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Travelers Must Adapt To Changing Frequent Flier Game
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http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011/04/Frequent-flier-programs-disgruntle-some/46357304/1?loc=interstitialskip

Less generous and more restrictive frequent flier programs are forcing travelers to adapt to the new rules of the game, experts say.

I agree- it's more difficult to earn miles, and more difficult to use them these days as airlines seek to maximize revenue producing seats. But there are still bargains out there to be had, particularly when using affiliated programs to enhance your FF membership.

The American Express card gives you direct miles to Delta on every purchase. They charge an annual fee of about $85. But they also give you a $99 companion fare certificate every year. I recently used one of these certs to buy a $465 ticket to a New England destination. After the annual fee and discounted fare, we still came out about $281 to the positive side. Can't beat that.

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plus no baggage charge, that's huge - party of 4 with 1 checked bag each on a round trip is $200 otherwise...

This is Delta's version of the american express (credit card) not any old random amex like green-gold-plat or costco.

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