PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Edward Lefferson is flying home to New York City on a ticket he purchased with frequent flyer miles.

"For the ease and convenience and I have a lot of them due to work," he said.

Right now you earn miles based on the distance of your flight.  But that's about to change.

Travelers will earn points based on how much they pay for their flight, not on how many miles they fly.

"It doesn't seem fair," Lefferson said. "The average traveler is getting less and less but it seems like it's par for the times."

"Every time we turn around there's something changing that makes it difficult to fly," said Myra McRae of La Quinta whose daughter lives in Washington, D.C. and used frequent flyer miles to fly home.

United and Delta are the latest and largest airlines to overhaul their frequent flyer programs.  They join Southwest, Jet Blue and Virgin.

The change, a great revenue generator for the carriers. But it tests the patience of frequent flyers who don't want to pay more for fewer miles.

"They're just trying to make it harder for people to use them so they make money," said Karen Clark, who flew to Palm Springs from Detroit.

"It's hard on families and young people like my daughter who are just working so hard to make ends meet," McRae said.

Some travelers feel it creates an even bigger divide between those in the front of the plane versus the back.

"You should be able to use them regardless of who you are and how much the ticket is and how faraway it is.  It's just more fair that way," Clark said.

So why are airlines doing it?  Experts say because they can.

Lefferson says he'll just have to accept the new program if he wants to keep flying.

"I don't think we have a choice," he said.