The big news today is that Delta is tacking on extra surcharges for passengers trying to utilize the frequent-flier program.

Wow, not a nice reward for your most loyal customers. But you’ve gotta ask yourself, what’s the worst thing you’d do to cut fuel costs?

The new surcharge will take effect on August 15th and will add a $25 fee to all tickets redeemed with frequent-flier miles for the U.S. and Canada, with a $50 charge added to international destinations, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As we’ve tirelessly reported on earlier, the airlines are trying to combat high fuel prices by adding new fees to all checked luggage and taking away our delicious free snacks, even professional basketball teams aren’t immune to the treachery.

It’s all becoming quite a hit for consumers looking to fly this summer. You will find that flight prices are 2 to 3 times more expensive than they were this time last year. And in addition to the new fees, there will be fewer options for shopping around. Major airline mergers and canceled routes are another new trend that adds to the headache.

According to the Wall Street Journal article that broke the news, Delta aren’t alone with the new plan:

Last month, AMR Corp.’s American Airlines said reinstating miles to a frequent-flier account would cost $150, up from $100. And two weeks ago, US Airways Inc. said starting July 9, it would add fees including charging frequent fliers to redeem miles, in addition to charging $15 for a first checked bag and other fees.

Also in April, travel experts said Delta‘s frequent-flier programs likely would see changes including a possible devaluation of some passenger miles amid the company’s pending merger with Northwest Airlines Corp.

So if you were planning on redeeming those frequent-flier miles, I’d suggest you try and use them before August 15th. Hopefully you’ll be available and find some place you fancy going in the next couple of weeks. Anyone like hot dogs as a July 4th vacation theme?

My idea for a new no-frills money-saving airline is to hire amateur pilots with no professional experience to fly extra large jumbo jets. I’ll advertise it as ‘Eh, Why Not? Airlines‘. Then we’ll really see how much safety is worth to the average consumer.

WSJ: Delta Adds Surcharge To Frequent-Flier Program, June 27, 2008