Dec 19, 2018

Airlines on track to devalue frequent flyer miles

Photo: Nicolas Economou/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Airlines are noticing basic economy is becoming the new normal, and frequent travelers fear the trend could cause rewards and upgrades to cost more points, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Using rewards programs to land business class upgrades is becoming an increasingly difficult feat, a turnoff for frequent flyers. Meanwhile, Delta is testing out basic economy rewards, which can be used with miles, and could bump up the cost of regular airfare tickets. Basic economy, a class below regular airfare, currently has à la carte carry-on options, no ability for changes or upgrades, and no free seating selections.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.