United Airlines is trying to motivate customers to avoid cheap airplane tickets and cheap vacation packages by awarding passengers who purchase more expensive tickets more miles than others who buy cheap tickets.
Originally most airline frequent flier programs awarded one mile of credit for every mile flown. Awards were based on distance flown, not cost of tickets.
United will now award passengers flying on first class tickets up to two and one half times the miles flown, with those flying in business class and on full fare coach tickets earning additional miles.
The goal, according to United, is to make full fare coach tickets and front of the plane first and business class fares more attractive. United believes that those travelers that create the most value for the airline deserve higher travel rewards.
Southwest announced a revamped frequent flier program in June that provides larger rewards for more expensive tickets. The airline noted that it believed some customers would choose to pay a slightly higher price to earn a better reward.
In another step towards combining United and Continentals frequent flier programs United have announced that miles earned in the combined program with expire after 18 months. This is consistent with Uniteds current policy though a big change for Continental frequent fliers who previously faced no expiration dates.
Many fliers have found that frequent flier miles are not as valuable as they used to be. Their value has been reduced by the implementation of expiration dates, more miles being required for free tickets, and the limited availability of free seats.