hallo, important news in the "ustoday.com" Sept 08,2008 --------------------------- Along with higher fares and new charges, fliers are now facing a growing number of changes that reduce the value of their frequent-flier miles. Continental Airlines said Friday that it is reducing the number of miles it awards fliers on many short flights and lowering the bonus miles it gives to many of its most-frequent fliers. Last month, US Airways ended bonus miles for its most-frequent fliers. The rollbacks come as an unprofitable airline industry struggles with record fuel prices. Mileage reductions make it more difficult for frequent fliers to earn free tickets. Many airlines have also raised the miles needed to earn free tickets and have set expiration dates that erase members' miles sooner. In August, Delta Air Lines began an "award travel fuel surcharge." SkyMiles members redeeming trips online now pay $25 for a domestic ticket; $50 for an international one. FIND MORE STORIES IN: New York | Northwest | Denver | Colorado Springs | Continental | Delta Air Lines | US Airways | Aspen | Frontier | Grand Junction | Durango | Steve Snyder | trans-Atlantic | Platinum Elite Starting Sept. 15, Northwest will begin charging $25 to redeem a domestic frequent-flier ticket, $50 for a trans-Atlantic ticket and $100 for a trans-Pacific ticket. The changes in frequent-flier programs disturb many fliers. "Elite-level fliers are presumably better customers than non-elite fliers, though it often doesn't seem like the airline takes that into account," says Bob Beilstein of North Syracuse, N.Y., a US Airways elite flier who works in the software industry. Continental says that on March 1 bonus mileage will drop from 125% to 100% for Platinum Elite members and from 50% to 25% for Silver Elite members. Fliers who annually earn 75,000 miles achieve platinum status, and those who earn 25,000 miles reach silver status. Mileage earning for Gold Elite members — those who earn 50,000 miles annually and get a 100% mileage bonus — will remain unchanged. Beginning Jan. 1, for tickets bought on or after Nov. 15, Continental will stop giving a minimum of 500 points on flights shorter than 500 miles. Fliers will instead earn the number of miles flown. Denver-based Frontier Airlines, too, will stop awarding a minimum 250 miles on most short routes on Sept. 15. Fliers will earn the number of miles flown. Exceptions: Flights between Denver and four Colorado cities — Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Durango and Aspen — will earn 250 miles. Changes were needed because the frequent-flier program affects Frontier's bottom line, spokesman Steve Snyder says. "We have to be careful to walk the line between the value we provide to our customers and the impact to our business." United Airlines also stopped giving a minimum of 500 miles in July, and US Airways eliminated its mileage minimum last year.