United Frequent Flier Miles: Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

Just got a notice from United Airlines that they’re changing the terms of their frequent flier program. If you don’t earn or redeem miles in an 18 month period, you lose the miles completely. They posted a FAQ that explains the rule change. The kicker is this one:

Q. Do other airlines have similar policies?
A. Yes. For example, Delta and US Airways both recently made [similar] changes to their policies.

Remember when there was lots of competition in the U.S. airline industry, flights were cheap and service was good? Good times, good times.

The United change probably won’t affect me anytime soon since I redeemed some miles last year for a trip back east, but it will have an effect on lots of frequent fliers in San Francisco and Silicon Valley since SFO is a United hub.