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Airlines pulling back on pandemic-era perks

Holiday Travel Washington
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 02, 2023

Airlines are pulling back on some of the perks they offered during the height of the pandemic.

Delta is limiting access to its Sky Club lounges to avoid overcrowding.

United is raising the bar on earning frequent flyer status, making it harder to get free upgrades and fees waived.

"It’s going to be much more difficult to get into lounges much more difficult to renew elite status, and much more difficult to redeem their frequent flyer miles for a free trip," said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott's Cheap Flights.

A Delta flight from Los Angeles to New York over spring break would typically cost 25,000 frequent flyer miles for an economy seat.

Now, it costs 52,000 miles, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Consumer advocates say earning miles has never been easier thanks to airline credit cards, but redeeming the miles is getting tougher.

"You enter these programs in good faith, and you invest in them for years and years, and you find that the goalposts are a lot further away than they were when you started," Keyes said.

American Airlines also made a slight change to its rewards program. It's now harder for entry-level customers to reach "elite" status.