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United changing how travelers earn mileage rewards

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Travelers who fly the most and pay the most will soon earn more miles on United Airlines' frequent-flier program.

The change will help elite members of United's loyalty program—those who fly at least 25,000 miles a year on the airline. It will be far less-rewarding for people who currently rack up miles by taking occasional long flights at bargain fares.

Read More Frequent flier smiles: It's easier to redeem miles

Starting next March 1, elite-level members of MileagePlus will earn between 7 and 11 miles for every dollar they spend on tickets, not counting taxes. Regular members—people who fly less than 25,000 miles and spend less than $2,500 a year on United—will get 5 miles per dollar toward free travel.

United joins Delta, Southwest and JetBlue in basing awards on money spent, not miles flown.

Read MoreDelta to award frequent flier bonus based on ticket price

—By The Associated Press

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