2 airlines announce changes to frequent flier policies

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The number of passengers traveling through the Myrtle Beach International airport last month was up 16 percent from last year. Year to date, the airport has already received as many passengers as it had for the whole year of 2012, but some changes for frequent fliers could eventually affect future numbers.

Delta and United Airlines have changed their frequent flier policies, and these airlines are big operators out of Myrtle Beach International: 39 percent of all passengers flew United Airlines last month. By raising the number of miles travelers need for certain flights, they now have to pay more to snag a seat, especially for those costly flights to places like Hawaii or Alaska. With United, stopovers are now priced as an additional one-way ticket.

Fortunately for most, awards for direct domestic flights are unchanged for now, but travelers don't like the direction things are going.

"It's a little aggravating," said Timothy Gordon, who uses frequent flier miles. "But it's the airline industry, I mean, what are you going to do?"

"I'm kinda disappointed a little bit because of the way it's gone up," said George Plattis, who is a frequent flier. "But other than that, money is not the object. You know 'tis the season to be jolly and spend it with your family." Plattis will spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Hawaii with his brother.

Luckily, changes for Delta and United take place after the holiday season, on February 1. Analysts with FrequentFlier.com say airlines usually change frequent flier policies every couple of years. Since two major carriers have announced changes, travelers should probably get ready for others to follow in their footsteps.

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