Trim a little here, trim a little there: beginning in July, United will no longer give customers a minimum 500 frequent flyer miles for short trips. The new policy will be to give only the actual trip miles. [Chicago Tribune]

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  1. Trai_Dep says:

    Err, “United”, Ben. :)
    Unless they’re pursuing B&D as a revenue-enhancer. Then, carry on!

  2. I read it as, “A little trim here, a little trim there…” and thought it was going to be much more interesting than it was. (Do people still use that term “trim,” or was that just Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours ?)

  3. What is Untied?

  4. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Got an email from USAirways telling me they’re doing the same thing. Sigh. Can’t ever use them anyway. Now you can’t even earn them.

  5. iMike says:

    Bllrgh.

  6. Kounji says:

    Wow, I can believe it, they’re going to look much more solvent on the books now should be easier to obtain business loans and improve their ratios a bit. Its interesting what the effects will be. Since airlines probably don’t make a ton of money for inflight purchases I’m trying to think if this will effect their bottom line if people fly one or two trips less a year.

  7. Paladin_11 says:

    Worse than this. United has changed the entire award travel fee structure for Mileage Plus, lengthening the days between when you order tickets and when you travel without incurring any fees. It appears that they’ve also gotten into a pattern of only releasing award seats within this window, guaranteeing that you’ll pay the extra fee if you want to fly for “free”. These fees are now quite a bit higher too. Yeah, I know, they can change the rules of the program at any time. But under these new rules the program is now worthless to me. Time to liquidate my miles and be done with them.

  8. azntg says:

    Why bother even maintaining a frequent flyer program? They’ll probably save some money just discontinuing it altogether rather than having to pay for maintaining databases, publications and constantly scheming to screw the customers.

  9. Paladin_11 says:

    They have to maintain the program now because over the years these loyalty schemes have become an economy unto themselves. I know they have to account for them on their balance sheets and I believe court rulings have established that miles have a monetary value. Something the airlines themselves have encouraged by allowing you to buy and trade miles. If they were to close the program they would probably have to pay each member cash for their accrued miles, and I’m sure that’s something they do not want to do. So instead they occasionally adjust the value (or in their case reduce the debit on their balance sheet) by making it harder/more expensive for the consumer to use the program. For instance, by increasing the redemption fee from $30 to $100. Or increasing domestic ticket awards from 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles–both things that United has effectively done with the current changes to the program.