American Airlines succumbs to logic, enables one-way frequent-flier deals

American Airlines just e-mailed me to tell me that it's easing its restrictions on mile redemption. From now on, American will let us redeem miles for one-way flights, not just for round-trips, as the rule had been. Nor will it continue charging each one-way fare as though it were a full-round trip; now, a one-way is half a round trip, which, according to my calculations, is precisely what a one-way flight is worth.

I found out how stingy the airlines can be about frequent flier miles in February, when I wanted to book a flight from my home in New York City to Los Angeles, then fly to Chicago for a few days on the way back to New York. I wanted to buy three one-way flights, but every airline demanded that I pay for six: three round trips between New York and Los Angeles, Los Angeles and Chicago, and Chicago and New York. The idea being that I'd just have to throw out the return flights for each leg -- and lose those miles, too. Say you wanted to fly somewhere and then drive back: most airlines will make you buy twice as much ticket as you want.