For frequent fliers, downturn brings opportunity

04/14/2009 | Wall Street Journal, The

Experts say the downturn in air travel has spurred one of the "richest" periods ever in airline frequent-flier programs. Carriers are cutting the miles required to redeem free flights and doubling the miles earned toward elite status. Even with the enhanced earning potential, airlines expect fewer elite members in their programs due to cutbacks in corporate travel departments. "This will certainly counteract some of the natural decline we're seeing, but it's not going to fully account for it," says a United Airlines official.

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