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Delta to Frequent Flyers: Distance Mileage Is Over, Show Us the Money

Delta Air Lines is revamping its frequent flyer program to tie mileage accrual to how much a ticket costs, a long-anticipated shift away from awards based on distance traveled that is likely to be matched by the two other network airlines.

The change, which will take effect on Jan. 1, is designed to reward Delta’s frequent business travelers and others who spend more for tickets. The losers in Delta’s new SkyMiles program will be leisure travelers who book their tickets far in advance to save money and those who snag weekend specials—flights that are discounted, based on last-minute seat inventory. Each dollar spent on a ticket will earn five to 11 miles, rather than a mile earned for each one that is flown. Delta will cap mileage awards at 75,000 per ticket, which appears to be priced at $15,000 for international flights, based on the airline’s calculator.