Frequent-flyer points, not born free, soon to be priced higher

MonopolyMoney.jpgAs the airlines convert frequent flyer miles to cash, selling them to their credit-card partners, they’re also making it more expensive for you to cash in your frequent-flyer miles and turn them into free seats on flights.

The points were never free, but now the carriers are imposing fees for most transactions. Delta is doing this, Northwest does it, and so will US Airways. Now American has quietly begun raising the miles you need to redeem AAdvantage points, as of October 1. To upgrade by using miles will also cost you some extra cash if you booked on a discounted economy class fare. Domestic upgrades are 15,000 Miles plus a $50 charge (which American calls a ‘co-payment’) while most internatiol flights are 25,000 plus a $350 payment. This is on top of some changes the airline made in May, including a $5 booking fee.

headshot.jpgUS Airways is also ending a long practice of giving bonus points on miles to its elite DividendMiles members, points on top of the regular points. Randy Petersen (left), the frequent-flyer expert who runs the travel forum, has sparked a consumer protest on a website he’s created, It contains a petition asking US Airways to bring back the bonus miles, and several thousand people have signed it.

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6 Responses to Frequent-flyer points, not born free, soon to be priced higher

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