The Business Times

United, Delta change reward programmes

From 2015, points to be based on dollars spent, not distance

Published Tue, Jul 8, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[NEW YORK] For airline passengers, rewards programmes may not seem so rewarding any more.

Two of the nation's largest airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, have announced that next year, frequent flyer points will be based on dollars spent on plane tickets rather than distance flown. And while another major carrier, American Airlines, has not announced any change, it is "watching the competitive environment", said Laura Nedbal, a spokeswoman.

Leisure travellers may feel as though they are on the losing side of the changes. Every policy change has winners and losers, and airlines maintain that they are simply catering to customers who generate the most profit.

"These changes are designed to more directly recognise the value of our members when they fly United," said Thomas O'Toole, United's senior vice-president of marketing and loyalty and president of its MileagePlus programme. A Delta spokesman, Anthony Black, said that the company's surveys of customers showed "they understood the change and believed it was fair to reward cus…

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