Although the term frequent flier mile has been around for a long time, the meaning has shifted somewhat. Observing the way that various airlines compute mileage savings for their passengers that use them, it becomes clear that the mile, as a specific unit of measurement, often has nothing to do with the calculation. Southwest, Delta, Jet Blue and others tend to award miles based on the ticket cost and class and not on a specific distance traveled. This can be very disconcerting to travelers expecting a far larger amount of mikes awarded for ling trios. In fact the ratio if miles earned is often calculated per dollars spent. Another consideration that lowers mileage awards us the fact that dollars spent does not include taxes in ticket costs. And just because one books a ticket at a specific airline’s site, does not ensure that a leg of the journey might not be with an affiliate airlines that dies not share their awards policy.
Fortunately, a number of airlines are still counting miles as miles. Also a number of credit card companies are offering their own mileage accrual programs. So travelers still have some shop around options.
“When I got home, I found the proverbial lump of coal in my United Mileage Plus account stocking: a paltry 2,120 miles earned for a six-flight trip that took us from Redmond, Ore., to Sydney, Australia, via San Francisco, with a side trip to and from Denpasar, Indonesia.”