Back To Top

Airlines’ 10-year expiration of mileage under review: FTC

The nation’s antitrust watchdog has been zeroing in on whether it is legal for air carriers’ frequent flyer programs to allow mileage to expire within 10 years.

According to lawmakers on Monday, Fair Trade Commission Chairperson Joh Sung-wook told lawmakers last week that the antitrust regulator is reviewing the legality of airline companies’ mileage policies revised in 2008.

Joh Sung-wook, chairperson of Fair Trade Commission (Yonhap)
Joh Sung-wook, chairperson of Fair Trade Commission (Yonhap)

“In addition to conducting a review on whether the policies have been unfair, we will come up with ideas for better policies by having recent research on the matter as a reference,” she said in written replies to questions for a parliamentary hearing session held for her nomination.

The regulator said earlier this year that it wants air carriers to have fairer mileage policies.

But Joh’s recent comments convey a tougher stance, as it indicates that the regulator could make administrative orders or report unfair practices to the prosecution.

The FTC has reportedly concluded that it is unfair for air carriers to stipulate that passengers’ mileage expires within 10 years without mentioning to customers that it is possible to suspend the time limitation.

The regulator is also reportedly reviewing a new measure to allow passengers to pay for their tickets both with miles and cash. It is also considering pushing air carriers not to limit the number of bonus tickets that can be bought with mileage, according to officials.

By Cho Chung-un (