The Top 5 Airline Rewards Programs
We all know that when it comes to the airline industry, everything has a price. From your bags to your meals, nothing is free anymore. But one thing you can get for free (well, sort of) is airline rewards.
For the frequent flyer, airline rewards can be a life saver – both literally and figuratively. In terms of dollars, it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time, depending on how much you travel. And in terms of stress and hassle, it can save you from having to deal with those long lines at the airport, or the last-minute “oops” when you realized you forgot to print out your boarding pass before heading to the airport!
So which airline rewards programs should you sign up for? Here are my top five:
1. American Airlines AAdvantage
2. Southwest Rapid Rewards
3. Delta SkyMiles
4. United Mileage Plus
5. US Airways Dividend Miles
The top 5 airline rewards programs are Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, JetBlue Airways TrueBlue, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Southwest Rapid Rewards.
The airlines listed above have the best reputation for offering the most benefits and services to frequent fliers. These airlines also have the best overall ratings on the JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Delta SkyMiles: Delta is a major U.S. airline with hubs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport. Delta has a network of destinations worldwide including locations in Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean and North America. The Delta SkyMiles program offers various levels of membership including silver, gold and platinum status where members can earn miles based on how many miles they fly annually or how much money they spend with the airline each year. Members can redeem their miles for flights or to upgrade to business or first class seats. Miles can also be used towards hotel rooms and car rentals or to purchase merchandise from an online catalog or by shopping online at retailers through the SkyMiles Mall.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: Virgin Atlantic has hubs at London Heathrow airport
If you’re like most people, you probably fly on a few different airlines during the year. But maybe you have a favorite one that you fly on more often than others. If that’s the case, it’s worth finding out about that airline’s rewards program. By signing up for and building up points with an airline’s rewards program, you can earn free flights and other benefits, such as upgrades.
Below are five of the top airline rewards programs:
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: This program has a number of highly sought-after features. It is not part of any alliance, so it isn’t restricted to working with just a few other airlines. In addition, Alaska Airlines offers easy access to its companion fare benefit by having members pay just $99 and taxes in order to add a companion to their flight at no extra miles cost (members must still pay taxes and fees for their companions). One downside is that Alaska presently has a mileage cap of 100,000 miles per year.
Delta SkyMiles: Delta is partnered with many other airlines through SkyTeam. This airline has no mileage cap and also allows members to roll over unused miles from one year to the next. One drawback is that it charges hefty fuel surcharges on award redemptions for certain
Every frequent flyer has a different idea of what makes the best airline rewards program. Some travelers prefer to earn miles without worrying about blackout dates and award seat restrictions. Others value earning miles through co-branded credit cards and other partners.
The following guide will help you pick the best airline rewards program based on your travel needs. Here are five of the top U.S.-based airline reward programs:
1)American Airlines AAdvantage
2)Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
3)Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
4)Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
5)Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
The World’s Best Airlines by Passenger Score was determined by a global survey of airline passengers around the world. The survey was conducted between August 2016 and February 2017 by Skytrax, an aviation-focused consultancy that ranks airlines on the passenger experience.
Airlines were ranked on a variety of factors including in-flight entertainment, seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food and beverage, service and value for money.
The top five airlines and their scores are:
1. Singapore Airlines – 8.32/10
2. Qatar Airways – 8.25/10
3. ANA All Nippon Airways – 8.22/10
4. Emirates – 8.20/10
5. Cathay Pacific Airways – 8.19/10
Airline rewards programs are a great way to get free flights, free upgrades, and free companion tickets. No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for the airline’s reward program. I stick to US-based airlines since they are involved in all the major alliances and you can earn miles on their partner flights. For example, if I fly Singapore Airlines, I can earn United Airlines miles because they are partners. Likewise, if I fly Air France, it’s credited to my Delta rewards account.
The airline should have a comprehensive frequent flyer program with a good track record of paying out awards. There are many websites that rank airlines based on their level of customer service and some even rank airlines based on their traveller friendly policies. Most popular airlines will have a website where users can check how many frequent flyer miles they have accumulated and what type of rewards they can redeem them for. Larger airlines will also provide frequent flyers with a number of perks such as lounge access at airports and priority boarding when checking in for flights.
Priority Pass: This pass gives access to hundreds of airline lounges in over a hundred countries. The cost is $399 per year plus $27 per visit but they do offer a Prestige plan which is $699 plus $27 per visit.