United Airlines makes big changes to its frequent flier program

United Airlines is making a sweeping change to its Mileage Plus frequent-flier program, saying customers will soon earn miles based on the fare they pay, not how far they fly.

USA Today reported that United becomes the second of the big “legacy” carriers to make such a change, following the lead of Delta. It was in February that Delta said it would tie frequent-flier miles to the cost of a ticket.

Low-cost carriers — including Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America — already employ a “revenue-based” system of earning frequent-flier points. But Delta’s change, which launches Jan. 1, has been viewed as a fundamental shift among the three big network carriers that control much of the domestic U.S. market.

You can read the entire article here. And another story by Bloomberg Business Week shares an interesting aspect of United’s change: Mileage collectors will now be able to use miles to buy access to seats with more legroom on individual flights and checked baggage subscriptions. It furthers the airline’s effort to make miles a form of currency, more widely used than they are today.

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About Shelley Seale

Shelley is a wanderer and student of the world, yoga chick, voracious reader and dog lover. She pounds the keyboard as a freelance writer, author and publication designer, based in Austin, Texas when she isn't traipsing around the globe. Shelley has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, The Week, Fodor's, The Telegraph and Texas Monthly, among others. Shelley has performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano, and was once robbed by a monkey in India. But she doesn’t know how to whistle.
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