American Airlines AAdvantage® Program wins 2014 Freddie Award

American Airlines' AAdvantage® frequent flier program has been awarded the 2014 Freddie Award for Program of the Year by an airline serving the Americas region while Marriott Rewards program has been accorded the honor of best frequent guest program in the same region by frequent travelers who cast ballots in the annual competition.

Travelers also voted Southwest Airlines' (NYSE:LUV) Rapid Rewards credit card Best Loyalty Credit Card.

"AAdvantage is honored to receive the Program of the Year award for the third year in a row," Suzanne Rubin, President of the AAdvantage program, told me in an e-mail in which she thanked the airline's loyal customers and pledged continued improvement.

"We will continue to work hard and listen to your feedback as we invest in the program through promotions like last year's Elite Rewards program and functionality such as the Award Map," she said.

American Airlines is owned by American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AAL).

Industry representatives at Museum of Flight
prior to presentation of Freddie Awards

Recipients of the 26th annual Freddie Awards were decided upon by more than eight million travelers worldwide who voted for their favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs in five separate categories including Program of the Year, Best Promotion, Best Redemption Ability, Best Customer Service and Best Elite Level.

A sixth category, Best Loyalty Credit Card, covers both airlines and hotels.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Museum of Flight located at Boeing Field (BFI) in Seattle the evening of April 24.

In the Americas category, the winners were:


Best Customer Service Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards 
Best PromotionAvianca LifeMiles Mileage Purchase 2x1  
Best Elite LevelAmerican Airlines – AAdvantage 
Best Redemption Ability Avianca - LifeMiles
Program of the YearAmerican Airlines – AAdvantage

Avianca is the flag airline carrier of Columbia.


Best Customer ServiceMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best PromotionMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards Mega Bonus
Best Elite LevelHyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption AbilityMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Program of the YearMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

BEST LOYALTY CREDIT CARD - Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards Premier Card

The Freddie Awards also presented “best of” awards for the Europe/Africa region, and the Middle East and Asia/Oceana region.

Winners in the Europe/Africa region were:


Best Customer ServiceSAS – EuroBonus
Best PromotionAir France/KLM -- FlyingBlue, The Great Take-Off
Best Elite LevelLufthansa – Miles & More
Best Redemption AbilityAir France/KLM – Flying Blue
Program of the YearAir France/KLM – Flying Blue


Best Customer ServiceIHG Rewards Club
Best PromotionIHG Rewards Club, The Big Win
Best Elite Level Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Redemption Ability IHG Rewards Club
Program of the YearIHG Rewards Club

BEST LOYALTY CREDIT CARD Flying Blue American Express

Winners in the Middle East and Asia/Oceania region were:


Best Customer ServiceVirgin Australia Velocity
Best Promotion —  Virgin Australia Velocity
Best Elite LevelVirgin Australia Velocity
Best Redemption AbilityVirgin Australia Velocity
Program of the YearVirgin Australia Velocity


Best Customer Service Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best PromotionIHG Rewards Club, The Big Win
Best Elite LevelHyatt – Gold Passport
Best Redemption Ability Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Program of the Year IHyatt – Gold Passport


Introduced in 1988 by InsideFlyer magazine’s Randy Petersen, the “Freddies” are named in honor of Sir Freddie Laker (1922-2006) and have grown in stature and importance to become the most prestigious member-generated awards in the travel loyalty industry, according to the Freddie Awards’ website. The goal of the Freddie Awards is to give voice to the frequent flier and to honor the efforts of an industry that counts more than 300 million members worldwide.

Known for his pioneering marketing ideas within the travel industry, Laker founded Britain’s first all-jet air carrier, Laker Airways Ltd., in 1966, which eventually became the largest individually and privately owned airline in the world. Laker was one of the first airline owners to adopt the "no-frills" airline business model that has since proven to be very successful worldwide with companies such as Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Ryanair, easyJet, AirAsia, WestJet and Virgin Australia.

He also founded the “SKYTRAIN” service, which revolutionized the airline industry by offering the first no-reservation, low-cost air service.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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  1. Interesting that the AAdvantage Program was voted the best program. The AAdvantage Program has virtually taken away every benefit from the "Gold" level and it's benefits are now rivaled by customers who hold the CitiAAdvantage Loyalty Card. Platinum and Executive Platinum seem harder to obtain with recent changes and regardless of which level you obtain, I can tell you from multiple years of experience, Good luck ever using any of those miles at the lower mileage requirement for a family vacation... unless you're willing to book almost a year in advance. I will give them this: If you only need a 1-way ticket on miles, the starting rate is at 12,500 rather than some other airlines who make you use the full amount of miles whether it's for a one-way or round-trip ticket. When it boils down to it, few if any of the airlines truly "reward" customer loyalty. You're better off with a "board early" loyalty credit card that you keep active just for that purpose and then go with a credit card that provides travel benefits across multiple airlines. I travel for a living... and gone are the days where brand loyalty gets you anything.

  2. Thanks for that. I completely agree that loyalty credit cards often carry significant benefits that are easily overlooked, such as free checked bags (how many trips does it take to make up for the $95 annual fee at $25 per checked bag?) and often priority boarding..


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