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Business Travelers: Is Loyalty Dead? Airline and hotel loyalty programs have undergone some significant changes in the last few years.

By Elaine Glusac

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

REUTERS | Toby Melville

Upgrades and other perks have been the promise of airline and hotel loyalty programs since the early 1980s. More than 30 years on, loyalty has been devalued.

Exhibit A: This spring United Airlines overhauled its MileagePlus program to award miles based not on distance flown but on price paid per ticket (following a similar move by Delta Air Lines). Now a flight that once earned you 1,000 points may earn just 300.

Exhibit B: Several hotel companies, including Hilton and Marriott, raised their reward categories over the past few years, effectively making it more expensive to get a free night or an upgrade.

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