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Midwest Changes Mile Expiration Rule in Run Up to Merger

Following the decision by the two airlines' common owner, Republic Airways Holdings, to merge them, Frontier and Midwest are on track to have most of their operations consolidated by the end of this year, including unification of the two airlines' frequent flyer programs, Frontier Early Returns and Midwest Miles.

According to an email announcement last week from Midwest:

As a reminder, we expect to be operating the Midwest Miles frequent flyer program under the Frontier EarlyReturns name this fall. At that time, all the miles you've earned will be combined in a single account with the same account number you currently use. You'll also be able to log in to your account on FrontierAirlines.com using the same user ID and password you currently use.

Most of the changes will take place behind the scenes, with little or no action required from members of either program. But there is at least one policy change that Midwest Miles members need to pay special attention to:

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Your frequent flyer miles will not expire as long as you continue to earn miles from flying or with a program partner. Beginning in January 2011, miles will expire in 24 months of inactivity—a change from the current 36 months.

That of course is to bring Midwest's policy into alignment with Frontier's 24-month expiration policy. They could have adopted Midwest's more liberal policy instead, but with the current industry standard set between 18 months and two years, there was no competitive reason to do so.

The email addressed another question I've heard raised by Midwest Miles members, that of the program-affiliated credit card:

You will be issued a new Frontier Airlines MasterCard in the fall. Your account number will remain the same, and you'll continue to receive the same great benefits you have today. Look for more information about your new Frontier Airlines MasterCard in the coming weeks.

According to the merger timeline, the plan is to have new affinity cards in the wallets of current Midwest Miles members by December 1.

A few other upcoming milestones worth noting:

  • September 15 - Consolidation of EarlyReturns and Midwest Miles accounts
  • October 1 - Midwest Miles name disappears, to be replaced by EarlyReturns
  • November 1 - Single website and reservations system
  • December 1 - Single award-booking system

And last but not least:

  • August 1 - Cookies on all Frontier and Midwest flights

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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