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Frequent Flier Miles Are Kaput—The Game’s About Credit Cards Now

November 28, 2016


Oh Thanksgiving: a time for turkey, a time for uncomfortable political discussions, a time for the most nightmarish airplane trips imaginable. Nearly 30 million Americans will fly with US airlines this week, and a lot of them will be thinking: Hey, at least I’ll come out of this misery with some frequent flier miles for that solo kayaking trip to New Zealand.

Except, not so much. For the first time since frequent flier programs got their start in the 1980s, most American airline passengers are earning rewards in a new way. To put it bluntly, the frequent flier mile is dead.

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