Dec. 31, 1990 — Radisson ends its first frequent guest program — Key Rewards — citing expense and a change of direction in marketing to business travelers.
Dec. 1992 — The FAA rules that airlines will be required to continue to collect airport Passenger Facility Charges from passengers traveling on frequent flyer award tickets at selected airports.
Dec. 1993 — After resuming service in mid-November, Midway Airlines announces Midway FastPass. As part of the launch of the program, Midway allows members of the former Midway FlyersFirst program — and members of other airline programs — to report old account mileage (no questions asked), and up to 50,000 of those miles would be credited to a bonus account in the new program; each mile flown on Midway would be matched with one mile from the bonus account.
Dec. 2001 — The end of this year produces more 1-million bonus-mile winners than any year in history.
Dec. 2003 — America West’s Flight Fund announces award split between long haul (more than 750 miles) and short haul (less than 750 miles). Long-haul awards jump 25,000 miles while short-haul awards drop to 15,000 miles and include the most heavily traveled routes.
Dec. 2004 — Hilton HHonors makes the promotional “Earning Styles” option a permanent part of its program. Members may choose to earn points and “variable miles” — 10 points and one mile per dollar spent; points and “fixed miles” — 10 points per dollar spent and 500 miles per stay; or “points and points” — 10 points plus five bonus points per dollar spent.
Dec. 2004 — The Qantas Frequent Flyer program announces changes that include increases on long-haul award travel and restrictions on upgrades, as well as a 2,500-point “Assisted Award” fee for all award bookings made with the help of a customer service agent. Despite other changes, including the introduction of point transfers and point purchasing, the Australian Consumers Association describes the changes as a “spit in the face.”
Dec. 2004 — Lufthansa’s leviathan of a program, Miles & More, introduces a new top level to its elite program. Members who earn at least 600,000 status miles in two consecutive years are inducted into the ultra-exclusive “HON Circle.”
Dec. 8, 2004 — Low-fare carrier JetBlue, a longtime loner, makes American Express Membership Rewards its first partner. Membership Rewards members can now transfer points into credits with TrueBlue.