Sudden Big Changes to Mileage Plus airline partner mileage accrual

This has been the year of changes. We have seen so many changes this year; I have seriously starting to forget what the situation was last year. The latest changes to United Mileage Plus (MP)and Continental One Pass (OP) have been surreptitiously introduced. However it is difficult to creep past the hawk-eye of frequent fliers.

Various fare classes on Swiss (LX) and Lufthansa (LH) now earn lesser EQMs (elite qualifying miles) and RDMs (redeemable miles). The details:

Swiss (LX)

  1. L and K: 100% ® 0%
  2. P: 0% ® 100% (MP) , 150% (OP) (LX changed their code for discount business class)
  3. T: 100% ® 0% (OP)
  4. E: 0% ® 100% (MP)

Lufthansa (LH)

  1. T and K : 100% ® 0% (MP) for transcontinental flights

Isn’t this atrocious? Many of us plan trips with mileage goals in mind. We take care to book only in classes that earn miles. What would happen to tickets that have already been booked? This sudden change would rip hundreds if not thousands of flyers of EQMs and RDMs. If you booked a trip to Asia in LH T class (usually the cheapest), you have been robbed of at least 20K EQM/RDM roundtrip!

Note that the detrimental changes (especially LH) affect mostly the price-conscious mid and low-tier flyer who can still eke out hours in Y if the price is cheap; no SWUs (system wise upgrades) to think of. I had written earlier about how United’s elite benefits are stripping the mid and low-tier flyers of crucial benefits. I have a feeling these changes are related.

I probably have gone overboard in bashing UA. Nevertheless, making such crucial changes without prior information is nothing short of betrayal.a bench on a beach with boats in the water


I have to sit and calmly decide which airline program I should be loyal to


  1. I can understand the concern of many over devaluation in the frequent flyer game. However, the nice little benefits to elite flyers has evolved into a cottage industry and these programs are draining resources and funds that are being redirected. Hopefully, all the traveller reward plans will move back to rewarding the individuals who pay more to get more and away from the something for nothing mind set that has poisoned these programs for the general public and working class business traveller.

  2. @BottomLine I agree with you. However there have been too many changes too soon. And changes like the ones described here which have not even been announced and quitely swept under the rug are unethical.

    To maintain all my eggs in one basket, I fly *A even when their prices are higher than the competitors. The little the airlines can do in return for my loyalty is inform the changes beforehand!

  3. Well said, BottomLine.

    In the end, frequent flyer programs are a zero sum game. Elite benefits and rewards — upgrades, free travel, etc. — don’t come from a bottomless well. For every upgrade that a mileage program maximizer receives, one fewer upgrade is going to flyers that bring a lot more revenue to the airline but are not as skilled as gaming the system.

    Program maximizers think it’s perfectly “fair” that they get rewarded for figuring out how to game the system, not realizing that the airlines and the general traveling public don’t see it as way.

  4. Is there a way to find the effective date of this change? And, is there an opportunity to get miles on the CO program for now, for these fares?

  5. Where did you happen to see these changes? As you said, too many changes all at once. Maybe they made drastic changes, realizing they may have to back off partly on some of the most drastic changes,
    as we approach Jan.

  6. I guess that I am trying to understand what resources that elites drain from airlines when most of the benefits that they recieve are space available or can be easily gotten with a credit card.

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