top airline status, and have a little fun while in transit (love those first class lounges!). My mileage runs have since expanded into World in a Weekend adventures where I travel as far as I can to earn some miles and spend a day in a foreign city. While I still do my World in a Weekend trips, I’ve recently been working to incorporate medical, dental, and optical services into my short jaunts to these foreign destinations. Here’s why:
On a short cruise last year I overheard the crew discussing their dental appointments at the next cruise port. They were getting teeth cleaning, x-rays, and the exam for $20. The port happened to be Cozumel.
A relative had two crowns, teeth cleaning/whitening, and a filing for around $700. The work was completed by an English speaking dentist trained in the United States. The dentist’s office was in Cabo San Lucas.
A friend broke her glasses while in Hong Kong and found she could obtain an eye exam and new designer glasses for a fraction of what she would have spent in the United States and she picked them up the next day.
While in Turkey, I came down with Bells Palsy and asked to be taken to a doctor; I ended up at a high end pharmacy. I had a consultation with the doctor on premises, received a supply of steroids, an anti inflammatory, and pain medication for a total of the equivalent of seven U.S. dollars. When I returned to my local doctor, he told me that the Turkish doctor was spot on with his diagnosis and treatment.
Another friend has been researching Lasik eye surgery in India where she plans to go later this year. The $500 price tag (both eyes) by a specialist who has been doing multiple procedures a day and comes highly recommended is far less than the average cost of $3,160 for both eyes reported by Refractive Surgery News (lasiksurgerynews.com) one would pay for a standard Lasik procedure in the United States.
While surgery and other major procedures fall under the category of medical tourism and may require extended stays at the foreign destination, I can still see the benefit of adding basic services such as routine dental, optical, and even dermatology to my long weekend trips. When I know I am going to have enough time in a city to schedule any of these services, I’m going to give it a try. Getting dentistry in Costa Rica, seeing a dermatologist in Mexico, having my eyes examined and purchasing glasses/contacts in Hong Kong, and getting a complete annual physical in Bangkok just seems appropriate for a mileage run lifestyle.
Endless information is available on this topic from several resources. Some are listed below:
Have you taken advantage of having medical, dental, or optical services done on a quick trip outside of the United States?
Christine Krzyszton lives in Northern Michigan and has been writing about her weekend adventures for over five years for weekly newsletters, a baby boomer blog and a regional men’s magazine. She is the author of How to see the World in a Weekend, available in print and KINDLE on Amazon.com. Christine currently has top status with three major airlines (AA, UA, and DL) and is working on a fourth (A3).