How Rewards Cards and Points Cards Are Changing For Airlines and Travel Cards In 2016
If you enjoy and even rely on airline miles then 2016 will be a sobering year for you. 2016 is going to be a hard year for frequent flier mile programs and those who make use of them. Already some airlines have made big changes to its program, now travelers will not be awarded for distance traveled but by ticket price. Airlines has announced of course that they plan to follow suit come March 1st. This of course signals a dawn of a new era with frequent flier mile programs as the rest of the industry is sure to follow. What these changes boil down to is those who do not rate shop for lower fares or those who fly on company money without regard to ticket prices will see the most rewards while those of us who shop around for the lowest fares will see little in the way of rewards.
For those who like myself use travel sites to book cheap flights you will see only a fraction of the frequent flier miles that you used to. Those who have elite status will take less of a hit of course but if you have no elite status with your preferred frequent flier plan you will only see 5 miles per dollar spent. When you raise your status your miles will go up, with the highest level members earning 11 miles per dollar spent.
You can however still bank miles, and make up for the loss in other ways using other methods. Since you will not earn as much miles from your actual ticket purchases you will need to diversify the ways the you earn bonus miles. Thankfully there are many ways to earn miles these days. Over 300 merchants offer bonus miles and airlines also have online shopping portals or malls that will award you miles for every purchases you make. If you buy only the things you really want or the things you need you wont rack up any additional costs and you will make some nice bonus miles while doing so. It is basically just one extra step which is signing in through your airlines website.
One new hurdle for customers is copay’s. These are pretty much new to the industry. Their sole purpose is to devalue your miles. If you upgrade a ticket for example you could be charged a $100 copay each way on top of the miles you spend on your ticket. May airlines are using them right now and more are expected to follow suit. This means you will have to factor these in and compare them to the price you would pay without using miles and see if it is even worth cashing in your miles at the present time.
One last word on airline miles, do not sit on your miles or horde them. Miles today are worth more than a mile tomorrow with the way the industry is going. The value of your miles is likely to decrease as time passes based on industry trends. You are also likely to see higher copay’s down the road which will further decrease the value of your air miles. If you really want to rack up some airline miles look for new credit card offers which offer you a huge mile initial sign-up bonus.