B2B Payments

Should Higher Ticket Prices Equal More Mileage Awards?

United Continental Holdings, Inc. is joining an increasingly longer list of airlines that are switching to fare-based awards programs. According to a United announcement last week, travelers who spend more will earn more miles. Depending on travelers’ status in the Mileage Plus program, they’ll get anywhere from five to 11 miles per dollar spent on airfare.

Ralph Brown is president of a corporate travel consulting firm, and told the news source that the move would likely “rankle corporate travel managers.”

“Airlines have never shown much sympathy for corporate travel managers,” Brown added.

According to a Crain’s Chicago Business article, American Airlines is the last holdout among major U.S. carriers. However, a switch is expected next year.

While employees might seem encouraged to book a more expensive flight – especially if their company is going to eventually pay the bill – that is not always the case, according to the news source. Many company travel departments encourage workers to choose the lower fares.

For example, Crain cited results from a survey conducted after Delta Airlines altered its mileage awards program. The majority of travel managers said they expect fare-based mileage awards to increase airfare spending and make travel policies more difficult to enforce.

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