For many frequent flier program members, 1995 was made significant by the dramatic increase in the number of miles required for reward travel in the continental United States. During 1995 the standard reward level for most airlines increased from 20,000 miles to 25,000 miles – – a level which still dominates frequent flier reward travel today.
Among the major airlines, Alaska is unique for its 20,000 mile reward level, while America West and US Airways offer discounted levels based upon season or distance. America West offers a 15,000 mile reward for shorter trips up to 750 miles. US Airways offers a 20,000 mile reward during the fall/winter travel period of September 15 through the end of February.
Frontier clearly breaks ranks with all other airlines with its 15,000 mile domestic travel reward. The 15,000 mile level has remained a constant since the EarlyReturns program was unveiled in 2001.
The standard 25,000 mile reward level currently applies for the following major U.S. airlines: American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United. As a group, these “Major Five Airlines” (a name applied for this analysis) represent over 70% of airline activity when measured by 2003 revenue passenger miles. United and American recently offered a limited-time 15,000 mile promotion for reward trips up to 750 miles. However these nearly duplicate American and United offers have not become part of their standard reward charts.