United Airlines abolishes minimums to mileage earning

The day of airline corner cutting is upon us. United Airlines just announced that they reduced the minimum miles that you can earn on a flight to the actual flown distance. Let me explain:

Until now, most fares that you booked that were under 500 miles as the crow flies were automatically rounded up to earn 500 miles for each flight. The perk was created to award the poor saps who have to fly short distances frequently over the course of a year — for example, if you had to fly from Detroit to Chicago and back every week for work, its only about 250 miles one way or 500 round trip. Rounding up though, you would get 1000 miles/trip, meaning every 25 itineraries you would be able to redeem an award for a 25,000 mile ticket.

Similarly, if you’re connecting from Flint – Detroit – Chicago, you would get 500 + 500 miles.

But under these new rules, you would only earn miles as for the exact distance you flew. So on the first Detroit-Chicago itinerary you would get 250 miles one way and on the second route you would get 40 + 250. Cool huh?

United is the first legacy carrier to break rank and start scooping into its mileage program. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the carriers slowly fell, much as they all did with the extra bag policy.

Expect mileage accrual to change July 1. Between now and then you can check out United’s new policy here and weep at the loss of another great frequent flying perk.

Credit for the ironic picture of the day goes to Jason McHuff on Flickr.