Required Reading for Frequent Flyers
Required Reading for Frequent Flyers
Required Reading for Frequent Flyers   Search 
Subscribe  
Magazine
Freddie Awards
[May 2009 Issue]
Print this Article Email this Article

The 21st Annual Freddie Awards. Over 700,000 frequent flyers have spoken - did your favorite programs win?


Let me take you back to January 1989. InsideFlyer was a mere three years old at that time and already I was being besieged by readers asking me to tell them which frequent flyer programs were truly the best. And I did tell them. But I soon realized that I was examining the value of these programs through my own eyes--and perhaps I had different values than what other members might be looking for. The value of a program is different when you have 32,000 miles vs. when you have 320,000 miles. Value is different when you live in Dallas than it is when you live in Salem, Ore. And of course, value is much different when you use your miles to personally upgrade internationally than when you use them to give to family members. All these values, and all these programs, each delivering their own sense of value to members. So I started asking our readers which programs they considered the most valuable for them and started comparing the results. I was ecstatic that we had convinced 864 travelers to take the time to tell us which programs were the "unabashed personal and entirely official best of 1988." I still remember the day I wrote that a Freddie was given to Delta Frequent Flyer for being the first program to offer triple mileage. This promotion, by the way, deserves to be in a Hall of Fame---now there's a new idea! Marriott (then "Honored Guest Awards") won the very first Freddie for Best Newsletter among all programs, airline and hotel. Continental/Eastern won the first Freddie for Best Frequent Flyer Program. And another winner that year was Diners Club Club Rewards. Through the years, we've honored program executives and even paused to observe the 25th anniversary of frequent flyer miles by bringing together the pioneers who were there when this whole thing started, which is still one of my favorite Freddie memories. And so here we are, 21 years later still asking the frequent traveler: who has the best frequent flyer program? And I never get tired of asking that question, or hearing the many answers. After all these years, one thing has remained constant--members know best. This year, the Freddies are the consensus of more than 700,000 travelers. To bring the Freddies to you, we receive generous sponsorship from companies such as Points.com, Priority Pass, ICLP, Loylogic, Executive Travel Magazine and EzRez; with dinner sponsored by Visa and wine at dinner by Synapse, along with our own InsideFlyer. I'm thrilled to have the honor of announcing this year's winners.

The Freddie recipients are determined by members of frequent travel programs throughout the world. Members of the programs voted online for their favorites in nine categories from Jan. 15 to Feb. 28, 2009, in three separate geographical ballots: Americas; Europe, Middle East, Africa and Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia.

More than 700,000 people voted - more than last year and the most ever. As in the past, in our quest to truly determine the "best" and to level the playing field between programs that have millions of members and those with thousands, we adopted a value vote system. Voters were asked to rate their favorite programs from one to 10, with 10 being the best--and it is this value vote that determines the winner. It is also our policy that in order for any program to get a Freddie Award, that program must garner at least two percent of the total votes within a particular category.

To ensure accuracy, votes were subject to no less than six audits using a variety of technology (72 different types of reports were referenced). All ballots were checked for accuracy supporting our "one ballot, one traveler" mission.

You will notice that after the winners in each category, we list the value vote number the program received--the average number between one and 10 given by the voters--and we also list the percent of votes the program received in that particular category. The total number of votes cast for each category is shown at the top of the list of frequent travel programs.

Another factor in these listing is that to be eligible for the Freddie Awards, a program must gather a minimum of two percent of the ballot total for a specific category. This caveat is intended to ensure that the number of ballots cast for a program are significant enough to balance any minor bias.

Our congratulations go to all the programs listed here for the 21st Annual Freddie Awards. Without further ado... the Freddies go to...

About the Freddies

Introduced by InsideFlyer magazine publisher Randy Petersen in 1988, the Freddies allow members of frequent traveler programs to rank programs from their point of view. The awards have grown in stature and importance and are the most prestigious consumer-generated awards in the industry.

The Freddies were inspired by the late Sir Freddie Laker, who in 1978 was knighted by Queen Elizabeth ll for his contribution to commercial aviation and the British economy. Known for his pioneering marketing ideas within the travel industry, Laker founded Britain's first all-jet air carrier, Laker Airways Limited. He also founded the "SKYTRAIN" service, which revolutionized the airline industry by offering no-reservation, low-cost air service. Mr. Laker passed away Feb. 9, 2006.

Program of the Year

Drum roll please ... These are the big cheese, kingpin, linchpin, top dog, number one, numero uno, the ultimate loyalty programs. The programs named here (airline and hotel for each geographical ballot) have gone out of their way to make their members feel loved--and the feeling is mutual. The Program of the Year category most clearly measures a program's ability to excel in all categories. Voters were asked to vote on the frequent traveler program that offers the best overall combination of service, bonuses, awards, benefits and opportunities.

Frequent Flyer Program
Program of the Year Americas

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan


They did it again. Freddie favorite, and now five-time Program of the Year winner, Alaska Airlines resides at the top for the second year in a row. Mileage Plan received an impressive 9.34 value vote--upping its value vote as winner last year from 9.099. Mileage Plan pleases members with an excellent partner list, substantial award choices, good bonus promotions, an easy-to-use Web site and some of the best customer care representatives in the industry. But before the folks at Mileage Plan get too cocky, we'll be the first to point out that Southwest Rapid Rewards was a mere .03 value vote percentage away from a tie with them. Rapid Rewards members gave their program an equally impressive 9.31 average value vote.

And we must also point out that following very, very closely to Rapid Rewards is none other than Freddie darling, Continental Airlines, with a close-to-winning 9.30 value vote. That, my friends, is very close for a program that used to own this category with its previous 10 Program of the Year wins.

Of interest this year, is the further fall of Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns from winning Program of the Year two years ago to sixth place last year, to falling off the charts this year by not getting at least two percent of the votes cast. Times have been tough for the little airline from Denver. Another little airline, AirTran Airways, has done alright for itself with A+ Rewards' fourth place finish and 9.07 value vote. The top three finishers this year mirror the top three last year.

Category votes 301,491


ValuePercent
1Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.344.49 %
2Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards9.3116.84 %
3Continental Airlines OnePass9.307.89 %
4AirTran Airways A+ Rewards9.075.62 %
5Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.927.24 %
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.9116.59 %
7American Airlines AAdvantage8.8413.77 %
8United Airlines Mileage Plus8.757.44 %
9US Airways Dividend Miles8.715.54 %
10Aeroplan8.322.93 %


Frequent Guest Program
Program of the Year Americas

Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards is on top for the second consecutive year with a worth-writing-home-to-mom-about 9.52 value vote. That's very close to 10 out of 10! That is the highest value vote of any category in the Americas ballot. And you will soon see that Marriott has garnered the highest value vote overall, between the 12 nomination value votes Marriott received in the Americas ballot, the value vote overall is 9.24--quite an accomplishment. This is Marriott's 10th win in this category and with 47.62 percent of the vote, it's clear that Marriott Rewards members are the most vocal. Members are pleased to take advantage of Marriott's popular MegaBonus promotions, air travel award packages, PointSaver hotel stays at up to 33 percent off and they can track up to five of their dream travel awards through the DreamRewards Tracker online.

At number two with a value vote of 9.42 (which is better by .22 over last year's winning value vote) is Hilton HHonors, edging out last year's number two IHG Priority Club Rewards, with its 9.39 value vote. It's worth noting that all top five finishers in this category earned a value vote over 9.35.

Choice Privileges comes in fourth for the third
consecutive year. Starwood Hotels, a six-time winner of Program of the Year, finished fifth, down from third last year.

Observation: Seven programs qualified by obtaining at least two percent of votes last year, only five did it this year. Last year, five programs had value votes below nine, this year ... none. Looks like members are becoming increasingly happy with their hotel loyalty programs.

Category votes 354,759

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.5247.62 %
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.4229.68%
3InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.3944.04%
4Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.3905.60%
5Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.376.90%


Frequent Flyer Program
Program of the Year Europe, Middle East, Africa

Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club


This is Virgin Atlantic's first win for Program of the Year. And a remarkable win it is when you consider Flying Club's placement in last year's Freddies--ninth place--and 10th place the year before. Virgin Atlantic has a sterling reputation for comfort and a bit of whimsy in flight and those qualities spill into the airline's frequent flyer program. When members use their miles to upgrade at Virgin Atlantic, they will certainly feel valued. And along with cash and miles awards and occasional very good award sales, members have inventive and valuable ways to spend their miles. Also of value is the Flying Hub members-only section in Flying Club's Web site where members are treated to exclusive offers and "fantastic competitions." Virgin Atlantic just edges out last year's winner, Etihad Guest, by .04 in their respective value votes.

At third place for the second consecutive year is Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More with a respectable 8.98 value vote and an equally respectable 27.99 percent of the votes. Last year's number two program, Gulf Air Frequent flyer, placed eighth this year.

Of interest is SAS EuroBonus, a seven-time Freddie Award winner of Program of the Year International (before the International award was divided into Europe, Middle East, Africa and Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia) placing 10th this year and 12th last year. Another former winner of this category, TAP Portugal Victoria, placed seventh this year and yet another winner, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, is not to be seen on the top finishers list because the program did not get the required two percent of votes.

Category votes 83,501

ValuePercent
1Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club9.044.79 %
2Etihad Airways Etihad Guest9.003.17%
3Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.9827.99%
4Brussels Airlines Privilege8.913.43%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles8.899.14%
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.874.34%
7TAP Portugal Victoria8.832.16%
8Gulf Air Frequent Flyer8.802.76%
9Emirates Skywards8.793.68%
10SAS EuroBonus8.613.97%
11British Airways Executive Club8.568.21%
12Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.426.98%


Frequent Guest Program
Program of the Year Europe, Middle East, Africa

Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest


Starwood Preferred Guest comes in at number one again this year for the fourth time in this five-year-old category (the program won Program of the Year International four times before the International Award was divided into geographical areas). Starwood continues to do what it takes to keep its worldwide membership base happy. Members like the choice of hotels throughout the world as well as worldwide promotions, the flexibility the program offers and its stellar hospitality. Voters commented that Starwood keeps them well informed and entices them to stay with innovative promotions and voters especially appreciate the quality of the hotel properties and room upgrades.

Coming in at number two this year is Hilton HHonors, a former winner of Program of the Year International. HHonors takes the place of last year's number two program, Marriott Rewards, which is in third place this year and is also a former winner in this category. The Hilton HHonors program jumped up from a sixth place finish last year, no doubt from a renewed effort of promoting the value of their program and starting to offer more global bonus promotions.

Good news? All these programs are getting better in the minds of their members. Last year, two programs had value votes below eight, this year, all programs were above eight.

Category votes 71,885

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.118.88 %
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.0430.85%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.8828.73%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.778.79%
5Radisson goldpoints plus8.536.07 %
6Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.383.39%
7Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)8.0532.38%
8Accor Hotels8.0513.34%


Frequent Flyer Program
Program of the Year Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity


Make room for another Virgin. Last year's number two program in this category, Virgin Blue Velocity, made it to the top this year, upsetting two-time consecutive winner, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, which came in at number two this year. Virgin Blue Velocity is known for the ease of award redemption, and as we all know, easy award redemption goes straight to the heart of a frequent traveler. If a member has the points, he can access any available seat on the plane. The frequent flyer program also offers good value award sales and the added fun of sweepstakes where members can win points, among other program perks. Many voters commented on the friendliness of the Virgin Blue staff and the "fairness" of the loyalty program.

Velocity has a solid fan base. Oh, did we mention the addition of V Australia to the program? Their members have.

At number three, Kingfisher Airlines King Club, makes its debut in the top three for Program of the Year JPAA. Of interest is the strong showing of Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More outside Europe--a testament to that program's global reach. Northwest Airlines WorldPerks is the only North American-based program to gain enough votes to place in the top finishers at number nine--it was at number nine last year as well--and was joined by fellow U.S. airline, United Mileage Plus, at number 12 last year, but United didn't garner enough votes this year to make the cut.

Former winners in this category, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Emirates Skywards, are keeping each other company at numbers five and six, respectively.

Category votes 61,462

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity9.364.58%
2Jet Airways JetPrivilege9.219.80%
3Kingfisher Airlines King Club9.0139.07%
4Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.853.32 %
5Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer8.834.93%
6Emirates Skywards8.7332.60%
7Korean Air SKYPASS8.7315.93%
8Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.7302.55%
9Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.702.05%
10JAL Mileage Bank8.5742.37%
11ANA Mileage Club8.5722.05%
12Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.543.26%


Frequent Guest Program
Program of the Year Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest


No other hotel program has ever won for Program of the Year in this area of the world. Starwood Preferred Guest continues to reign in this region, helped along by its no blackout date policy on free night awards and the high level of service SPG members receive. SPG members can earn free nights at more than 940 hotels and resorts in 97 countries. Marriott Rewards comes in second for the fourth year in a row with a value vote of 8.88 and hot on Marriott's heels is Hilton HHonors with its value vote of 8.87--an impressive move up for HHonors from sixth place last year.

Hyatt Gold Passport was third for the last two Freddie Awards but this year the program finds itself at number five.

Observation: In the Americas category, all finalists earned a value vote of nine or better. In EMEA, the finalist value votes were a mixture of eights and nines. Here, no finalist achieved any value vote of nine, nor did any finalist last year or the year before.

Category votes 42,511

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.9610.68%
2Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.8827.99%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.8723.40%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.657.73%
5Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.6212.69%
6Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.303.26%
7Radisson goldpointsplus8.284.65%
8Best Western Hotels Gold Crown Club International8.162.06%
9Accor Hotels7.982.90%


Best Award

Just about everyone remembers their first award. Nothing beats the thrill and delight of getting that free flight to your dream destination or a free stay where you can lay your head down at the end of the day in luxurious linens that someone has thoughtfully prepared for you. And while many frequent flyers say that they are only in it for the upgrades, or that the last thing they want to do after logging 200,000 flight miles a year is get on another plane, there's still no substitute for the pleasure of earning an award. Whether it's a free ticket to a tropical locale or extending your business trip and staying at a hotel you would normally never think of staying, awards please us all and are a link to every program's success. Although all programs have standard award offers to satisfy their members, they also offer special awards to keep us engaged and interested. Freddie voters let us know which awards offer the best value and are the most rewarding for the number of miles or points required.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Americas

British Airways Executive Club


This is Executive Club's first win in this category and the program's first ever Freddie win. And although it might come as a surprise that a British airline should win in the Americas category, it simply demonstrates the globalization of the airlines and their frequent flyer programs. And a good, straightforward deal is appreciated by all--in this instance, half off all flight awards to all British Airways destinations in all flight classes.

Coming in at number two is our Program of the Year winner, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, which has two prior wins under its belt, but has not been voted into the top spot in this category in the last five Freddie Awards. Mileage Plan's offer also demonstrates a good value and simple concept--intra-state awards for only 15,000 miles roundtrip or 7,500 miles one-way. No muss, no fuss. Following closely behind Alaska's value vote of 8.87 is AirTran Airways A+ Rewards value vote of 8.84 for its popular any airline, any destination award for 100 A+ credits.

This category has seen quite the shake up from the previous year when Southwest Airlines, Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines claimed the top three spots. Alaska Mileage Plan moved up from number four to the second place in this year's Freddies.

Category votes 299,496

ValuePercent
1British Airways Executive Club 50% off Flight Awards with no restrictions to all BA destinations: No additional T&Cs, no route or cabin limitations, no restricted travel period. For one week, Executive Club members were able to book award flights where they wanted to go across BA's worldwide network, in the class of their choice.9.032.07%
2Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Mileage Plan Intra-State Awards: Members can redeem 7,500 miles (one-way) or 15,000 miles (roundtrip) for all travel wholly within one state.8.875.32%
3AirTran Airways A+ Rewards 100 A+ Credit Offer: Members can redeem 100 A+ Rewards credits for a roundtrip ticket on any airline to any destination on any continent -- with no blackout dates.8.847.31%
4Northwest WorldPerks PerkChoice: All members were able to use WorldPerks miles for one half of a roundtrip and cash for the other. The product provided options for members to book travel if a standard award was available on only one way of a roundtrip. In addition, the cash portion of the trip was eligible for mileage accrual, complimentary elite upgrades and mileage upgrades.8.8210.03%
5Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles Miles & Dollars: Members could take advantage of a year long offer of 15,000 miles and $150 for a roundtrip ticket anywhere on Midwest Airlines/Midwest Connect. And there was an award sale offer in October of only 5,000 miles and $225 for a roundtrip ticket.8.472.46%
6Southwest Rapid Rewards Members could earn a roundtrip award flight after only $19,200 in spend with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa card.8.4217.96%
7Delta SkyMiles Pay with Miles: Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Reserve credit card holders could use miles, money or a combination of miles and money to book a flight anytime, anywhere with no blackout dates.8.3722.06%
8American AAdvantage AAdvantage Award on Iberia: Between Jan. 1 and March 12, 2008, members could claim business class awards on partner airline, Iberia, between Boston or Washington Dulles and Madrid for 60,000 miles and coach awards between Boston, Washington Dulles, New York JFK or Chicago O'Hare and Madrid for 30,000 miles.8.2315.71%
9US Airways Dividend Miles Off-Peak Saver Awards: Members could claim a roundtrip award flight to Europe for only 35,000 miles (normally 50,000 miles) or for 25,000 miles for a roundtrip award flight to the Caribbean or Latin America (normally 35,000 miles), during the off-peak season.8.139.43%
10Aeroplan Double Deal Business Class: 15% discount on ClassicPlus Executive Class rewards on Air Canada between Canada and the Caribbean or Mexico for travel between Nov. 1, 2008 and Jan. 15, 2009. Plus, if more than 60,000 miles were redeemed for the reward, or for a ClassicPlus Executive Class reward within North America, they received an additional 10% discount.8.013.19%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Americas

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards


IHG Priority Club Rewards should be pleased with this win, which brings them to the top in the Best Award category for the third time, but they have not won this category for the two previous years. Members truly appreciate the PointBreaks award nights at up to 88 percent off. Priority Club Rewards just edged out last year's winner, Marriott Rewards, by only a .06 value vote difference.

Marriott has won this category nine times but placed second this year, followed by Hilton HHonors, a four-time former winner of this category.

Of particular interest is that Marriott Rewards placed second with the same offer that won the category for them in last year's Freddie Awards and IHG Priority Club Rewards placed second last year with basically the same offer they won with this year. Anyone up for a game of musical chairs?

It's clear that Choice Privileges is a contender and remains among the top programs with its second consecutive fourth place finish. Last year they gained attention with gift cards (and in particular Wal-Mart gift cards) and this year--Hawaii.

We are a little surprised by the finish of the new SPG Flights award. This is certainly an award that a traveler might have to actually use to fully appreciate its flexibility and purpose. Over time, this award option may rise in the ratings.

Category votes 375,752

ValuePercent
1InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Members were able to redeem points for Priority Club PointBreaks, award nights at select IHG properties worldwide for only 5,000 points per night -- a savings of 50%-88% off regular redemption rates.9.284.20%
2Marriott Rewards Travel Packages: Members could redeem seven free hotel nights and a 1:1 conversion to airline miles for a savings of up to 50%.9.2220.78%
3Hilton HHonors Going Global VIP Reward: Hilton HHonors members received six free nights at a Hilton Family hotel with no blackout dates and no capacity controls at a 27% discount off the standard hotel award chart.9.1814.27%
4Choice Privileges -- In 2007, Choice Privileges enhanced its very popular and comprehensive gift cards by adding a Wal-Mart gift card. Members could redeem points for the Choice Hotels Gift Card and gift cards to over 350 national and local retailers, restaurants and entertainment providers.9.155.47%
5Hilton HHonors The Hilton HHonors Rewards Store (HiltonHHonors.com/shopping) let members redeem points for thousands of items. From golf products to electronics, appliances to gift cards, the Rewards Store placed over 5,500 items at members' fingertips. Members could even use their points for unforgettable experiences, such as skydiving, dance lessons and tickets to exclusive events.9.1416.09%
6Marriott Rewards PointSavers: Members could redeem nights at a one-category discount for a savings of up to 33%.9.1127.78%
7Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Flights: Members can now redeem Starpoints for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines worldwide - with no blackout dates - even during peak periods such as holidays or for last-minute flights.8.977.50%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Europe, Middle East, Africa

Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club


This year's EMEA Program of the Year winner, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, takes home a Freddie for Best Award by being the only program to earn a value vote over nine in this category. Flying Club members could take advantage of half-off award sales in all cabins throughout the year. This is the fifth year that this Freddie category has been awarded and this is the first time that Flying Club will be taking home a Freddie in this category. Last year's winner, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, did not place in this category.

In second place is Etihad Guest with its 50 percent off award sale. Etihad Guest placed third in this category last year while Gulf Air Frequent flyer was second. This year's third place goes to Brussels Airlines Privilege, moving up from fifth place last year with its monthly award specials. The only frequent flyer program to repeat wins in this category was TAP Portugal Victoria but they are not on the top finishers list this year.

Category votes 80,751

ValuePercent
1Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club Reward Seat Sales: Members could take advantage of up to 50% off normal reward levels on various routes and in all cabins at different periods throughout the year. For example, 50% off a redemption in economy between London and New York, so only 22,500 miles were required for a roundtrip instead of the normal 45,000 miles.9.207.00%
2Etihad Guest 50% Redemption Offer on Flight Tickets: Members could take advantage of a 50% reduction on flight awards to over five destinations from February to May 2008. For example, a roundtrip flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok in economy was only 25,000 miles (normally 50,000).8.502.30%
3Brussels Airlines Privilege Monthly Award Special: Each month 10 European award flight destinations served by Brussels Airlines were featured with a hugely extended free seat capacity so that members could have a guaranteed free seat.8.482.98%
4Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More Miles & More Online Auctions: Domestic and international business class and economy flights and Lufthansa WorldShop products were featured in online auctions. The auction mileage price included taxes and fees and members could choose when they wanted to take the trip.8.4717.92%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles New Year's Promotion: Miles&Smiles members who redeemed their miles between Nov. 29 and Dec. 31, 2008 could travel the first three months of 2009 for 20% off the normal redemption rate for all award flights.8.4310.10%
6Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More Flight and First Class Hotel: Between September and November 2008 status members could spend their miles for a flight and premium hotel travel package. This exclusive combination of a Lufthansa premium flight and a first class partner hotel visit in a selection of 12 different European destinations offered an attractive mileage value.8.3613.76%
7Emirates Skywards Global Reduced Rewards: During December members were offered a 25% discount on upgrade awards to over 50 popular cities saving up to 25,000 miles per award. Valid on any type of ticket, and with no limit on the number of awards a member could redeem for themselves or others, customers were able to effortlessly redeem and confirm their upgrades online.8.203.72%
8Emirates Skywards Complimentary Upgrade: To celebrate the launch of Emirates flights to Toronto and San Francisco, operated by the new generation 777-200LR aircraft, members were offered a 2-for-1 on all upgrade awards for a three-month period. Members could thus fly roundtrip in a first class private suite or a business class lie-flat seat, and save 45,000 miles.8.132.19%
9British Airways Executive Club 50% off Flight Awards with no restrictions to all BA destinations: No additional T&Cs, no route or cabin limitations, no restricted travel period. For one week, Executive Club members were able to book award flights where they wanted to go across BA's worldwide network, in the class of their choice.8.1213.79%
10SAS EuroBonus 75% Award Discount: Members had 120 hours in November to make award reservations for travel between Scandinavia and Beijing, Chicago, Seattle or Tokyo from Jan. 15 through the end of February for only 20,000 points in economy class (normally 80,000 points).8.095.36%
11airberlin topbonus New topdeal tickets: Since Dec. 15, 2008, a select number (5-10) of discounted award flights are offered on a regular basis (1-2 times per month) on airberlin.com. The required amount of miles and both long- and short-haul destinations change each promotional period. The topdeal tickets are available from as few as 3,000 miles plus taxes and charges.8.072.53%
12American AAdvantage AAdvantage Award on Iberia: Between Jan. 1 and March 12, 2008, members could claim business class awards on partner airline, Iberia, between Boston or Washington Dulles and Madrid for for 60,000 miles (normally 90,000 miles) and coach awards between Boston, Washington Dulles, New York JFK or Chicago O'Hare and Madrid for 30,000 miles (normally 40,000 miles).7.942.86%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Europe, Middle East, Africa

Hilton HHonors


Hilton HHonors takes home the Freddie for the first time in the EMEA Best Award category. HHonors members could take advantage of six award nights with no capacity controls for reduced rates. HHonors knocks Marriott off the pinnacle this year after Marriott's three consecutive wins. This year, Marriott is number two with its popular travel packages while former winner in this category, Starwood Preferred Guest, moves down from number two last year to the number three spot this year. SPG introduced SPG Flights this year where members could redeem Starpoints for airline tickets.

Note that all three top finishers were very close in their value votes: 8.74, 8.73 and 8.70.

We noticed that the lowest scored award in this category is to convert hotel points to airline miles. With an ever growing awareness of the value of hotel points vs. airline miles, this seems to represent a trend and can be seen as an overall vote on the value of the Hyatt Gold Passport offer.

Category votes 75,066

ValuePercent
1Hilton HHonors Going Global VIP Reward: Hilton HHonors members received six free nights at a Hilton Family hotel with no black out dates and no capacity controls at a 27% discount off the standard hotel award chart.8.7432.89%
2Marriott Rewards Travel Packages: Members can redeem seven free hotel nights and a 1:1 conversion to airline miles for a savings of up to 50%.8.7313.24%
3Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Flight: Members can now redeem Starpoints for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines worldwide - with no blackout dates - even during peak periods such as holidays or for last-minute flights.8.7010.17%
4Marriott Rewards PointSavers: Members can redeem nights at a one-category discount for a savings of up to 33%.8.4318.72%
5InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Members were able to redeem points for Priority Club PointBreaks, award nights at select IHG properties worldwide for only 5,000 points per night - a savings of 50%-88% off regular redemption rates.8.4110.10%
6Hyatt Gold Passport Passport Escape: Members could redeem 180,000 points for seven nights at a top category hotel including five dinners for two, daily break fast for two and a welcome amenity.8.022.30%
7Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Free Nights Offer: For every four nights members stayed in Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts at qualifying rates in June and August, they received one free night stay that they could use between Sept. 1, 2008 and Feb. 28, 2009.8.002.43%
8goldpoints plus The goldpoints plus summer promotion: 50% off all award nights from June 1 until Aug. 31, 2008 at all Regent, Radisson SAS, Radisson Edwardian, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inn and Park Inn hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.7.995.93%
9Hyatt Gold Passport Points-to-Miles Conversion Bonus: Members earned a 5,000-mile bonus when converting Hyatt Gold Passport points to airline miles with over 30 travel partners. 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points equaled 20,000 miles, plus a 5,000-mile bonus, for a total of 25,000 miles.7.912.59%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity


This year's Program of the Year in the Japan, Pacific, Asia and Australia region, Virgin Blue Velocity, takes home another Freddie, this time for Best Award. Members of Velocity could claim a flight award for a 98.5 percent discount (yes, you read that right--98.5 percent) on two popular Virgin Blue routes.

Last year's winner, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, came in at number two with its award offer of a free international ticket when flying select domestic sectors--a fine offer from a fine frequent flyer program.

At number three this year was Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer with its half-off award offer.

Category votes 62,748

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity Fly for only 100 points. In April 2008 Velocity offered flights on two popular Virgin Blue routes for only 100 Velocity points - a 98.5% discount on the normal 6,900 point price. Members could also use the 'any seat' option to get exactly the flight they wanted.9.165.74%
2Jet Airways JetPrivilege Fly Free International: Members who flew Jet Airways on select domestic sectors got a free ticket to exciting destinations in Jet Airways' international network in business class and economy.9.125.89%
3Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer China Award Sale: Between Oct. 15, 2008 and Jan. 9, 2009, members in China could get up to a 50% discount on the mileage required for online redemption for select roundtrip flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou to Singapore. They could redeem these flights online for a flat rate of 20,000 miles for an Economy Saver award.9.035.69%
4Kingfisher Airlines King Club FAME Cinema Instant Rewards: Members could redeem as few as 500 miles at movie counters instantly with their membership number and password on a touch pad that connected to the back-end database of King Club - an instant, paperless and seamless way to spend miles and a first for India.8.9818.15%
5Jet Airways JetPrivilege Fly 1 Get 1 Free: Members could get a free flight when flying Jet Airways to New York, San Francisco, Toronoto or London after flying only one qualifying flight.8.575.53%
6Korean Air Skypass Hotel Redemption Sale: Members could redeem free hotel stays at the LA Wilshire Grand & Honolulu Waikiki Resort Hotels for as much as 5,000 miles off Nov. 20 through Dec. 25, 2008. And if you paid for a stay of three nights or more, you got the fourth night free.8.456.34%
7Kingfisher Airlines King Club Fly to London Offer: Members who flew eight flights on Kingfisher First between Oct. 10 and Nov. 30, 2008, were rewarded one free Kingfisher Class roundtrip ticket between Bangalore-London along with 3,000 bonus miles; if they flew 12 flights on Kingfisher First they received one free Kingfisher First roundtrip ticket or two Kingfisher Class roundtrip tickets along with 5,000 bonus miles.8.3523.71%
8Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More Flight and First Class Hotel: Between September and November 2008 status members could spend their miles for a flight and premium hotel travel package. This exclusive combination of a Lufthansa premium flight and a first class partner hotel visit in a selection of 12 different European destinations offered an attractive mileage value.8.2332.08%
9Northwest Airlines WorldPerks PerkChoice: All members were able to use WorldPerks miles for one half of a roundtrip and cash for the other. The product provided options for members to book travel if a standard award was available on only one way of a roundtrip. In addition, the cash portion of the trip was eligible for mileage accrual, complimentary elite upgrades and mileage upgrades.8.2314.08%
10Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More Miles & More Online Auctions: Domestic and international business class and economy flights and Lufthansa WorldShop products were featured in online auctions. The auction mileage price included taxes and fees and members could choose when they wanted to take the trip.8.2042.26%
11Emirates Skywards Global Reduced Rewards: During December members were offered a 25% discount on upgrade awards to over 50 popular cities saving up to 25,000 miles per award. Valid on any type of ticket, and with no limit on the number of awards a member could redeem for themselves or others, cus tomers were able to effortlessly redeem and confirm their upgrades online.8.2012.60%
12Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Members who flew from Hong Kong to any of four destinations in China earned a free ticket. Members could earn enough Asia Miles to get an award ticket to fly roundtrip to Taiwan or Vietnam.8.124.71 %
13British Airways Executive Club 50% off Flight Awards with no restrictions to all BA destinations: No additional T&Cs, no route or cabin limitations, no restricted travel period. For one week, Executive Club members were able to book award flights where they wanted to go across BA's worldwide network, in the class of their choice.7.812.54%
14American AAdvantage AAdvantage Award on Iberia: Between Jan. 1 and March 12, 2008, members could claim business class awards on partner airline, Iberia, between Boston or Washington Dulles and Madrid for 60,000 miles and coach awards between Boston, Washington Dulles, New York JFK or Chicago O'Hare and Madrid for 30,000 miles.7.582.59%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Starwood Preferred Guest


Starwood Preferred Guest is a repeat winner in this category, but has not won in the last three years when Marriott Rewards took top honors. SPG wins this year with its new SPG Flights award offer. At number two this year is Hilton HHonors with their Going Global VIP award and number three is last year's winner, Marriott Rewards, followed extremely closely by IHG Priority Club Rewards.

Of interest is that Marriott Rewards won for all three regional ballots in the Best Award category last year, but lost the top position in all three this year.

Observation: In the Americas, the SPG Flights award offer finished dead last for value and the Hyatt Gold

Passport points-for-miles offer did not even qualify. In the regional EMEA category, SPG Flights did better at number three. And while Hyatt's conversion to miles award finished last in EMEA, it at least qualified. In this region, SPG Flights rockets to the top and Hyatt's miles conversion rises to the middle of the pack with its value vote. This certainly seems to point out that JPAA members value airline awards more than their Americas or EMEA counterparts.


Category votes 47,178

ValuePercent
1Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Flights: Members can now redeem Starpoints for airline tickets on hundreds of airlines worldwide - with no blackout dates - even during peak periods such as holidays or for last-minute flights.8.7610.96%
2Hilton HHonors Going Global VIP Reward: Hilton HHonors members received six free nights at a Hilton Family hotel with no black out dates and no capacity controls at a 27% discount off the standard hotel award chart.8.5123.25%
3Marriott Rewards Travel Packages: Members can redeem seven free hotel nights and a 1:1 conversion to airline miles for a savings of up to 50%.8.50320.36%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Members were able to redeem points for Priority Club PointBreaks, award nights at select IHG properties worldwide for only 5,000 points per night - a savings of 50%-88% off regular redemption rates.8.5018.81%
5Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Points-to- Miles Conversion Bonus: Members earned a 5,000-mile bonus when converting Hyatt Gold Passport points to airline miles with over 30 travel partners. 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points equaled 20,000 miles, plus a 5,000-mile bonus, for a total of 25,000 miles.7.99010.30%
6Marriott Rewards PointSavers: Members can redeem nights at a one-category discount for a savings of up to 33%.8.2611.25%
7Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Passport Escape: Members could redeem 180,000 points for seven nights at a top category hotel including five dinners for two, daily breakfast for two and a welcome amenity.8.215.99%
8Radisson goldpoints plus Four Nights for Half the Points: Members earned four nights for half the points to use anytime, anywhere in 2009 by staying at any Carlson Hotel three or more times, Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2008.7.984.93%
9Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Free Nights Offer: For every four nights members stayed in Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts at qualifying rates in June and August, they received one free night stay that they could use between Sept. 1, 2008 and Feb. 28, 2009.7.964.15%


Best Bonus Promotion

They don't call them bonuses for nothing. Bonus offers keep program members engaged in the program and motivate them to action. Bonus offers are good for business--and are certainly good for the account balance of members. Through the years, programs have offered some very inventive and entertaining bonus promotions and it's always a pleasure to see which bonuses have truly captured the members' attention. Voters were asked to vote on the bonus promotion that was most rewarding.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Bonus Promotion Americas

American AAdvantage


The granddaddy of all frequent flyer programs and currently the largest FFP in the world takes home the Freddie this year for its double elite-qualifying miles bonus offer--the only program in this category to earn a value vote over nine. Not only did the promotion offer members a faster route to elite, but it also included special offers for current elite-level members. This is the third win for AAdvantage in this category, but the last time American AAdvantage won a Freddie Award in any category was more than a decade ago. Last year's winner in this category, Delta SkyMiles, fell to the eighth position while eight-time winner, Southwest Rapid Rewards, is in second place with a multi-partner bonus offer. In a not too distant third place this year is AirTran Airways A+ Rewards. Last year's second place program, Northwest WorldPerks, fell to sixth place with its Elite ExtraPerks offer.

Category votes 284,572

ValuePercent
1American AAdvantage Double Elite-Qualifying Miles Promotion: Members could earn double elite-qualifying miles on all American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights from April 16 through June 15, 2008. Elite members who registered for the promotion were automatically registered for the Special Elite Rewards promotion where members were offered special gifts such as upgrades, one-day club passes and bonus miles.9.089.26%
2Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Multi-Partner Bonus Credit Promotion: Eligible members could earn up to three bonus credits from Southwest Airlines by using any of the program's preferred partners multiple times. In combination with this promotion, members also received the bonus Rapid Rewards credits available with each partner offer.8.8617.80%
3AirTran Airways A+ Rewards Triple A+ credits for Milwaukee: Customers flying to or from Milwaukee earned triple A+ Rewards credits for trav- el between May 6 and Sept. 5, 2008. Members earned three A+ Rewards credits each way for coach tickets - up from the usual one. Business class tickets earned 3.5 credits for each one-way flight. A free roundtrip ticket takes 16 credits.8.825.89%
4Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan SEA Double Promotion: After two qualifying trips, members earned double miles on all their flights between Seattle and San Francisco or Los Angeles for the rest of the year (from May 16 - Dec. 31, 2008).8.604.24%
5Continental OnePass OnePass 21st Birthday Celebration in Las Vegas: In celebration of the 21st Birthday of the OnePass program, Continental hosted a four-day event in Las Vegas that included a three-day long Texas Hold Em poker tournament at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. The winner received 21 million OnePass miles.8.586.71%
6Northwest WorldPerks Elite ExtraPerks: Gold and Platinum elite members were given, at designated thresholds, a choice of awards including confirmed system-wide upgrades, WorldClubs memberships, hotel certificates and 50% off award travel.8.558.01%
7Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles Best Friends Forever Companion Ticket Promotion: Members who booked during the December fare sale and flew one roundtrip in January 2008 received a free companion ticket.8.322.24%
8Delta SkyMiles Threshold Partner Promotion: Members could earn up to 25,000 bonus miles for participating with SkyMiles partners. For every three unique partner transactions/activities, they received 3,000 bonus miles - all the way up to 25,000 bonus miles.8.3112.96%
9American AAdvantage Companion Offer: Members who flew roundtrip on American Airlines in first, business or select coach fares from the U.S. to the U.K. (London Heathrow or Manchester) received a companion ticket to be used on a future flight to the U.K. or Caribbean.8.287.13%
10United Mileage Plus Elite Team Contest: Elite members were challenged to fly even more miles in 2008. Hand picked, four-person teams strategized how to achieve the biggest increase in elite qualifying miles over the year before. The winning team received the biggest promotional prize of the year - 50 million miles - and other prizes were awarded to the top 50 teams.8.192.33%
11Delta SkyMiles Earn 9,999 bonus miles with Avis Rentals Promotion: Members could earn 9,999 bonus miles (200X the standard earn of 50 miles per day) for a car rental with Avis at any participating U.S. airport location.8.145.81%
12US Airways Dividend Miles "Be Preferred" Invitation-Only Promotion: Select members could receive a complimentary trial Silver Preferred membership and a US Airways Club membership free for 90 days. And within that 90-day trial period, the member could get permanent status based on how many miles or segments were earned; from 7,500 miles for Silver to 15,000 miles for Gold or 22,500 miles for Platinum.8.123.98%
13Aeroplan Air Canada Go Miles and International Promotion: Members could earn up to 80,000 bonus Aeroplan miles with this offer on specified international routes operated by Air Canada, Lufthansa and SWISS. This step offer started at 25,000 miles for flying three to five segments, up to 80,000 miles for flying nine segments or more between Sept. 8 and Dec. 15, 2008.7.983.36%
14US Airways Dividend Miles Grand Slam Promotion: Members could earn up to 40,000 miles with partner activity such as hotel stays and car rentals from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2008. Members received miles by how many "hits" they earned with a partner. Also, the first 50 partici- pants with 24 "hits" received two upgrades to Gold Preferred status for a year.7.952.77%
15United Mileage Plus Award Accelerator: Starting at just $9, Mileage Plus members could easily and conveniently purchase on united.com, or at airport kiosks, double, triple or even quadruple the number of miles that they earned when flying. By multiplying the accumulated miles earned each time one flies, members could earn rewards more quickly.7.935.78%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Bonus Promotion Americas

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards


IHG Priority Club Rewards once again finds itself at the top of the Best Bonus Promotion category. This is the program's sixth consecutive win and this year Priority Club won with its offer of double points or double miles after a member's second stay. The offer gained a value vote of 9.27 and was followed once again by six-time winner in this category, Marriott Rewards, which has placed second behind IHG three times in this category. Marriott Rewards gained a value vote this year of 9.16 with its popular
MegaBonus offer.

Last year, the winner in this category got a value vote of 8.952--that value vote would have placed seventh in this year's rankings. Coming in at the number three position this year is Choice Privileges with its triple points offer. Choice Privileges was also third last year, and the top four finishers mirror the top four for last year.

The results here seem to reflect an overall feeling--keep bonuses simple. While Starwood's number seven bonus seems to have offered the same value of other bonuses--or even better because the bonus was personalized--it didn't score as high as you would expect, perhaps because there were too many choices for members to choose from.

Category votes 346,576

ValuePercent
1InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Double Points or Double Miles: Members earned double points or double miles on every stay starting with their second stay.9.274.18%
2Marriott Rewards MegaBonus: Members earned up to 50,000 bonus points for stays at over 2,900 properties.9.1632.61%
3Choice Privileges Triple Choice Privileges Points: Members could earn triple points for every dollar they spent on qualifying stays at any Choice hotel in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean between Feb. 1 and April 17, 2008.9.113.54%
4Marriott Rewards MegaMiles: Members earned double miles with their favorite airline at over 2,900 properties.9.0515.88%
5Hilton HHonors Sextuple Miles: Hilton HHonors and Delta SkyMiles members could Double Dip to earn HHonors points plus SkyMiles and earn six times the number of miles typically awarded for their Hilton Family hotel stays. Offer valid Dec. 1, 2008 - Feb. 28, 2009, for every stay of two or more nights at any of more than 1,500 participating Hilton Family hotels.9.0220.38%
6Choice Privileges Free Gas: Members could earn up to $250 in free gas at Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion and Cambria Suites hotels when they booked at choicehotels.com or 800.4CHOICE. They earned enough points for a free $50 gas card after every third stay, for up to $250 worth of free gas.9.003.25%
7Starwood Preferred Guest SPG You Choose: From Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2008, members could choose from 12 award options which included thousands of Starpoints, stays count double toward elite status, free weekend nights and more providing members ultimate control to set and reach their award goals.8.8837.48%
8Hilton HHonors Live Nation Rock n Roll Summer: Members received one complimentary ticket to a Live Nation Amphitheatre Concert after every stay at any Hilton Family hotel world wide between June 20 and Aug. 31, 2008. Tickets were valid for a complimentary general admission ('lawn') ticket to the recipient's choice of more than 1,000 Live Nation Amphitheatre 'Summer Series' shows.8.8806.36%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Bonus Promotion Europe, Middle East, Africa

Etihad Airways Etihad Guest


This is the first win in this category for Etihad Guest. Members were treated to the possibility of winning up to 600,000 miles simply for booking their flights online. At number two is Delta SkyMiles with its birthday offer. This is the highest ranking SkyMiles has received in this category. The program placed ninth last year and did not make the list the year before.

Coming in at number three is Brussels Airlines Privilege with its birthday promotion. Brussels Privilege was at the number two spot last year with another birthday promotion. Last year's number three finisher, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, can be seen at number eight this year. Last year's winner in this category, El Al Israel Airlines Matmid Club, came in at a respectable number four, followed closely by TAP Portugal Victoria at number five.

It's interesting to note that in the five years since this category has been in existence, there has been no repeat winner--a sign of healthy competition.

Category votes 68,400

ValuePercent
1Etihad Guest Members were given the opportunity to win a minimum of 100,000 Etihad Guest miles just before the holiday season simply by booking their flights online. Up to 600,000 miles were given to one member per month with a maximum of one million miles per month for three months.8.714.43%
2Delta SkyMiles Happy Birthday Wishes Promotion: As a birthday treat, members could earn double miles on any worldwide, roundtrip flight booked during the member's birthday month.8.5516.55%
3Brussels Airlines Privilege Birthday Promotion: Earn 500 extra miles for b.light economy or 2,500 extra miles for b.flex economy+ flights within Europe; 5,000 extra miles for economy class or 10,000 extra miles for business class flights between Europe and East/West/Central Africa, up to two consecutive whole months following your birthday month.8.413.76%
4El Al Israel Airlines Matmid Club American Express Transfer Bonus: Members who transferred American Express Membership Rewards points to their EL AL Matmid Club account between May 1 and June 15, 2008 received an additional bonus of 200 Matmid Gift points per 84,000 transferred.8.3142.04%
5TAP Portugal Victoria Members could get triple miles when flying TAP Executive to any TAP destination.8.3113.13%
6Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More 15 Years of Miles & More: Members could win valuable prizes at 15 stops during the 15-Year Miles & More Anniversary virtual sightseeing flight. Partner companies presented the offers and the highlight was members winning one of 150 airline partner flight tickets.8.2921.62%
7Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More The World Trip: Select Miles & More members could view their international flights online on an individualized world map as they took the flights, building up bonus miles as they went. The members could earn up to 60,000 bonus miles and they could also download the map and print it.8.2817.60%
8Qatar Airways Privilege Club Privilege Club members flying five sectors on any Qatar Airways network from Sept. 1 until Nov. 30, 2008 earned 50% more bonus miles over the total miles earned for the five sectors.8.262.05%
9Emirates Skywards Global Double Miles: Running from July until December 2008, Skywards offered its members double miles on hundreds of selected flights each month. Valid in all classes of travel and on all ticket types, this generous offer meant members flying Emirates in first, business or economy class could earn 100% bonus miles every time they flew to help reach their desired awards.8.168.17%
10Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club U.K. Offer: Members could get 15% bonus miles for transferring American Express Membership Rewards points in to Flying Club miles (15% bonus on top of normal 1 to 1 transfer relationship).8.147.58%
11airberlin topbonus Between Oct. 1, 2008 and Jan. 31, 2009, topbonus members who used the Comfort Log-in at airberlin.com to make their flight bookings could earn three award miles for every euro spent in addition to the regular award miles they normally collect on flights.8.052.13%
12American AAdvantage Double Elite-Qualifying Miles Promotion: Members could earn double elite-qualifying miles on all American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights from April 16 through June 15, 2008. Elite members who registered for the promotion were automatically registered for the Special Elite Rewards promotion where members were offered special gifts such as upgrades, one-day club passes and bonus miles.7.723.01%
13SAS EuroBonus Points Party with Blue: Members flying Blue1 in economy class fares earned 100% of points instead of the usual 25%, regardless of fare from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2008. There was no limit to the amount of miles members could earn during the promotion.7.716.56%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Bonus Promotion Europe, Middle East, Africa

Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards wins Best Bonus Promotion in EMEA for the third consecutive year--winning again with its ever popular MegaBonus where members could earn up to 50,000 bonus points. At number two this year is Hilton HHonors, replacing last year's number two, Starwood Preferred Guest. HHonors members could get up to sextuple miles with the popular promotion.

In third place is InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards, which was third last year, and a former winner of this category.

As a matter of comparison, you'll notice that Marriott's MegaMiles promotion finished much farther down the scale than their award-winning MegaBonus promotion.

Radisson goldpoints plus is keeping its program in the limelight by again qualifying for Freddie consideration. Last year's 5 for 5 promotion scored a value vote of 7.89, this year's market promotion scored a value vote of 7.89.

Hyatt is another program that seems to have hit a ceiling with their members and bonus value. Last year's Faster Free Nights scored a value vote of 7.82 vs. this year's value vote of the same promotion of 7.99.

Category votes 68,716

ValuePercent
1Marriott Rewards MegaBonus: Members earned up to 50,000 bonus points for stays at over 2,900 properties.8.8318.45%
2Hilton HHonors Sextuple Miles: Hilton HHonors and Delta SkyMiles members could Double Dip to earn HHonors points plus SkyMiles and earn six times the number of miles typically awarded for their Hilton Family hotel stays. Offer valid Dec. 1, 2008 - Feb. 28, 2009, for every stay of two or more nights at any of more than 1,500 participating Hilton Family hotels.8.5916.14%
3InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Double Points or Double Miles: Members earned double points or double miles on every stay starting with their second stay.8.509.66%
4Starwood Preferred Guest SPG You Choose: From Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2008, members could choose from 12 award options which included thousands of Starpoints, stays count double toward elite status, free weekend nights and more providing members ultimate control to set and reach their award goals.8.4710.17%
5Hilton HHonors Hilton Extra Nights 2008: Members received one night free when paying for three nights, two nights free when paying for five nights, and three nights free when paying for seven nights at participating Hilton Family hotels. HHonors members earned an additional 500 bonus points and double miles per stay. Offer dates May 1 - Oct. 6, 2008.8.4318.44%
6Marriott Rewards MegaMiles: Members earned double miles with their favorite airline at over 2,900 properties.8.3912.95%
7Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Faster Free Nights: Members earned one free night for every two stays and earned an additional 2,000 bonus points for every two stays paid for with a MasterCard card.7.993.45%
8goldpoints plus The goldpoints plus market: Between Nov. 1, 2008 and Jan. 31, 2009, members could get the very best goldpoints plus bonus offers, hand-picked exclusively for members and they also could win prizes. www. thegoldpointsplusmarket.com7.894.72%
9Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Elite Member Dining Promotion: From April to September 2008, members received a dining discount according to their tier status. Elite, Executive and Classic members received a 25%, 20% and 15% discount on spending exceeding RMB$500 in select restaurants in Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Xian and Dalian.7.792.27%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Bonus Promotion Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Kingfisher Airlines King Club


This is the first Freddie Award win for Kingfisher Airlines King Club in any category. The program wins Best Bonus this year with an exceptional bonus miles offer to celebrate the launch of international service. The program came in at number two in this category last year, so the Freddie win this year comes as no surprise.

Coming in at second place is Program of the Year winner Virgin Blue Velocity with its American Express Membership Rewards transfer promotion and at number three is Korean Air Skypass.

Two-time and last year's winner, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, falls to fourth place this year.

Category votes 58,269

ValuePercent
1Kingfisher Airlines King Club To celebrate the launch of international flights to London, King Club members were offered bonus miles for the first 60 days including double miles on all international flights, an additional 5,000 miles on a roundtrip Kingfisher First flight and 2,500 miles in Kingfisher Class. Elite members earned additional bonus miles - as much as 29,000 miles on a single roundtrip.9.0923.28%
2Virgin Blue Velocity Ultimate Triple Offer: Members earned 50% bonus points, plus the chance to win one of five luxury holidays for points transferred from American Express Membership Rewards during April. And if more than 100,000 points were transferred, the member received a free annual lounge pass. e.g. 100,000 AMEX MR points earned 150,000 Velocity Points, 150,000 prize entries and a lounge pass.9.086.03%
3Korean Air Skypass Extra Miles Offer: Skypass Million Miler Club and Morning Calm Premium members could earn 20%-30% more bonus miles according to their flight mileage Sept. 8 through Nov. 30, 2008.8.796.73%
4Jet Airways Jet Privilege 15-Year Jet Airways Anniversary Offer: Members were offered 500 bonus miles on all flights booked online on May 5, 2008 and were entered into a prize draw featuring the grand prize of a Maruti Swift Dzire Car, one of 15 Scarlet LCD TVs or one of 15 BlackBerry Pearl 8120 Smartphones.8.396.96%
5Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Members received 50% more miles with their American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold credit card with a spend of S$5,000 during Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2008. Another 50% more miles was received when they increased their spend to S$10,000 or more on the card within the same period - up to a maximum 5,000 miles.8.286.68%
6Jet Airways JetPrivilege Mumbai-San Francisco Bonus JPMiles Offer: Members who flew roundtrip on this new route earned 5,000 miles in economy, 8,000 miles in Premiere and 10,000 miles in first class.8.1933.78%
7Kingfisher Airlines King Club Credit Card Conversion: Members could get up to 25 percent more miles when converting their credit card points to King Miles.8.19120.00%
8Northwest Airlines Elite ExtraPerks: Gold and Platinum elite members were given, at designated thresholds, a choice of awards including confirmed system-wide upgrades, WorldClubs memberships, hotel certificates and 50% off award travel.8.183.81%
9Emirates Skywards Global Double Miles: Running from July until December 2008, Skywards offered its members double miles on hundreds of selected flights each month. Valid in all classes of travel and on all ticket types, this generous offer meant members flying Emirates in first, business or economy class could earn 100% bonus miles every time they flew to help reach their desired awards.8.1534.30%
10Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More 15 Years of Miles & More: Members could win valuable prizes at 15 stops during the 15-Year Miles & More Anniversary virtual sightseeing flight. Partner companies presented the offers and the highlight was members winning one of 150 airline partner flight tickets.8.1512.34%
11Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More The World Trip: Select Miles & More members could view their international flights online on an individualized world map as they took the flights, building up bonus miles as they went. The members could earn up to 60,000 bonus miles and they could also download the map and print it.8.0342.10%
12Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Members could earn up to 10,500 bonus Asia Miles when flying three roundtrips from Taiwan to China. Members earned 1,000 bonus miles for the first roundtrip, 3,000 for the second and 6,500 for the third roundtrip.8.0304.51%
13American AAdvantage Double Elite-Qualifying Miles Promotion: Members could earn double elite-qualifying miles on all American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection flights from April 16 through June 15, 2008. Elite members who registered for the promotion were automatically registered for the Special Elite Rewards promotion where members were offered special gifts such as upgrades, one-day club passes and bonus miles.7.502.44%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Bonus Promotion Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Hilton HHonors


This is the first Best Bonus Promotion win in this region for Hilton HHonors. The program won this year with its popular Hilton Extra Nights promotion where members received free nights when paying for a specified number of nights. And along with the free nights, they received bonus points and double miles per stay.

Number two this year is Marriott Rewards with its MegaBonus. Marriott placed third last year with its MegaBonus offer. At number three this year is Starwood
Preferred Guest and its SPG You Choose promotion.

Hyatt Gold Passport won the Freddie last year with its Faster Free Nights promotion, but this year with the same promotion, the program fell to fourth place.

Category votes 43,293

ValuePercent
1Hilton HHonors Hilton Extra Nights 2008: Members received one night free when paying for three nights, two nights free when paying for five nights, and three nights free when paying for seven nights at participating Hilton Family hotels. HHonors members earned an additional 500 bonus points and double miles per stay. Offer dates May 1 - Oct. 6, 2008.8.6917.57%
2Marriott Rewards MegaBonus: Members earned up to 50,000 bonus points for stays at over 2,900 properties.8.6018.44%
3Starwood Preferred Guest SPG You Choose: From Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2008, members could choose from 12 award options which included thou sands of Starpoints, stays count double toward elite status, free weekend nights and more providing members ultimate control to set and reach their award goals.8.4711.34%
4Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Faster Free Nights: Members earned one free night for every two stays and earned an additional 2,000 bonus points for every two stays paid for with a MasterCard card.8.3710.07%
5Marriott Rewards MegaMiles: Members earned double miles with their favorite airline at over 2,900 properties.8.32411.72%
6Hilton HHonors Sextuple Miles: Hilton HHonors and Delta SkyMiles members could Double Dip to earn HHonors points plus SkyMiles and earn six times the number of miles typically awarded for their Hilton Family hotel stays. Offer valid Dec. 1, 2008 - Feb. 28, 2009, for every stay of two or more nights at any of more than 1,500 participating Hilton Family hotels.8.3227.27%
7InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards Double Points or Double Miles: Members earned double points or double miles on every stay starting with their second stay.8.278.17%
8Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Stays Count Double: All member stays between January and March 2008 at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide counted double toward achieving tier status.8.195.23%
9Radisson goldpoints plus Points To Go: Members could earn up to 100,000 bonus points for their stays at nearly 1,000 properties worldwide between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2008 depending on the number of nights stayed. For example, for five nights, members earned 5,000 bonus points, 10 nights 10,000 bonus points, up to 100,000 bonus points for 25 nights.7.985.49%
10Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Elite Member Dining Promotion: From April to September 2008, members received a dining discount according to their tier status. Elite, Executive and Classic members received a 25%, 20% and 15% discount on spending exceeding RMB$500 in select restaurants in Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Xian and Dalian.7.793.88%


Best Affinity Credit Card

Choosing your frequent flyer program might be easy, but choosing the credit card that offers you the best value and opportunities for earning miles or points takes a bit more effort. Other than flying or staying at a hotel, this is the most prevalent way to earn miles and points and many frequent travelers would never consider giving up their affinity credit card to earn points or miles. With an affinity credit card, each purchase brings members one step closer to an award, without having to go any further than their local grocery store or online shopping mall. Voters were asked to vote on the affinity credit card offering the best benefits and opportunities to earn bonus miles or points.

Best Affinity Credit Card Americas

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express


For the third year in a row, Starwood Preferred Guest American Express takes home the Freddie for Best Affinity Credit Card. The card wins with its favorable conversions to miles in over 30 frequent flyer programs, double points for Starwood spends, fee-free the first year and $45 thereafter and the no-capacity controls award redemption. Diners was the tops in this category for nine consecutive years, but has fallen off the charts in the last three Freddie Awards.

The second and third place winners from the last two years have traded places this year with Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card coming in at number two and American Express Membership Rewards finishing in the third place spot. Alaska Airlines is the top finisher for the airlines with its Visa Signature Card at fourth place. Last year, Delta Air Lines was the top finisher for airlines with its SkyMiles American Express; this year, the card placed 11th.

Don't look now but airline affiliated credit cards continue to lose ground to hotel affiliated credit cards. Last year, co-branded airline cards represented 69 percent of the qualified cards, this year, 56 percent. AirTran entered into consideration this year and finished a very respectable sixth (Rising Star?) while Midwest Airlines (at number nine last year) did not garner enough ballots to qualify this year.

Category votes 252,396

ValuePercent
1Starwood Preferred Guest American Express9.423.93%
2Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card9.397.13%
3American Express Membership Rewards9.339.41%
4Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card9.283.94%
5Hilton HHonors Platinum American Express9.246.20%
6AirTran Airways A+ Visa9.163.32%
7Hilton Citi HHonors Visa Signature Card9.092.72%
8Choice Privileges Visa8.972.30%
9Marriott Rewards Visa Signature Card8.9610.01%
10Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa Card8.956.43%
11Delta SkyMiles American Express8.749.36%
12Northwest WorldPerks Visa Signature Card8.653.01%
13American Citi/AAdvantage Credit Card8.587.64%
14Continental OnePass MasterCard8.532.33%
15United Mileage Plus Visa Credit Card8.444.79%
16US Airways Dividend Miles Visa/MasterCard8.252.92%


Best Affinity Credit Card Europe, Middle East, Africa

Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card


Miles & More takes home its third consecutive Freddie in this category. Earning one mile for every euro spent, cardholders can also earn miles for referring friends to the card and as long as you keep the card, your miles will never expire, even if you no longer have frequent flyer status.

In second place, and a former winner is Brussels
Airlines American Express, with a value vote of just .02 less than this year's Freddie winner. The same card placed third in last year's Freddie Awards. Coming in at number three this year is American Express Membership Rewards--last year's fourth place finisher. TAP Portugal Victoria Visa, which came in second last year did not receive at least two percent of the votes to be listed here.

In the Americas, airlines only counted for 56 percent of the qualified credit cards, here, 77 percent of those that qualified are airline sponsored. But that may be changing. Last year, Marriott was the sole hotel credit card in this category. This year Hilton also qualified--a 100 percent increase for the hotel cards. In a continuing decline of importance, Diners Club Club Rewards was hanging on last year in this category (having disappeared entirely from the Americas and JPAA categories) but did not qualify this year--the first time ever that Diners Club was not represented in any category--and they used to own this Freddie category.

Category votes 63,670

ValuePercent
1Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card9.1225.25%
2Brussels Airlines American Express9.102.80%
3American Express Membership Rewards9.037.15%
4Marriott Rewards Visa8.734.77%
5Turkish Airlines Shop&Miles Visa8.6911.59%
6Virgin Atlantic Airways American Express Card from MBNA8.492.93%
7Delta SkyMiles Visa8.452.73%
8British Airways American Express8.423.67%
9Etihad HSBC Etihad Guest Credit Card8.392.20%
10Air France/KLM American Express8.325.36%
11SAS EuroBonus Diners Club8.232.02%
12SAS EuroBonus MasterCard8.122.25%
13Hilton HHonors Platinum Visa Card7.953.82%


Best Affinity Credit Card Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity NAB Gold Card American
Express/Visa


First time winner in this category, Virgin Blue Velocity NAB Gold Card American Express/Visa wins. The card is unique in that cardholders receive an American Express and Visa card for one account. The American Express card offers two Velocity points for each AU$2 spent on the card while the Visa offers one Velocity point for every AU$2 spent. And there is no cap on the amount of points you can earn.

In second place is last year's winner, Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card followed by former winner in this category, American Express Membership Rewards at number three for the third consecutive year.

It seems almost natural that a program like Virgin Blue, which won Program of the Year, would have the momentum to get additional wins in other categories and this finish seems to prove that point.

Korean Air continues to make its presence known by improving its value vote for its Visa from number seven last year to number four this year. And Kingfisher made its maiden splash with a number five finish.

Observation: Last year, over 50 percent of the qualifiers had value votes below eight. This year, none of the qualifiers had value votes below eight. Looks like members are demanding better value and if not received, then not bothering to vote the credit card in.

Category votes 50,856

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity NAB Gold Card American Express/Visa8.783.07%
2Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card8.4512.01%
3American Express Membership Rewards8.446.88%
4Korean Air Visa8.4326.59%
5Kingfisher Airlines American Express First Platinum Credit Card8.43136.53%
6Lufthansa Miles & More Visa8.412.95%
7JAL Mileage Bank JALCARD8.402.92%
8Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express8.372.70%
9ANA Visa/MasterCard8.022.15%


Best Member Communications

Communication is key, in relationships, and in frequent travel programs. Programs that know how to harness the power of communication have members who are loyal and active. The way in which programs communicate to members sets the tone for the travel experience and a well-written email can move the member to action. The statements sent to members, e-newsletters, targeted offer communications and printed newsletters all contribute toward communication between the programs and their members. Frequent travel program executives have also been known to visit and chat with their members in online communities and to start their own communities. Voters were asked to vote on the program that communicates most effectively with its members through such outlets as newsletters, mileage statements, membership guides, direct mail, email or welcome kits.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Member Communications Americas

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan


Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards have traded places this year with the

Freddie going to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. This is Mileage Plan's sixth win in this category and last year ended a four consecutive year winning streak for the program. Mileage Plan keeps in touch with members through a monthly e-statement with news and offers as well as detailed account information. The Alaska Airlines Insider e-newsletter also keeps members informed and engaged and Alaska is known for its close communication with its top elite members offering face-to-face meetings.

The top three finishers in this category, Alaska, Southwest and Continental, all received a value vote over nine. Continental has been a winner in this category six times but has not finished as the winner in over 10 years. However, considering that the program finished in seventh place last year, gaining up to the number three spot this year is quite an accomplishment. Last year's third place finisher, AirTran A+ Rewards, has slipped to fourth place this year.

Good news? Members are more pleased with communications this year. Last year 42 percent of qualifiers had value votes below eight. This year ... none. Also, last year no program scored higher than eight and this year we had three programs score at least a nine.

Category votes 404,802

ValuePercent
1Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.213.74%
2Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards9.0415.03%
3Continental Airlines OnePass9.027.70%
4AirTran Airways A+ Rewards8.775.13%
5JetBlue TrueBlue8.692.49%
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.5516.00%
7Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.527.45%
8American Airlines AAdvantage8.4914.38%
9United Airlines Mileage Plus8.308.75%
10Aeroplan8.152.85%
11US Airways Dividend Miles8.146.53%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Member Communications Americas

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards rides to the top in the Best Member Communications category for the 11th time, coming in at number one for the second consecutive year. Marriott Rewards places a high priority on member communications and this shows up at the Freddie Awards with a very impressive 9.49 value vote. Marriott sends out a weekly email to keep members informed about eBreaks rates, where members can find last-minute weekend discounts of 20 percent or more at participating Marriott hotels.

Coming in at number two this year was Hilton HHonors--up from a sixth place finish last year while last year's number two program, InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards, came in at number three. It should be noted that Choice Hotels Choice Privileges received a very close value vote to Priority Club Rewards' value vote.

Last year, no program received a value vote over 8.829 and this year all six top finishers received value votes over nine. Also of note is the impressive 48.84 percent of votes that Marriott gathered from Marriott Rewards members, which represents 214,308 of the total 438,945 votes cast for this category.

Category votes 438,945

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.4948.84%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.3829.16%
3InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.313.42%
4Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.305.18%
5Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.166.51%
6Wyndham Hotel Group Wyndham Rewards (formerly TripRewards)9.062.02%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Member Communications Europe, Middle East, Africa

Etihad Airways Etihad Guest


This is the first win in the Best Member Communications category for Etihad Guest and with no less than a very impressive 9.45 value vote. Clearly, the program does a good job of keeping in touch with members. Although this is Etihad Guest's first win, the program has hovered in the top three over the last few years. Etihad keeps in touch with its members through a monthly e-statement and e-newsletter which keeps members informed of Etihad Guest news and offers such as the recent 2,500 bonus points when booking online.

At number two this year is Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More--quite a large step up from last year's Freddie Awards where it placed ninth in this category. And following Miles & More this year with just a .03 difference in the value vote is Delta SkyMiles. Delta placed eighth in this category last year.

Last year's winner, Gulf Air Frequent flyer, fell to eighth this year while former winner Qatar Airways Privilege Club fell off the list for not receiving at least two percent of the votes cast in this category.

Virgin Flying Club improved almost a whole point in their value vote, moving from a low eight rating last year to a very high eight this year.

Category votes 104,964

ValuePercent
1Etihad Airways Etihad Guest9.452.97%
2Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More9.1027.31%
3Delta Air Lines SkyMiles9.074.31%
4Brussels Airlines Privilege9.0143.53%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles9.0128.87%
6Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club8.914.55%
7TAP Portugal Victoria8.892.29%
8Emirates Skywards8.7633.14%
9Gulf Air Frequent flyer8.7612.84%
10Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.3647.21%
11British Airways Executive Club8.3618.00%
12SAS EuroBonus8.3604.06%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Member Communications Europe, Middle East, Africa

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


This is the second consecutive win for Marriott Rewards in this category that is now entering its fifth year and Marriott Rewards is the first program to repeat a win. The program is also a clear winner in this category with it being the only one to have a value vote over nine.

Last year's number two program and former winner in this category, Starwood Preferred Guest, has moved down to number three and Hilton HHonors has taken its place at number two. This is a nice rise for HHonors, which featured in sixth place last year and seventh the year before.

Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle did not qualify for the first time in recent history and neither did Choice Hotels Choice Privileges, which fell out last year but was a consistent qualifier and well-represented finisher in prior years. Accor and Golden Tulip, when qualifying, both score near or at the bottom in average value vote.

Category votes 95,166

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.0828.58%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.9729.25%
3Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.688.49%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.677.55%
5Radisson goldpoints plus8.426.86%
6Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.323.46%
7Accor Hotels A|Club7.714.13%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.633.34%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Member Communications Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity


Virgin Blue Velocity takes home its fourth Freddie Award this year with this win for Best Member Communications, moving up from the program's fourth place finish last year. Members we've spoken to have been very complimentary about the communications they receive from Velocity. Fun, inventive and effective are just some of the words used to describe the way Velocity speaks to its members.

Coming in at number two, up from last year's number three, is Kingfisher Airlines King Club, and last year's number two program, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, sees itself at number three this year.

Last year's winner, Korean Air Skypass, fell to fifth place this year.

Both U.S.-based programs with large membership numbers in this region, Northwest and United, that qualified last year fell off for consideration this year by not garnering at least two percent of the total ballot count for the category. And neither did top finishers last year, Etihad and Qatar.

Category votes 81,764

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity9.384.10%
2Kingfisher Airlines King Club9.3742.75%
3Jet Airways JetPrivilege9.248.75%
4Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer9.065.08%
5Korean Air Skypass8.8034.86%
6Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.8013.27%
7Emirates Skywards8.682.06%
8Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.602.95%
9Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.472.54%
10JAL Mileage Bank8.462.18%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Member Communications Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest


Last year Marriott Rewards made a clean sweep in the Best Member Communications category, but this year Starwood Preferred Guest takes top honors in the Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia region. Starwood came in at number three last year. Starwood reaches out to members worldwide with specialized communications and international travelers appreciate the consistent communication and quality of the hotels.

Marriott Rewards lost out on the Freddie this year, but not by much. The Marriott value vote is 8.75 and Starwood's winning value vote is 8.77. Following Marriott at number three is Hilton HHonors, last year's number six--once again, HHonors has made movement toward the top. Last year's number two program in this category, Hyatt Gold Passport, has fallen to number five.

Two programs who did not qualify last year make their entrance: Best Western Rewards and Radisson goldpoints plus. While Accor Hotels relaunched their loyalty program late last year, there has only been a minimum increase in their value vote from members to date.

Keeping with what seems to be a trend from the value votes for other categories within this region, no program was rated a nine.

Category votes 61,121

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.779.31%
2Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7527.98%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.7022.38%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.336.99%
5Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.2814.07%
6Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.113.44%
7Radisson goldpoints plus7.915.25%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.662.80%
9Accor Hotels A|Club7.643.56%


Best Web Sites

Web sites have become a major component of frequent travel programs and continue to become more and more important as the programs build their programs around them. Long gone are the days when the Web site was simply a companion to the phone and membership guides. Today, members expect all aspects of the program to be presented online, from enrollment, to mileage/points statements and award redemption; preferably presented in their native language with intuitive navigation. Busy travelers expect the program Web sites to be one-stop-shops for all aspects of the program with just a few clicks and the programs themselves ask their members to think of their Web sites as their first stop. Voters were asked to vote on the Web site with the best online program information.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Web Site Americas

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan


Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan wins Best Web site for the sixth time and the third consecutive win. The Mileage Plan Web site wins with good, clean design, ease of use and improving functionality, such as the ability to redeem airline partner awards online and an award calendar to see if award seats are available at a glance. "Jenn" the virtual assistant is also online to answer any question Mileage Plan members might have.

Placing second again this year is Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, a two-time winner in this category. New to the top three is AirTran Airways A+ Rewards taking the place of last year's third place finisher, Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles, which fell off the top finishers list this year.

Of interest is the movement of Delta and Continental--Delta moved down to number seven from last year's number four and Continental moved up to number four from last year's number six. Frontier EarlyReturns has slid off the chart from its fifth place finish last year and JetBlue TrueBlue moved from number 10 last year to number six this year.

While the average value vote moved higher this year for this category, there has been minimal movement by the perennial bottom dwellers of this category--
American, United, US Airways and Aeroplan.

Category votes 371,116

ValuePercent
1Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.225.30%
2Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards9.103.83%
3AirTran Airways A+ Rewards9.0317.51%
4Continental Airlines OnePass8.837.89%
5Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.657.04%
6JetBlue TrueBlue8.6422.90%
7Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.64015.48%
8American Airlines AAdvantage8.6113.84%
9United Airlines Mileage Plus8.417.90%
10US Airways Dividend Miles8.305.83%
11Aeroplan8.142.60%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Web Site Americas

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


This is the second win for the Marriott Rewards Web site, knocking the IHG Priority Club Rewards Web site off the pinnacle with that program's fourth consecutive Freddie Award in this category last year. Marriott has put together a no-nonsense, effective and user-friendly Web site that is receiving high praises from Marriott Rewards members. Everything you expect from a loyalty program Web site can be found at marriott.com/rewards: news, program information, easy to search for bonus offers and a DreamRewards Tracker that will track your progress towards the awards you most want.

Not only did Priority Club Rewards not win this year, it fell to fourth place. But it should be noted that the program won last year with a 8.928 value vote, and did noticeably better this year, with a 9.23 value vote--but even though the members of the program saw an improvement, the members of Marriott Rewards and second place finisher Choice Hotels Choice Privileges, saw even more improvement and voted accordingly. The Choice Privileges Web site finished third last year and
Hilton HHonors placed third this year.

Observation: Nine programs qualified last year in this category, only five this year, and the most puzzling question of all? Starwood Preferred Guest as the lowest-rated Web site that made the list.

Category votes 406,630

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.4548.39%
2Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.305.25%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.2828.82%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.233.66%
5Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.106.62%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Web Site Europe, Middle East, Africa

Etihad Airways Etihad Guest


This is the third consecutive Freddie Award win for Etihad Guest in this category. The Web site features a "slider" tool that allows members to design their own cash plus miles awards (you can redeem an award with as little as one mile), a massive online awards catalog as well as full information and functionality that frequent flyers expect from an award-winning Web site.

Coming in at second place this year is the Delta SkyMiles Web site, rising up from fourth place last year. Last year's second place program, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, is not on the list this year. Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More rounds out the top three Best Web Sites, following closely behind Delta with its value vote.

Observation: It's puzzling that South African Airways Voyager did not even qualify this year when last year they had, by a wide margin, the highest percentage of votes--32.9 percent. But there does seem to be progress among programs in this category. Last year, 46.2 percent of program Web sites had value votes at seven, the year before, 31.6 percent. This year not a single qualifying program had a value vote below eight.

Aeroflot Bonus which won the category two years ago did not qualify last year or this year.

Category votes 97,047

ValuePercent
1Etihad Airways Etihad Guest8.992.84%
2Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.954.17%
3Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.9126.58%
4Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club8.884.71%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles8.818.52%
6TAP Portugal Victoria8.802.08%
7Gulf Air Frequent flyer8.7322.49%
8Brussels Airlines Privilege8.7313.20%
9Emirates Skywards8.523.92%
10British Airways Executive Club8.319.81%
11Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.247.46%
12SAS EuroBonus8.193.67%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Web Site Europe, Middle East, Africa

Starwood Preferred Guest


This is the third (second consecutive) win for Starwood Preferred Guest in this category after taking the place of two-time winner Marriott Rewards. The Starwood Web site can be accessed in English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and Italian and has one of the most user-friendly (and enticing) ways to access hotel promotions that we've seen. Hilton HHonors comes in at number two, taking the second place honor from Marriott Rewards, which is at number three this year. Marriott is a former two-time winner in this category.

We're going to make a positive observation:
Starwood, Hilton, Shangri-La and Best Western all made a jump of a whole point or more in the value vote by members of their programs from last year's results.


Marriott and Hilton accounted for over 50 percent of the total members' votes in this category, the highest pair total in any category.

Category votes 85,750

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.008.61%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.8328.68%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.6128.34%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.558.19%
5Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.272.02%
6Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.213.77%
7Radisson goldpoints plus8.196.54%
8Accor Hotels A|Club7.774.28%
9Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.673.07%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Web Site Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity


Freddie, meet Velocity. Virgin Blue Velocity once again takes home a Freddie, this time for Best Web Site as it moves up from last year's fourth place position. Satisfied Velocity members report that the Web site is "well planned," "easy to use" and "simple to understand."

Last year's winner, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, is at number two this year while Kingfisher Airlines King Club moves from number six last year to number three this year. Two-time winner Qatar Airways Privilege Club did not get enough votes this year to qualify.

Korean Air continues to rate high with their members with a number five finish this year, up from last year's number seven finish. Three years ago Korean Air did not even rank in this category.

Observation: Three years ago three U.S.-based programs qualified in this category, four qualified two years ago and two qualified last year. This year ... none.

Of the Japan-based programs, ANA bested JAL each of the past three years. But this year, JAL has the value vote edge.

Category votes 73,140

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity9.374.15%
2Jet Airways JetPrivilege9.299.40%
3Kingfisher Airlines King Club9.1638.73%
4Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer8.855.96%
5Korean Air Skypass8.695.18%
6Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.653.23%
7Emirates Skywards8.523.02%
8Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.472.66%
9Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.433.30%
10JAL Mileage Bank8.292.29%
11ANA Mileage Club8.262.25%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Web Site Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards wins for a third consecutive year for its ability to reach out to members in Asia/Pacific. Dedicated Web sites are available for members residing in Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Once again moving up the ladder, and coming in at second place, up from last year's sixth place finish, is Hilton
HHonors. And at third place is last year's second place program, Starwood Preferred Guest.

Hyatt Gold Passport slipped to number five from their number three finish in each of the two previous years. Gold Passport won this category three years ago.

IHG Priority Club Rewards seems to have found a comfortable place in value vote from their members, they have finished number four in each of the last three years--increasing their value vote each year just slightly. Best Western Rewards returns to qualified status after not qualifying last year, although they qualified the two previous years.

And Shangri-La continues to hover around the middle of the field, dropping a single place from last year but besting their perennial seventh place finish in the prior two years.

Category votes 53,066

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7127.48%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.7022.18%
3Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.639.84%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.347.32%
5Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.2913.75%
6Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle7.993.58%
7Radisson goldpoints plus7.965.17%
8Accor Hotels A|Club7.7143.51%
9Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.7122.52%


Best Elite-Level Program

It's been said that the best way to judge a country is to look at how it treats the least of its citizens. It can be argued that the best way to judge a frequent travel program is to look at the way it treats its topmost customers. Elite members are the most valued customers from a revenue point of view, and retaining them can be a program's highest priority. With so many ways in which members can earn miles and points, elite programs are constantly evolving to do their best to keep the elite members happy--and these exalted members can be rather particular about the benefits they desire most. Voters were asked to vote on the elite-level program that offers the best combination of benefits and bonuses for elite members.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Elite-Level Program Americas

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan


Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan wins for the fourth year in a row. Elite-level members appreciate the upgrades, waived fees, priority treatment at the airport and the variety of partners they can fly to earn elite status. The winner of this category is often reflected in the Program of the Year category. Alaska has won four Freddie Awards this year, more than any other airline in the Americas.

Northwest WorldPerks shot up to second place last year from an eighth-place finish the year before but finished in third place behind Continental Airlines OnePass this year. Continental OnePass can boast of 12 former wins in this category and this second place position brings the program close to its former glory. With a value vote of 9.12 this year, OnePass outperformed Alaska's value vote of 8.997 last year when they won this category. Once again Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns has fallen off the list, this time after placing third last year.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in this category is the fall of Rapid Rewards. Southwest had solid finishes at number three, two and three years ago, a slight dip to four last year, but the fall to eight this year is puzzling, given the push behind its A-List program. We don't know if there might be some confusion with their Companion Award (often viewed by members as an elite style benefit) but this is a very strange finish for an otherwise world-class showing for a number of years.

Category votes 261,419

ValuePercent
1Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.254.37%
2Continental Airlines OnePass9.129.12%
3Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.997.96%
4AirTran Airways A+ Rewards8.915.10%
5United Airlines Mileage Plus8.818.76%
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.7817.67%
7American Airlines AAdvantage8.6614.18%
8Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards8.5711.65%
9US Airways Dividend Miles8.536.15%
10Aeroplan8.313.01%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Elite-Level Program Americas

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards once again finds itself taking home the Best Elite-Level Program Freddie Award. This is the ninth win for the program after losing out to IHG Priority Club Rewards last year. Marriott Rewards elite-level members get bonus base points according to their elite status, elite only awards, dedicated reservations line and room upgrades, free breakfast and arrival gifts depending on their status.

Coming in at number two is Starwood Hotels
Starwood Preferred Guest, a six-time winner in this category, and up from a third place finish last year. Rounding out the top three (and a very close finish to SPG) is Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors, a four-time winner in this category that moved up from number five last year. It's been more than 10 years since Hilton's last win--so we'll see if they continue to rise.

You've got to feel for Priority Club though. They increased their value vote from last year and yet they dropped to number four this year.

It does appear it is getting more difficult to qualify in this category. Two years ago nine programs qualified; last year seven and this year, only five.

Category votes 337,908

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.4046.84%
2Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.2747.15%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.27130.03%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.193.82%
5Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.185.42%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Elite-Level Program Europe, Middle East, Africa

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles


This is the first win for Delta SkyMiles for any international Freddie Award. Delta's elite-level program placed sixth this year in the Americas region but has come out on top for the EMEA region (they did finish number four in this category two years ago so they aren't exactly strangers). Delta's elite members enjoy upgrades, discounted airport lounge membership and many more perks. And for the top earners, there is a well-defined Million Miler program that offers lifetime Silver, Gold and Platinum Medallion status when you earn over one million miles. Delta's continued network growth in Europe this past year seems to be paying dividends and as we know, many European programs were trimming elements of their programs (and adding hefty fuel surcharges) allowing Delta's program to appear more generous.

Coming in at number two is this year's Program of the Year EMEA winner and former winner of this category,
Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, which came in at number eight last year.

Two-time and last year's winner, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, came in at number four this year while Etihad Guest is very close at number three, down from second place last year.

We're impressed with the presence of Turkish Airlines in the rating as well as Brussels Airlines and TAP.

Category votes 76,366

ValuePercent
1Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.934.08%
2Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club8.8134.52%
3Etihad Airways Etihad Guest8.8103.10%
4Qatar Airways Privilege Club8.782.18%
5Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.7725.72%
6Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles8.769.66%
7TAP Portugal Victoria8.692.12%
8Brussels Airlines Privilege8.673.12%
9Gulf Air Frequent flyer8.582.76%
10Emirates Skywards8.544.02%
11British Airways Executive Club8.388.38%
12Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.367.74%
13SAS EuroBonus8.313.82%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Elite-Level Program Europe, Middle East, Africa

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


This is a repeat win for Best Elite-Level Program EMEA for Marriott Rewards, although they have not placed at the top the last two years. Not only can Marriott Rewards elite members look forward to earning extra points with status, but they can also take advantage of weekend discounts at Courtyard and SpringHill Suites locations, priority late checkout at all hotel brands and a reservations guarantee.

Number two this year is Hilton HHonors, a step up from fifth place last year and sixth the year before. Last year's winner, Starwood Preferred Guest, is number three this year. Starwood has won three out of the five years that this category has been offered.

One program that has benefited from its merger of various worldwide programs is Radisson goldpoints plus. With a number five finish this year, they have finished no lower than that for the past four years, actually rising to three two years ago. The member comment on the right really illustrates that point.

Want to measure a program's improvement? Best Western Rewards went from a value vote of 6.72 two years ago to over a full point improvement of 7.88 this year. And we're still wondering what happened to former qualifying programs, Golden Tulip and Choice Hotels.

Category votes 70,198

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.9828.10%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.9231.05%
3Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.708.93%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.568.39%
5Radisson goldpoints plus8.295.97%
6Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.173.52%
7Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.882.54%
8Accor Hotels A|Club7.843.79%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Elite-Level Program Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Jet Airways JetPrivilege


Jet Airways JetPrivilege wins the Best Elite-Level Program Freddie in this region for the second year in a row. JetPrivilege elite members get upgrades, additional baggage allowance and free airport lounge visits among other perks.

Just a breath away from Jet Airways JetPrivilege is
Virgin Blue Velocity with a value vote difference of only .01. At number three is Kingfisher Airlines King Club.
Former winner Northwest WorldPerks came in fourth while former winners in this category, Qatar Airways
Privilege Club and Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, did not garner enough votes to place and be listed here.

Want to measure one program's progress in this category? Qantas, which finished fifth this year, finished at number 18 two years ago. The Korean Air Skypass program continues its excellent run at number six, one better than seventh place last year. And it comes as no surprise that the two U.S.-based frequent flyer programs with the largest membership bases in this region continue to do well, Northwest at number four and United at number nine.

Because this category is often regarded as the most vital--a measure from a program's best customers--it is surprising to us that no program has scored at least a nine in the past several years, though value vote nines do exist in other categories.

Category votes 59,494

ValuePercent
1Jet Airways JetPrivilege8.969.61%
2Virgin Blue Velocity8.953.47%
3Kingfisher Airlines King Club8.8138.54%
4Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.662.06%
5Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.642.56%
6Korean Air Skypass8.626.19%
7Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.613.16%
8Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer8.594.87%
9United Airlines Mileage Plus8.552.20%
10JAL Mileage Bank8.452.41%
11Emirates Skywards8.4032.83%
12Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.4013.20%
13ANA Mileage Club8.392.08%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Elite-Level Program Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest


Starwood Preferred Guest gets the Freddie Award for Best Elite-Level Program for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in this five-year-old category. Elite bonus points, late check out and a lower minimum threshold when converting points to frequent flyer miles are three of the perks that come with a Preferred Guest elite membership.

Last year's number six program, Hilton HHonors, has moved up to the second spot. Following HHonors is last year's number two finisher, Marriott Rewards. Former winner in this category, Hyatt Gold Passport, is at number four this year.

While Shangri-La Golden Circle has qualified yearly in this category, we welcome back the Best Western Rewards and Radisson goldpoints plus programs which did not qualify last year.

What we like best about this category is the improvements the programs have made for their members reflected in the value vote. Consider this: the winner three years ago scored only a 7.87, the lowest winning value vote of any category. While we would like to see the programs win with a nine or better, at least this category is no longer stuck in the sevens. Observation: We think the merger of the Le Meridien program into SPG has helped the overall value vote for Starwood in this category--it was at 8.55 the last two years, and now look at it.

Category votes 43,023

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.9210.48%
2Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.8323.50%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7527.30%
4Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.4313.05%
5InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.427.65%
6Radisson goldpoints plus8.144.89%
7Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.023.48%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.8242.08%
9Accor Hotels A|Club7.8223.09%


Best Award Redemption

If award redemption is easy, you have a very happy program member. If it's difficult, call out the National Guard, you might need some help. If there's one thing that irks frequent travelers the most, it's the unavailability of awards--and the hassles of redeeming them. We've learned that it's not just about making seats and rooms available, it's also about the process. Does the program make it easy to change your itinerary if your travel plans change? Does it require members to jump through hoops to get an award? What fees are involved for close-in award redemptions or when you have to call the service center to claim the award? We never said that award redemption would be easy, but some programs make it easier than others. Voters were asked to vote on the program that makes award redemption the most user-friendly--can you get the award you want when you want it?

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Redemption Americas

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards


This award category was introduced in 1998 and no other frequent flyer program has ever won--Rapid Rewards tops this all-important category for an 11th consecutive year. Over and over, we've heard from members that they like the simplicity and ease of getting a free ticket. When a member earns 16 credits (eight roundtrips), a free flight is waiting for them in their account.

Alaska Airlines comes in at number two for the third year in a row. Mileage Plan regularly makes an appearance at number two or three but can't quite get the momentum up to conquer Southwest, although it's getting closer. Alaska's Mileage Plan trails Rapid Rewards by only .02 value vote this year. And once again Continental OnePass rounds out the top three. All top three airlines improved their value vote this year with Continental basically matching the winning value vote for Southwest last year (Southwest got a value vote of 9.035 last year, and Continental's value vote this year is 9.04).

Of note is AirTran Airways A+ Rewards making a move from number eight last year to number four this year. A+ Rewards is a program to watch.

This was a banner year for award redemption and there were improvements in the value vote across the board. Confusing to us is that both American and United have the statistically best award redemption which just does not seem to get valued enough by their members.

Category votes 294,951

ValuePercent
1Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards9.2118.01%
2Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.194.51%
3Continental Airlines OnePass9.047.59%
4AirTran Airways A+ Rewards8.845.71%
5American Airlines AAdvantage8.6213.53%
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.6116.33%
7Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.597.00%
8United Airlines Mileage Plus8.477.47%
9US Airways Dividend Miles8.355.67%
10Aeroplan7.992.93%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Redemption Americas

Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors


This is a first time win for Hilton HHonors in the Best Award Redemption category. This win very well could reflect the program's decision in early 2008 to drop all blackout dates and capacity controls for award redemption.

Last year's winner, IHG Priority Club Rewards, finishes in second place this year while one-time winner in this category, Marriott Rewards, is number three again this year.

Starwood Preferred Guest, no stranger to winning this category with eight consecutive wins, places fifth this year. However, even though fifth place seems like a long way from number one, Starwood still earned an impressive 9.28 value vote.

All programs that qualified this year scored significantly higher than the 9.09 value vote which won the category last year.

Two programs missing that qualified last year are Hyatt Gold Passport and Best Western Rewards. Choice Privileges for the third year in a row finishes in the number four position.

A program that was progressing well in the rankings for a few years but has not qualified for the past two years is TripRewards--now Wyndham Rewards. The change to a qualifying vote count of two percent of the total votes is likely the reason the program failed to qualify.

Category votes 349,095

ValuePercent
1Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.4329.23%
2InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.334.17%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.3147.39%
4Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.305.76%
5Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.286.99%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Redemption Europe, Middle East, Africa

Etihad Airways Etihad Guest


Etihad Guest wins for the second consecutive year. Members of Etihad Guest can start spending their miles with as little as one mile--the program offers the ultimate in cash and miles flexibility for award redemption. It's obvious that the members appreciate this option and the ease in claiming awards.

Delta SkyMiles once again does well in the EMEA region, coming in at number two--up from eighth place last year and replacing former winner of this category, Gulf Air Frequent flyer, in second place last year. Gulf Air moves down to sixth position this year. And rounding out the top three is Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club--a vast improvement over last year's 11th place finish.

Also moving up the charts was Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More, from number 10 last year to this year's number four. Turkish Airlines moved up a notch from six to five and last year's number three, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, did not receive enough votes to qualify this year. And in case you noticed, British Airways Executive Club, which ranked last in the past two years moved up in the ranking to a number 10 finish this year.

Observation: Three years ago there were four U.S.-based programs that qualified; this year, only one. A program that has developed a positive reputation for award redemption and finished at number two three years ago, Aeroflot Bonus, has not qualified since then.

Category votes 81,222

ValuePercent
1Etihad Airways Etihad Guest8.862.98%
2Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.814.33%
3Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club8.6838.54%
4Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.6626.38%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles8.6539.35%
6Gulf Air Frequent flyer8.6512.73%
7Brussels Airlines Privilege8.643.54%
8TAP Portugal Victoria8.592.16%
9Emirates Skywards8.593.71%
10British Airways Executive Club8.248.07%
11SAS EuroBonus8.214.01%
12Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.207.04%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Redemption Europe, Middle East, Africa

Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors

This is Hilton HHonors first Freddie Award win in this category--matching its first-ever win in the Americas region in this category--and another possible testament to Hilton's no blackout date or capacity controls policy for award stays. This is the first year in the five years since this category was introduced that Starwood Preferred Guest did not win. This year, the SPG program placed second followed by last year's number two, Marriott Rewards.

This category has had a huge turnaround since two years ago when 77 percent of the programs earned a value vote average of less than eight. In fact, 23 percent of the programs were rated less than seven. This year, 75 percent of the programs earned value votes of eight, which is nearly a 180 degree change.

The win by Hilton is fairly significant. In the past, members of the Le Meridien Moments program consistently rated that program as average for its award redemption. One might logically think that when those members were merged into Starwood, a consistent Freddie-winning program in this category, they would boost the value vote even higher by experiencing better award redemption. But it has only slightly nudged the value vote higher. Radisson goldpoints plus has consistently remained just under the top three finishers.

Category votes 69,966

ValuePercent
1Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.9130.53%
2Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.718.74%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.6828.52%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.668.91%
5Radisson goldpoints plus8.315.99%
6Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.253.43%
7Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)7.902.58%
8Accor Hotels A|Club7.813.56%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Award Redemption Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Virgin Blue Velocity


Virgin Blue Velocity wins its fourth consecutive Freddie in the Best Award Redemption category with a notable 9.53 value vote. Velocity members who plan in advance can get award flights at reduced point amounts, but they also have the option of using points for any available flight--including during heavy travel times like during holidays when the amount of points is based on the cost of the fare. Members can also spend their miles at the online Velocity Rewards Shop. With this win, Virgin Blue Velocity becomes the top Freddie winner for airlines this year with a total of six.

At number two is Kingfisher Airlines King Club while last year's number two, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, is at number three.

As with other regions, program members are rating award redemption higher. For the first time ever, all of the qualifying programs scored at least an eight value vote average from their members.

And the Japan-based programs continue their leapfrogging. This year, JAL bests ANA (last year ANA bested JAL, the year before JAL bested ANA and the year before that ANA bested JAL). Both U.S.-based programs with a large presence in this region, Northwest and United, continue to rate well. In fact, Northwest hurtled from eleven last year to number five this year. And again Korean Air continues their consistent placement by finishing at six.

Category votes 61,205

ValuePercent
1Virgin Blue Velocity9.534.66%
2Kingfisher Airlines King Club9.2637.51%
3Jet Airways JetPrivilege9.0510.19%
4Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer8.654.73%
5Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.642.01%
6Korean Air Skypass8.615.98%
7Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.603.19%
8Emirates Skywards8.512.57%
9United Airlines Mileage Plus8.492.04%
10Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.442.50%
11JAL Mileage Bank8.412.40%
12Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.333.26%
13ANA Mileage Club8.252.08%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Award Redemption Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Starwood Preferred Guest


Starwood Preferred Guest wins for the fifth consecutive time for Best Award Redemption in this region.
Starwood has dominated this category with the program's no blackout dates or availability restrictions on free award nights.

Coming in at number two for a third consecutive time is Marriott Rewards and moving up from number six to three is Hilton HHonors. Hyatt Gold Passport drops back one from last year to fourth place.

As we've seen in other award redemption categories, the average value vote climbed this year. Last year 50 percent of the qualified programs had value vote averages at seven. This year, 89 percent are rated at eight and above. While we've seen IHG Priority Club rise in ranking in other regions for this category (they won last year in the Americas), they have continued to drift lower here. Three years ago this program finished second. Then two years ago they moved to number four. Last year, they maintained that same fourth place finish and this year finished at number five. On paper that doesn't sound good. But actually we see plenty to be positive about here. While the ranking has drifted lower, their actual value vote average--how their members rate the program's award redemption---has risen every single year. This is just another way to look at the results.

Category votes 42,215

ValuePercent
1Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.8410.61%
2Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7627.75%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.7323.34%
4Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.4612.76%
5InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.437.85%
6Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.123.25%
7Radisson goldpoints plus8.094.75%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)8.002.03%
9Accor Hotels A|Club7.872.92%


Best Customer Service

All the bonus offers and free flights or nights won't keep program members happy in the long run if customer service isn't there to assist you when you need them. From service centers with knowledgeable and friendly representatives to quickly answered emails, customer service is an important component to every frequent travel program, and some would argue, the most important. We asked our voters to vote on the program with the best customer service.

Frequent Flyer Program
Best Customer Service Americas

Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles


This is the fourth consecutive win for Midwest Miles in the Best Customer Service category after taking the reins from Southwest Rapid Rewards and its four-year first place winning streak. Midwest Miles has placed first in this category a total of five times. Members say that the customer service they receive is good from the moment they make the reservations until their luggage is safely in their hands after the return flight.

In at number two is Program of the Year winner, Alaska Mileage Plan, and Southwest Rapid Rewards once again comes in at number three for the top three to mirror last year's top three. AirTran Airways A+ Rewards once again for this year has moved up in status--in this case, from number seven last year to number four this year and Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns fell off the charts from being number four last year and number two the year before.

As in past years, JetBlue seems to serve as the dividing line to the legacy programs which all follow in line below it. There is a bright spot in the direction the value vote averages are going for this category. The value votes have gone from having only 13 percent of the qualifying programs earn at least a nine average three years ago to 14 percent two years ago to 15 percent last year to ... 50 percent this year. In any category, that is a major improvement but when it comes in customer service, just maybe we have at least one thing to truly appreciate.

Category votes 310,437

ValuePercent
1Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles9.362.27%
2Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan9.324.44%
3Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards9.3018.67%
4AirTran Airways A+ Rewards9.235.60%
5JetBlue TrueBlue9.012.81%
6Continental Airlines OnePass9.007.90%
7Northwest Airlines WorldPerks8.826.40%
8Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.8115.21%
9American Airlines AAdvantage8.8012.42%
10United Airlines Mileage Plus8.626.46%
11US Airways Dividend Miles8.585.07%
12Aeroplan8.132.53%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Customer Service Americas

Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards


Marriott Rewards takes home the Freddie for the 12th time and the fourth consecutive year in this category. Clearly, Marriott is able to offer their members a responsive customer service experience and its members have responded with their vote and an impressive 9.5 value vote (up from last year's 9.171). It's no small feat to earn a 9.5 value vote when it comes to keeping your members happy. With this win, Marriott has won an impressive nine Freddie Awards this year--the most of any hotel program.

Choice Hotels Choice Privileges made an impressive move from number four last year to the number two position this year, taking the place of last year's number two program, InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards, which fell to fifth place this year. SPG, a former six-time winner in this category, landed in fourth place this year, down from last year's third place position. Hilton HHonors rounds out the top three with a mere .01 between HHonors and SPG. Hilton has also won this category in the past. All five top finishers are commended for their value votes over nine.

Category votes 355,969

ValuePercent
1Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards9.5047.62%
2Choice Hotels Choice Privileges9.395.46%
3Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors9.3829.13%
4Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest9.316.89%
5InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards9.293.80%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Customer Service Europe, Middle East, Africa

Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club


First time winner in this category, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, wins its third Freddie this year in the EMEA region. Flying Club members report a responsive and efficient customer service experience and the love Virgin Atlantic customers feel for the entire Virgin experience--from the airport lounges to the in-flight entertainment--spells out total satisfaction for Flying Club members.

In second place with a very close value vote (VERY close: 8.98 vs. Flying Club's 8.99) is last year's winner Etihad Guest. Just barely missing second place, Delta SkyMiles moves up from sixth place last year to place in third. Qatar Airways Privilege Club, last year's number two finisher moves down to number four. And if this is your first glance at this category and Delta SkyMiles seems out of place--it has been the only U.S.-based program to qualify in the last three years and has always been in the middle or better in the value vote average rankings. And while we don't like to draw attention to this, both British Airways Executive Club and Air France/KLM Flying Blue continue to rank at the bottom--although both have improved the value vote average from their members.

Three programs had lower value vote averages this year than last: Etihad from 9.336 to 8.894, Qatar from 8.934 to 8.85 and Gulf Air from 8.789 to 8.70.

Category votes 84,365

ValuePercent
1Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club8.995.05%
2Etihad Airways Etihad Guest8.9843.09%
3Delta Air Lines SkyMiles8.9814.16%
4Qatar Airways Privilege Club8.852.08%
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles8.8439.01%
6Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.84126.23%
7Brussels Airlines Privilege8.7623.33%
8Emirates Skywards8.7614.71%
9TAP Portugal Victoria8.742.10%
10Gulf Air Frequent flyer8.702.64%
11British Airways Executive Club8.458.36%
12SAS EuroBonus8.443.54%
13Air France/KLM Flying Blue8.306.61%


Frequent Guest Program
Best Customer Service Europe, Middle East, Africa

Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors


This is another first Freddie win in a category for Hilton HHonors. The last two years saw Starwood Preferred Guest win and they have won three out of the last four. But HHonors clearly won this year and members report that they can expect good service from Hilton; from the Web site, to the front desk to the quality of the rooms. This win shows a marked improvement for Hilton, considering that the program placed sixth in this category last year.

Starwood Preferred Guest is second this year, followed by Marriott Rewards at number three. Last year's number three program, Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle, fell to number five this year, behind IHG Priority Club Rewards at number four (the same position they were in last year).

Here's a shout out to the Best Western Rewards program. Two years ago the value vote for the progam in this category was 6.840 and this year, 8.01. Over the two-year period, no program other than Hilton HHonors has improved its value vote average as much--congrats Best Western.

Category votes 72,107

ValuePercent
1Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.9530.04%
2Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.788.84%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7728.52%
4InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.668.36%
5Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.472.21%
6Radisson goldpoints plus8.4426.19%
7Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.4403.61%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)8.012.59%
9Accor Hotels A|Club7.863.43%


Frequent Flyer Program
Best Customer Service Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Kingfisher Airlines King Club


Another Freddie is heading back to India on Kingfisher Airlines. This is the first win in this category for Kingfisher Airlines King Club and the second Freddie for the program this year. King Club members report being delighted with the service they have received both on and off the plane.

Program of the Year winner, Virgin Blue Velocity, is in the number two position while two-time winner in this category, Jet Airways JetPrivilege, comes in at third this year.

Here's an interesting side note. Two years ago 20 programs qualified in this category--only 11 this year. And while the two U.S.-based programs with a large presence in this area, Northwest and United, have consistently ranked in other categories for this region, neither qualified in this category. Only a single program that qualified this year had a value vote average less than their finish last year--Korean Air Skypass.

A program that has a long history of superb customer service and has won in this category before, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, did not qualify this year for the first time ever.

Category votes 62,783

ValuePercent
1Kingfisher Airlines King Club9.4139.74%
2Virgin Blue Velocity9.194.37%
3Jet Airways JetPrivilege9.089.26%
4Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer8.906.57%
5Emirates Skywards8.7842.69%
6Korean Air Skypass8.7825.89%
7Lufthansa (and Partners) Miles & More8.7812.78%
8ANA Mileage Club8.622.35%
9Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer8.602.35%
10JAL Mileage Bank8.5732.52%
11Cathay Pacific Asia Miles8.5713.17%


Frequent Guest Program Best Customer Service Japan, Pacific, Asia, Australia

Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors


Hilton HHonors replaces the reigning Queen of customer service, Starwood Preferred Guest, with its first win in this five-year-old category. SPG won this category for the last four consecutive years, but this year, HHonors takes home the Freddie with a value vote of 8.90. HHonors members report that the customer service they receive as HHonors members makes them feel valued and they feel as though their concerns are heard and addressed in a timely manner.

Starwood Preferred Guest comes in second and Marriott Rewards, last year's number two, is at number three this year.

In Hilton's rocket-to-the-top this year, they improved a whole point, from 7.891 last year to 8.90 this year. This improvement in value vote was apparent in all programs in this category for the first time in recent history and no program recorded an average score below eight. Three years ago there was only a single program with a value vote average that exceeded eight, Starwood.

Category votes 43,243

ValuePercent
1Hilton Hotels Hilton HHonors8.9023.00%
2Starwood Hotels Starwood Preferred Guest8.8810.51%
3Marriott Hotels Marriott Rewards8.7927.58%
4Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport8.5712.96%
5InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards8.547.61%
6Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle8.343.85%
7Radisson goldpoints plus8.294.83%
8Best Western Hotels Best Western Rewards (formerly Best Western Gold Crown Club International)8.032.06%
9Accor Hotels A|Club8.002.90%



Print this Article Email this Article


Sound Off
Sound Off is where you can voice your opinion and read the opinions of others concerning InsideFlyer stories! You must be a subscriber and logged in to use this feature InsideFlyer.com.

  • Show other subscribers messages(0 total messages)
  • Respond to this article



    Related Articles
    Vote in the Freddies! [Feb 2012 Issue]
    The 20th Annual Freddie Awards [May 2008 Issue]
    Historians [Jun 2006 Issue]

    Magazine
    Current Issue
    Frequent Flyer Fickleness Free
    Online Only
    American Airlines and US Airways Announce Merger Free
    More Online Only