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Finally, a Really Big Frequent Flyer Mileage Giveaway

If difficult times call for drastic measures, the recession-driven travel slump should call for major frequent flyer offers.

What qualifies as a major mileage promotion?

It's an offer from a major airline with extensive geographic coverage, not a puddle-jumper serving just a single region. An offer that encompasses most or all of an airline's routes, not just flights between Akron and Greensboro. An offer that applies to all fares, not just unrestricted first- or business-class tickets. An offer that's in place long enough to allow significant numbers of travelers to qualify, not one that's limited to bookings made by midnight tonight.

The latest Delta promotion may be just such an offer.

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Through December 31, members of the programs of Delta and Northwest can earn double frequent flyer miles for all Delta and Northwest flights in all classes of service. Travelers must register to receive the bonus, by September 30.

There is one qualifier to this promotion that slightly limits its applicability: Flyers must be Delta SkyMiles credit card customers in order to earn the bonus miles, although it's not necessary to actually charge the tickets to the card.

For those who already hold an American Express-issued Delta credit card, the requirement is obviously moot. But for those who don't, it could be a sticking point. Even though American Express waives the card's annual fee for the first year, applying for a credit card is not something that should be taken lightly.

Still, double miles on the world's largest airline's extensive route network for a full six months—that's a significant promotion.

It may not be The Big One, but it's a big one.

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