Southwest and Marriott top 2020 Freddie Awards

Southwest Airlines' frequent flier program and Marriott Hotels' Bonvoy loyalty program have been accorded the honor of being named Loyalty Programs of the Year in the 2020 Freddie Awards.

The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony from Freddie Awards headquarters in Colorado Springs on April 30.

As in 2019, Southwest's (NYSE:LUV) Rapid Rewards programs was accorded the honor of being named Airline Program of the Year by an airline serving the Americas region while the Marriott Bonvoy (NYSE:MAR)  program was named best frequent guest program in the same region by frequent travelers who cast ballots in the annual competition.

As they have since 2017, travelers also voted Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards credit card Best Loyalty Credit Card.

Recipients of the 30th annual Freddie Awards were decided upon by 3.61 million travelers worldwide who voted for their favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs from among 223 different programs spanning five separate categories including Program of the Year, Best Elite Program, Best Promotion, Best Customer Service and Best Redemption Ability, .

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

The "210" category, introduced two years ago, recognizes the "Strongest programs off the radar of voters." Programs that received more than two percent but less than 10 percent of the vote were accorded the 210 honor.

In the AMERICAS category, the categories were each dominated by a single player. The winners were:

Airline Category

Program of the Year — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards 
Best Elite ProgramAmerican Airlines – AAdvantage 
Best Promotion — Avianca – LifeMiles
Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards 
Best Redemption Ability — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
210 Award - Air Canada Aeroplan

Hotel Category

Program of the Year — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Bonvoy
Best Elite Program — Hyatt – World of Hyatt
Best Promotion — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Bonvoy
Best Customer ServiceMGM M life Rewards
Best Redemption Ability — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Bonvoy
210 AWARD - ALL - Accor Live Limitless

Best Loyalty Credit Card - Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards Premier Card from Chase (NYSE: JPM)

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


Airline Category

Program of the Year -
Norwegian Air Shuttle  Norwegian Reward
Best Elite Program - Aeroflot Bonus
Best Promotion - Norwegian Air Shuttle  Norwegian Reward
Best Customer ServiceNorwegian Air Shuttle  Norwegian Reward
Best Redemption Ability - TAP Air Portugal - Miles&Go
210 AWARD  - TAP Air Portugal – Miles&Go

Hotel Category

Program of the Year - ALL - Accor Live Limitless 
Best Elite ProgramALL - Accor Live Limitless
Best Promotion - ALL - Accor Live Limitless
Best Customer ServiceALL - Accor Live Limitless
Best Redemption AbilityALL - Accor Live Limitless
210 AWARD - Choice Hotels - Choice Privileges

Best Affinity Credit Card  - Norwegian Air Shuttle  Norwegian Reward – Bank Norwegian Norwegian Card 


Airline Category

Program of the Year - Virgin Australia – Velocity 
Best Elite ProgramVirgin Australia – Velocity
Best Promotion - Virgin Australia – Velocity
Best Customer Service Virgin Australia – Velocity
Best Redemption AbilityVirgin Australia – Velocity
210 AWARD - Air Arabia - Air Rewards

Hotel Category

Program of the YearALL - Accor Live Limitless
Best Elite Program Marriott Hotels - Marriott Bonvoy
Best Promotion Marriott Hotels - Marriott Bonvoy
Best Customer ServiceITC Hotels   Club ITC
Best Redemption AbilityITC Hotels   Club ITC
210 AWARD - Wyndham Hotel - Wyndham Rewards

Best Affinity Credit Card  - American Express – Membership Rewards from American Express 

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, 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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