New Charges with Frequent Flier Programs
If you are using frequent flier miles for a summer vacation, celebrate your good timing. Soon, most major airlines will charge a fee to redeem your frequent flier miles. This is part of a growing list of new fees that airlines are using to offset the rising cost of fuel.
Here are some frequent flier processing fees on a per ticket basis:
* In June, American Airlines started charging $5.
* Starting August 6, US Airways will charge $25 for domestic flights and to Canada, $35 to Mexico and the Caribbean, $50 to Hawaii and international destinations.
*Starting August 14, Delta will charge $25 for domestic flights, $50 for all other destinations.
The airlines are having such financial difficulty and are fighting for their survival. Don’t expect the charges and changes to end here. Delta will soon announce changes to their reward program. Don’t be surprised if they increase the mileage requirements for free tickets. If one carrier starts this, the others will quickly follow.
Extra fees aren’t the only changes that are affecting frequent fliers. Airlines are also cutting back flights and reducing seating capacity, which will make it harder to use your miles. This is a good time to shop around to find a reward card that includes a variety of rewards, not just airline miles. There are good reward cards available with low rates that do not charge an annual fee such as Miles by Discover, Merrill+ Card, Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards, and Bank of America cards with Worldpoints.