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Frequent Travelers Rate Best and Worst Airline Award Redemption Programs

July 3, 2013 Loyalty No Comments Email Email

The best airlines for redeeming travel awards are Alaska, Southwest, and American, while Delta and Air Canada were the worst according to a new survey conducted by Frequent Business Traveler magazine published online at

Alaska Airlines took top honors with an overall satisfaction rating of 91 percent.  Southwest and American received ratings of 79 and 81 percent, respectively.  Members of Air Canada’s Aeroplan program voiced the greatest dissatisfaction, with only 32 percent indicating that they were satisfied with their ability to redeem miles for flights.  Delta Air Lines received a 33 percent satisfaction rating.

The survey did highlight several trends in airline award redemption programs including dramatic improvements by Southwest Rapid Rewards, which was ranked third last year and moved up to second for 2013, and Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, which was at the very bottom last year with a 73 percent disapproval rating and in next-to-last place in 2013 with a 67 percent disapproval rating.

The survey was conducted during the second quarter of 2013 in association with FlyerTalk, the world’s largest online travel community, and polled 1,342 frequent travelers.

“Frequent flyer programs can’t be all things to all people,” said Jonathan Spira, editorial director at Frequent Business Traveler.  “Given the time and money travelers devote to both flying and maintaining their status and relationship with a particular airline’s program, it’s important to understand what that program offers and how well it performs.  This study gives you the data you need to know to make an intelligent choice when reward redemption is first and foremost on your mind.”

“Many travelers go out of their way to fly with a preferred airline or alliance even when a flight is not as convenient,” said David M. Goldes, Frequent Business Traveler’s publisher.  “We want to make sure that our readers know whether they will get what they expect out of that relationship.”

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