Airlines Change Frequent Flyer Programs to Reward Credit Card Spending

Airlines are tweaking their frequent flyer programs to reward those who spend more on their credit cards.

United Airlines will make it easier to earn elite status through its credit cards, which are operated by Chase. Starting in 2024, United Airlines credit owners will receive 25 qualifying points for every $500 spent. This marks a significant upgrade from the current rules, which give customers 500 points for every $12,000 spent.

Delta Airlines courted controversy after announcing it would tighten the criteria for its customers to earn frequent flyer status. The change focused on how much money a customer spent on Delta flights. Delta also began limiting access to its lounges for premium credit card holders; however, CEO Ed Bastian was forced to roll back the changes after customer outrage.

Frontier similarly switched its program to focus on how much money customers spend compared to the old system, which focuses on how many miles they fly. Frontier travelers can earn silver elite status after earning 10,000 miles, which is equivalent to spending $1,000.

The timing of these announcements coincides with recent criticism from the chief executives of Delta and United Airlines that Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) Credit Card Competition Act could eliminate Americans’ frequent flyer rewards programs.

Breitbart News reported:

Scott Kirby, the CEO of United Airlines, said about the Credit Card Competition Act, “This would kill rewards programs. It would not exist anymore.”

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastion said in October, “These cards could no longer receive the funding to be able to invest in rewards-back opportunities.”

A spokesperson for American Airlines added, “Nearly 30 million Americans nationwide hold an airline credit card, and this legislation would destroy cardmembers’ ability to earn rewards, miles, and the myriad benefits that go along with cobranded programs.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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