Q. When do you think airline mileage plan points are going to be devalued by the airlines increasing the number of points required for flights?

A. Frequent flyer miles will be harder to cash in from September onward because airlines are cutting capacity 8-12% or more on all seats, and that will reduce the number of frequent flyer seats proportionally. In addition, I've noticed that it's usually very hard to cash in miles on popular routes at the standard 25000 mile domestic seat award level. More often, they offer you the 45,000 or 50,000 "anytime" award level.

On top of that, yes I do think that sometime in 2009 or sooner they'll officially start requiring more miles, especially on international routes. I wouldn't be surprised to see 30,000 miles as the standard domestic award level, and I'm surprised they haven't done this sooner. And if more airlines merge or stop flying, the remaining ones will pretty much be able to do whatever they want with their loyalty programs.

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