YOUR MONEY-Rethinking airline points strategy with the Points Guy

Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:59am EDT
 
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By Mitch Lipka

July 30 (Reuters) - Earning and using airline miles used to be simple. Fly 25,000 miles and earn a free flight. It is not so simple anymore.

The process of redeeming miles is changing in a way that makes it more difficult for all but elite flyers to earn rewards.

One key change: Delta Air Lines' announcement in mid-July that its SkyMiles rewards will be based on what you spend, rather than on the distance you travel, and the cost will be based on demand rather than a fixed amount.

Experts like Brian Kelly, known as The Points Guy (thepointsguy.com/), expect more major airlines to follow suit.

To help sort out the changes to the miles game, Reuters asked Kelly for his advice for travelers to best take advantage of widely varying airline loyalty programs.

Q: Are airlines suddenly being less loyal to their loyal customers?

A: The real answer is that loyalty is being redefined.

In the past it used to be that whoever flew the most was the most loyal, but airlines are now saying it's whoever spends the most.   Continued...