Mileage Plus Sucks

Arghhh.  Why is it that my frequent flyer account reminds me of my stock portfolio when the dot.coms busted?  Last Thursday I received an email from United Airlines “Announcing new benefits and changes to your Mileage Plus program.” 

Well, the benefits were merely lipstick for a very ugly pig: United is increasing the amount of miles necessary for award travel.  Starting in October, trips will cost an average of 20% more miles; this means that the value of my Mileage Plus portfolio, and yours, has just decreased by the same amount. 

I have a decent amount of miles in my account that will offset this increase, but the irony is that the only reason I still have these miles is because I can rarely cash them in.  I’ve only been able to get frequent flyer seats once in the last five years; all the other times I’ve tried, there were no seats available.  In fact, just last night I tried booking tickets to Europe.  Naturally there weren’t any frequent flier seats available so I was forced to purchase a British Air flight instead.  If this keeps up, my miles will be like Yugoslav dinars in the 1990s where you had to knock off the last six zeros to figure out the true value of a note. 

Columnist Joe Brancatelli is equally irate with United and has penned an informative rant on  He walks us through some of the math and explains how United is screwing its most loyal customers with these changes.