Shuttle Flights Take Off With Bonus Frequent Flyer Miles

It took them almost two weeks to do so, but US Airways has finally matched Delta's mileage bonus on the East Coast shuttle flights.

Just after Memorial Day, Delta rolled out an unusually generous promotion: 2,500 miles for each leg flown on its shuttle services between New York and either Boston or Washington, D.C. That's five times the 500-mile minimum normally awarded for shuttle flights, and amounts to a hefty 6,000 miles for each shuttle round-trip. The offer can be earned by members of either Delta or Northwest's frequent flyer programs, through July 26.

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American quickly responded with a 2,500-mile bonus for American Eagle flights between New York and Boston, also through July 26. But US Airways, whose shuttle service competes head-to-head with Delta's, remained conspicuously silent until this week.

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise, given US Airways' proven history of less-than-generous ways when it comes to frequent flyer miles. In particular, it was none other than US Airways that last year discontinued the 500-mile minimum for shuttle flights, only to later relent and reinstate it, even going so far as to retroactively credit the minimum segments earned while the no-minimum policy was in effect. Diagnosis: a deep-seated ambivalence toward frequent flyer marketing.

Even as US Airways' late start in launching its shuttle promotion will annoy its customers, the promotion's duration will irritate Delta and American. Rather than match American and Delta's July 26th end date, US Airways has set its promotion to remain in place through August 15.

Putting aside the back story, this amounts to an unusual opportunity to earn big bonuses for flights between New York, Boston, and Washington.

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