Good question! It’s not easy figuring out which frequent flyer programs are the good ones and which are lacking. You’ll have to answer for yourself by evaluating your travel preferences and habits! However, what are some of the influencing factors that could help you make a decision that is to your advantage when making an airline loyalty programs comparison?
Choosing One of the Comparable Rewards Programs
Starting with the basics of Frequent Flyers programs you can sort them into two categories:
- Programs that offer preset regions or distances related to how many miles a trip will cost you
- Fixed-value programs that define and set the value of each point and permit the number of points you need for a trip to fluctuate with the cash price of a ticket.
An example of the first option could be seen in an economy flight from the United States to Europe, with a member airline, which could cost you 30,000 miles each way, irrespective of the actual selling price of a ticket.
A fixed-value program, however, will set the value of each point to a determined price and permit the number of points required for a trip to fluctuate with the cash price of a ticket. For instance, should one be valued at worth 1.6-cents, a $250 ticket will cost 15,625 points. But if the price of that ticket increases then so will the number of points needed for your trip.
Southwest and JetBlue operate fixed-value systems.
Making a Fair and Reasonable Comparison
This type of assessment, such as in respect of the best SkyTeam program entails considering the value to be gained from:
- The Miles and Points
- Premium cabin and partnerships availability
- The number of economy award seats
- Availability of award seating on the airline’s own flights.
In a nutshell: if you’re searching for the best frequent flyer program, in many respects it depends upon your preferred travel destinations and how you would like to go there!
As with most things in our lives, nothing is ever perfect, with every program displaying various strengths and weaknesses. One example of this is that although you may not want to collect American miles when traveling to Europe on business trips, the Miles from United miles can be advantageous when booking First Class with Lufthansa to Frankfurt. Again, it’s all about finding the Awards that best meet your specific needs, such as, the best OneWorld program.
Closest Airport Hub, Fees and Convenience
There are various reports and statistics available related to which airline loyalty programs are critiqued as being the worst providers and those who meet customer demands. They relate to different airline partnerships, such as the best Star Alliance program. However, it does seem that the JetBlue’s TrueBlue Awards program is recognized as being amongst the best, together with Southwest and its Rapid Rewards Program and then the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.
However, this does not necessarily indicate that your particular needs will be met. While for some, the facility of being able to book first class award tickets may be a priority, for you and other travelers, your reward objectives could be entirely contrary, such as the closest airport hub!
Confusion by Earnings with Credit Cards
One aspect of customer relations associated with Frequent Flyer Award programs is that customers do not have the time, or believe they should require a degree in mathematics to translate the machinations of earning their points and redeeming them. In this respect, the old and well proven “KISS” philosophy could be applied.
During 2016-2017 certain providers launched new options for the earning of awards and elite-qualifying miles, which included the spending by a passenger into the calculations. It became more complicated when additional factors were added into the equation when the fare should have been purchased with a credit card or the flight was with a partner carrier.
This created an atmosphere of confusion and frustration especially for those new passengers who were unfamiliar with the operation of the usual airline loyalty programs. Moreover, there are many Frequent Flyers having numerous collected Miles and Rewards and all asking the same question: “Can I sell them?”.
What Do You Want?
We now complete the circle because after sifting through the many and varied advantages offered to you by Awards programs, it is your priorities that count. They may include being able to redeem for fantastic first and business class seats or the status benefits of the Elite class.
Alternatively, you may consider the option of earning and spending your points with the advantage that for each dollar you spend with the airline, you will receive a determined multiple of points. These points can be used to deduct a defined dollar amount from any fare in the airline’s portfolio.
Whilst some of the equations may appear either complex or simple, your decision could be dependent upon the effort you are prepared to expend to meet your great Award program expectations!