U.S. News & World Report:
Publisher of Best Hotels, Best Cruise Lines and Best Vacations, unveiled the 2017-18 Best Travel Rewards Programs.
The annual rankings identify the best travel rewards programs naming 26 hotel and airline loyalty programs with the most rewarding perks for travelers. Marriott Rewards ranks first in Best Hotel Rewards Programs, while Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan keeps the top spot in Best Airline Rewards Programs.
Marriott Rewards was ranked number one among the Best Hotel Rewards Programs due in part to the ease of earning points and its large network of hotels in popular destinations. That network was even more extensive following Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts last year, along with its SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) rewards program, itself a highly rated rewards program last year. Marriott’s program offers free Wi-Fi access and the ability to use points toward booking experiences such as sporting events and concerts.
At number two, Wyndham Rewards continues to earn high marks for ease of earning a free night, member access to reduced room rates and the availability to earn points through two affiliated credit cards.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, which will soon merge with the Virgin America Elevate program, is the Best Airline Rewards Program for the third consecutive year. U.S. News said Alaska Airlines’ mileage-based earning structure makes it easier for travelers to earn miles at a faster pace than with revenue-based earning programs. Delta SkyMiles moves up to the number two spot because of its competitive redemption rates for award flights and diversity of benefits, such as using miles for hotels stays, cabin upgrades, experiences and free flights.
U.S. News ranks the Best Travel Rewards Programs in two categories: hotel loyalty programs and airline frequent-flyer programs. The survey methodology takes into account membership benefits (such as free amenities, program-affiliated credit cards and redeemable experiences), network coverage and a strong emphasis on the ease of earning and redeeming free flights or nights. In addition, U.S. News factors in property diversity for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Airline Quality Rating scores for the Best Airline Rewards Programs.
In order, the 2017-18 U.S. News Best Hotel Rewards Programs are:
1) Marriott Rewards
2) Wyndham Rewards
3) Choice Privileges
4) World of Hyatt
5) Best Western Rewards
In order, the 2017-18 U.S. News Best Airline Rewards Programs are:
1) Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
2) Delta SkyMiles
3) JetBlue TrueBlue
4) Southwest Rapid Rewards
5) United MileagePlus