I'm not a big fan of airlines
especially the legacy carriers, although I can hardly blame them for this:
Travelers, now ready to book trips for spring and summer, are increasingly complaining that the tight supply of free tickets on crowded planes means they cannot secure their first or second or even third choice of dates and destinations at the airlines' cheapest rates. Some are spending far more miles than they anticipated in a bid to evade complicated restrictions. Others must split up family groups and fly on different days, spoiling some of their holiday fun.One can hardly expect them to give away flights when they can't make money. And I agree with something Gregg Easterbrook wrote, that we as consumers are to blame by choosing carriers based only on price and not be willing to spend even a few dollars more for better service or (importantly when you are 6'2" like me) more space.
I have had an American credit card for almost 20 years and fly them as much as I can (doctors don't fly that much). Now I have a pile of miles I am having trouble using and am thinking I should probably switch to an Amazon or cash-back card.
In retrospect, the airlines were creating huge liabilities during the heydey of giving away mileage and with them in complete control of the programs, it is not surprising they've acted to devalue miles.