updated 10/28/2008 1:35:09 PM ET 2008-10-28T17:35:09

Most passengers on American Airlines will no longer earn a minimum number of frequent-flier miles for taking a short flight.

Beginning Jan. 1, American will end the minimum award of 500 miles even on shorter trips. The change will apply to everyone except elite members of its AAdvantage loyalty program who fly at least 25,000 miles per year.

American's move follows a similar change announced recently by Continental Airlines Inc. Fort Worth-based American is a unit of AMR Corp.

The moves come at the same time that American and other carriers are offering more ways for passengers to earn miles through purchases of things other than airline trips. Some passengers fear that the inflation in miles accrued will lead carriers to sharply raise the number of miles needed to claim a free trip.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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