You’ll never get that mileage upgrade! Here are 6 reasons why

For many travelers, frequent flier miles are less about free tickets than about getting out of the sardine-can seating in the back of the plane.

Since airlines would of course prefer to sell those premium seats, booking in advance has historically made a big difference. Even if upgrades are sold out, or the carrier has not yet decided how many premium seats to allot, being added early to the wait list has made a big difference.

But these days, advance planning matters relatively little.
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United Airlines will now make your miles disappear like magic

Today’s story from the front lines of consumer advocacy is about the airline industry’s latest trick: a sleight-of-hand involving your loyalty program account balances.

Just like a wiley magician, United Airlines first reveals your miles — make sure you look closely!

Then you can almost hear the incantation: “Hocus, pocus!”

And then “poof!” — no more miles.
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Can someone please help save Viviane Tran’s honeymoon?

Viviane Tran and her husband are flying from Washington to Tokyo on US Airways for their honeymoon in April. They’ve scraped together 240,000 Dividend Miles for the occasion to splurge for first-class seats.

And then they received the email. The one saying their flight schedule had changed. The one that threatens to destroy their carefully-planned postnuptial vacation. And they need your help fixing it — now.
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Yes, loyalty programs are rigged — but what are you going to do about it?

Remember how easy it used to be to earn frequent flier miles? You’d book a flight on a major airline, go on that trip, and earn miles based on the distance flown — usually one award mile for each flight mile.

It’s not that simple any more.

First, airlines added a class-of-fare bonus so that a purchased first class ticket would earn double miles. Then they started offering their own branded credit cards so you’d earn miles when you purchased your airline ticket on the card, one mile per dollar spent on a ticket on their flights. And then they upped the ante to two miles per airline ticket dollar (their airline, of course) and one mile for every other dollar charged on the card.
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