We find it easy to be nostalgic about air mile chasing. In the beginning, the big challenge for the airlines was to get people off the ground. That was also the case after 9/11. I remember the VP of Marketing for Continental Airlines telling us, "We discovered how to overcome the fear of terrorism in the sky: $99 coast-to-coast."
Credit cards and mobile apps give all kinds of companies dramatically more and better ways to build loyalty and maximize their profits customer by customer. Now that they've moved their loyalty program to the cards, watch for an explosion of mobile apps. Don't cry for the mile. Use our new communication channels to demand better service.
Wired: Frequent Flier Miles are Kaput--The Game's about Credit Cards Now, 2017-Nov-20 by Aarian Marshall
For the first time since frequent flier programs got their start in the 1980s, most American airline passengers are earning rewards in a new way. To put it bluntly, the frequent flier mile is dead.
Since 2015, American, United, and Delta Airlines have each changed the basis of their rewards programs from miles flown to money handed over. (American just made the switch in August.) You get points based on what you pay, not how far you go.