Delta has announced a new frequent flyer mile chart, but Is this a good news, bad news story?

Delta is now charging up to 60,000 miles round-trip for a domestic coach frequent flyer ticket, but spending those miles will get you the "last seat on the plane" free of capacity controls. The airline also has the standard 25,000 mile award level and a new 40,000 mile award level. This seems like another way of squeezing more miles out of its frequent flyer members.

First class domestic will cost between 45,000 and 100,000 miles roundtrip. These mileage levels apply to the 48 states plus Alaska, and Canada. Hawaii will cost you between 45,000 and 90,000 miles for coach and between 75,000 and 180,000 miles in premium cabins. Sounds like frequent flyer mileage inflation to us.

Oh, and we thought this was very interesting: Micheline Maynard, writing in Thursday's New York Times, quotes a Delta frequent flyer program spokesperson who notes that the number of miles issued by Delta had grown by 24 percent from 2004 to 2007, but the number of frequent flyer seats has not grown. "The capacity is just not there," he says. That means it's 24 percent harder to find a free seat.

Speaking of inflation, check out American's new higher mileage requirements.

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