(WHTM) – Frequent flier programs used to be just that: fly a lot and earn free trips. But more and more airlines are changing that

Earning that free trip just got harder for many travelers.

Frontier has just changed its “Early returns” program to “Frontier miles.”

Starting in January, you’ll earn points based on how much money you spend, not on how many miles you fly, so a one-thousand-mile flight may earn you just 200 points if you spent only $200 on it.

Frontier is following the lead of Delta and American, which have switched to a similar system giving points for money spent, not miles flown.

But since Frontier flights tend to be much cheaper than the legacy airlines… Building up points will be tougher.

Frontier, however, says you will be able to reach elite status quickly, so there are some upsides.

But from the doesn’t that stink file, the fact that it takes a lot more points to get free trips these days.

Major airlines Delta, American, and United now use dynamic pricing for frequent flyer trips: 30 thousand miles no longer earns you a free flight if you travel during busy times.

Lending Tree says a Delta SkyMiles trip can cost thousands of points more if you travel near the holidays, as free trips will be based on the cash price.

One option many travelers are choosing is a credit card that lets you build airline points and use them on any airline, not just one.

That could be the better deal so you don’t waste your money