Lately, we’ve seen all of the buzz over the United Airlines revenue based frequent flyer program come 2015. While I’m not going to recap the changes to that program, in summary, they are inline with the same Delta revenue requirements they set for the same year.
So, that brings up the interesting question: Would you rather earn status off of miles flown or dollars spent?
The argument for miles: Miles are the easier way to earn status, especially for the cheaper flyer who knows how to find mileage runs. Miles often also benefit short distance flyers, who shuttle between close city pairs such as DC and NY, due to the fact that mileage earnings rates usually have minimum earning thresholds, or can earn status based on segments flown. If you’re willing to spend an entire weekend up in the airing flying back and forth between the US and China, or across the pond on that cheap business class ticket which earns you 1.5x the miles, this is the earning way for you. Traditionally, the longer you flew, the more expensive the ticket. While that still holds true today in some aspects, there are so many deals to be had, and ways to “game the system” that often the shortest flight can now be the most expensive.
The argument for money: We all know it usually comes down to the money. When we spend more, we want to be rewarded more. When we pay more, we always want more bang for our buck, and always want to know that our dollar has gone the extra mile. While some value the dollar differently in comparison to elite status, for flyers who fly based on corporate accounts, or company credit cards, money is usually no object, and it’s fairly easy to obtain status, and elite qualifying miles…and those employers whose company’s pay cash for that JFK to LAX business class round-trip certainly want to take advantage.
So that begs the question: Miles or Dollars? Which would you rather be rewarded on?
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