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Travel Tip: Dollars vs Distance in Earning Frequent Flyer Miles

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There’s800px-Airplane_shadow big news out there about airlines changing loyalty programs to award frequent flyer miles based on how much your ticket costs, not how far you travel…and that’s going to affect many of you.

Delta Air Lines just announced that, starting in 2015, your Delta miles will be earned based on airfares paid. The higher your status, the more points you earn. Translation: Business travelers who pay a premium for unrestricted or last-minute tickets—even on shorter routes—stand to benefit the most. The average Joe who books a cheap ticket to Europe 4 months out? Not so much.

Delta is not the first airline to do this. JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin America all award redeemable miles in relation to airfare. Business class flyers traveling internationally can earn up to 35,000 miles, where it used to be just 10,500. But other travelers stand to earn 60 percent fewer miles when flying the same exact routes.

Plus—no surprise here—the miles you do earn will be harder to redeem. Most airlines are increasing the amount of miles needed for flights.

For more information, visit the Mileage & Reward Programs Archives.

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