If you haven’t heard, US Airways announced via email early this morning that it will eliminate the 500 mile minimum from it’s Dividend Miles program, and all flights will now earn only actual miles. This means travelers on a 180 mile shuttle flight will now only earn 180 miles as opposed to the usual minimum of 500 miles.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it certainly devalues Dividend Miles versus other frequent flyer schemes if the other airlines do not match. The change goes into effect on May 1 for tickets purchased on or after March 8th. There are two reasons for such a lead time: 1) computer systems need to be reprogrammed, and 2) it gives US Airways time to test the waters and see if the other airlines match.

Frankly, I think that there is at least a small chance that the other airlines will latch on to this. The pool of miles versus available seats is just way out of whack, and the airlines are searching for ways to reduce that pool. This could be interesting.

Now…I know exactly how I feel about the other change announced by US Airways this morning. On May 1, US Airways will implement a “quick ticketing” fee of $50 dollars for Dividend Miles reservations made within 14 days of departure at usairways.com. Making the award reservation with a US Airways phone agent will cost you $75 dollars. These fees are nothing but pure money grabs, and frankly, insult the intelligence of travelers by suggesting otherwise in this day of electronic tickets which cost nowhere near $50 dollars to issue. American is one of the worst offenders in this regard, charging $75 dollars when making a reservation with less than 21 days until traveling, and $100 dollars at 6 days or les s prior to travel! Such fees almost made sense in the day when you had to call the program and have an award certificate sent to you prior to ticketing. But now they are nothing more than pure profit!