No more 500 mile minimum credit

US Airways has made a move that is a significant change in the way frequent flyer programs have operated for years: elimination of the 500 mile minimum credit for every flight. Effective May 1, 2008 they will just give te credit for the actual number of miles flown.

On one hand, the number of miles that they will be handing out will drop. More signifncantly, the number of elite passengers will drop, as getting sufficient credit to qualify for each level will now be harder. There may be some real savings there, but the irony is that the cost of those miles is much higher, on average, so the actual savings may not be as much as US thinks they’ll achieve. For ~$650 I can fly a round trip, walk-up fare on the US Shuttle from LaGuardia to Washington, DC. For the same fare I can fly across the country and back. One is 10x more miles than the other, yet US is looking to save the ~600 miles on the Shuttle round trip instead of looking at the 5000 miles for the round trip to the west coast and back.

This is definitely a strange decision to make, and not an area where they probably want to be leading the industry. Still, if others follow the ranks of elite flyers will drop, which is theoretically good for the folks who still manage to qualify.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.