This Month in History

This Month in History

Feb. 1983 – The first frequent flyer program by a Hawaiian-based airline is introduced by Hawaiian Airlines – Gold Plus.

Feb. 1986 – The Holiday Inn Priority Club program officially ends, having been deemed too expensive.

Feb. 1988 – Consumers complain to the Kansas attorney general that Continental is advertising and promoting mileage minimums of 1,000 miles (i.e. the minimal number of miles one would earn on short trips) but is crediting only 750 miles. In response, the attorney general threatens to bring legal action against Continental for violations of Kansas consumer codes, noting that Continental also is in violation of the frequent flyer program guidelines set forth by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). As a result of this action, Continental agrees to correct its promotional materials, extend the 1,000-mile minimum through July 31, 1988, and credit eligible accounts retroactive to Jan. 1, 1988.

Feb. 1, 1995 – All major programs increase their “saver type” domestic awards from 20,000 miles to 25,000 miles. Alaska Mileage Plan increases its similar award from 15,000 miles to 20,000 miles. These capacity-controlled awards are the most popular award for redemption among U.S. programs.

Feb. 1, 2001 – Frontier Airlines, which had entered the realm of frequent flyer programs as a partner in the Continental OnePass program, introduces its own program, called EarlyReturns. One of the key benefits: its controlled, systemwide award is available to members for only 15,000 miles. Members may still choose OnePass miles if they want, but must choose one or the other.

Feb. 20, 2002 – The IRS issues a formal policy clarifying its position that frequent flyer miles earned from business travel will not be taxed as income.

Feb. 2003 – Midwest Express Frequent Flyer becomes Midwest Miles.

Feb. 2004 – American Express makes its foray into the Canadian miles market with the AeroPlanPlus charge card. The card comes in three versions – Blue, Gold and Platinum – with fees ranging between $60 and $399 a year.

See more milestones in frequent travel history at And, while you’re there, submit events that you would like to see added to the timeline.

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