Over the past two years, two major U.S. airlines, Delta and United, have revamped their frequent flyer mileage program to not only make it harder to earn miles, but also harder to redeem them.
Both airlines went to a fare-based mileage program where you earn miles not based on how far you flew, but on how much you paid for your ticket.
Now, as I predicted, American Airlines is following suit.
As of August 1, its mileage program will base miles earned on ticket price.
The American Airlines program, which has about 100 million members, will award passengers with no mileage status five miles per dollar spent on tickets.
The number of those miles awarded will increase based on the passenger’s elite status.
Gold members will get seven miles per dollar and Executive Platinum members will get 11 miles.
But then the other shoe drops on January 1, 2017.
The airlines will add minimum annual spending levels.
Members must meet the minimum to get to that elite status the following year.
Want to be gold? Spend at least $3,000.
Platinum? Fork out $6,000 annually.
Now, how about redeeming those miles? That’s not getting any easier either.
So if you’ve got miles, think as far as 330 days ahead, be flexible, and plan now.
It’s only going to get tougher.