Voting opens soon for airline, hotel loyalty programs

Voting opens Sunday, Feb. 15, for travelers to select their favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs and affinity credit cards in the 27th Annual Freddie Awards.

The awards recognize loyalty programs offered by airlines and hotels in five categories each, across three regions of the world, as well as one affinity credit card in each of the three regions. The goal of the Freddie Awards is to give voice to the frequent flier and to honor the efforts of the airline and hospitality industries.

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.

Industry representatives at Seattle's Museum of Flight
prior to presentation of 26th Annual Freddie Awards

Travelers who vote at may cast ballots for airline and hotel loyalty programs, which are each represented in five separate categories including Program of the Year, Best Promotion, Best Redemption Ability, Best Customer Service and Best Elite Program. A sixth category, Best Loyalty Credit Card, covers both airlines and hotels.

"As a Freddie’s voter, your voice as a traveler helps to select the best frequent flyer programs in the world," Peterson said in an email to potential voters. "You know loyalty and, with your vote, you share your preferences for travel brands and their associated loyalty programs each year."

One winning airline and one winning hotel chain will be selected for each category in three regions: the Americas, Middle East/Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa.

Last year’s winners were determined by approximately eight million frequent travelers who chose to vote for their favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs.

In the Americas category, the 2014 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


Winners of this year’s balloting will be announced April 30 at the Delta Flight Museum (NYSE:DAL) in Atlanta, Ga.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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