Frequent Fliers Rate the Best Loyalty Programs



Winners of the 2012 Freddie Awards, which are given to airline and hotel loyalty programs and voted on by over 1 million frequent fliers and hotel guests, were announced late last week. Topping four of the seven categories? American Airlines’ AAdvantage program.

But read on to find out the best hotel, airline and credit card loyalty programs at home and abroad.

The Freddie Awards, started in 1988, recognize airline and hotel loyalty programs in seven categories: Program of the Year, Best Promotion for Earning, Best Promotion for Redemption, Best Redemption Ability, Best Customer Service, Best Elite Program, and Best Loyalty Credit Card.

Titles are awarded for each category in three major geographical areas - the Americas, Middle East/Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa. Here’s this year’s breakdown of winners in the three major categories for each area:

Airline Reward Program of the Year
Americas: American AAdvantage
Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Europe/Africa: Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Hotel Reward Program of the Year
Americas: Marriott Rewards
Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Taj Inner Circle
Europe/Africa: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Loyalty Credit Card
Americas: Delta SkyMiles American Express
Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Etihad Guest Above
Europe/Africa: Turkish Airlines Shop & Miles Garanti

American Airlines’ frequent flier program won three more awards, including Best Promotion for Earning, Best Customer Service, and Best Elite Program in the Americas. As for hotels in the Americas, Marriott Rewards was tops in every category except Best Promotion for Earning (that went to Starwood). Lufthansa’s Miles & More program was heavily favored among the Europe/Africa region category winners, as was Starwood Hotels’ Preferred Guest Program, which cleaned up in every category except Best Loyalty Credit Card. In the Middle East/Asia/Oceania region, Jet Airways and Etihad were neck-in-neck, but Taj Hotel’s Inner Circle program emerged a clear winner.