The annual Freddie Awards, which highlight the travel industry’s best loyalty programs, were announced this evening.

Taking home the top prizes for Programs of the Year were American Airlines and Marriott. This is American’s third year winning the top prize while Marriott has carried its lead for an impressive seven years.

American Airlines won no doubt due to the generosity of its loyalty program. While other legacy carriers such as Delta and United have changed their programs to include revenue-based components, American has kept its traditional earn-structure as well as its policies on generous upgrades and reward space.

Marriott maintained its high marks by having a great options for redeeming points, an award-winning “MegaBonus” incentive and strong customer service.

Award criteria were based on over eight million ballots collected soliciting travelers’ top three programs in a variety of categories. Outside of the Americas, the top programs by region were:

Europe / Africa

  • Best Airline Program: Air France – KLM Flying Blue
  • Best Hotel Program: IHG Rewards Club

Middle East / Oceania / Asia

  • Best Airline Program: Virgin Australia Velocity
  • Best Hotel Program: Hyatt Gold Passport

Rounding out the top five airlines and hotels in the Americas were:


  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Virgin America Elevate


  • Marriott Rewards
  • Choice Privileges
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Hyatt Gold Passport

Separately, awards were given for a variety of loyalty program facets. Top winners in those categories were:

Best Airline Program Promotion

  • Americas: Avianca LifeMiles, Mileage Purchase 2:1
  • Europe/Africa: Air France – KLM Flying Blue, The Great Take-Off
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Virgin Australia Velocity, Australia’s First Pet Frequent Flyer Program

Best Hotel Program Promotion

  • Americas: Marriott Rewards MegaBonus
  • Europe/Africa: IHG Rewards Club, The Big Win
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: IHG Rewards Club, The Big Win

Best Airline Redemption Ability

  • Americas: Avianca Lifemiles
  • Europe/Africa: Air France – KLM Flying Blue
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Virgin Australia Velocity

Best Hotel Redemption Ability

  • Americas: Marriott Rewards
  • Europe/Africa: IHG Rewards Club
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Airline Customer Service

  • Americas: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • Europe/Africa: SAS Eurobonus
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Virgin Australia Velocity

Best Hotel Customer Service

  • Americas: Marriott Rewards
  • Europe/Africa: IHG Rewards Club
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Airline Elite Program

  • Americas: American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Europe/Africa: Lufthansa Miles & More
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Virgin Australia Velocity

Best Hotel Elite Program

  • Americas: American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Europe/Africa: Lufthansa Miles and More
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: Virgin Australia Velocity

Best Loyalty Credit Card

  • Americas: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card
  • Europe/Africa: Flying Blue American Express Card
  • Middle East/Asia/Oceania: ADIB Etihad Guest Card

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Tags: american airlines, freddie awards, loyalty, marriott

Photo credit: American Airlines Communications worker Andrea Hugely takes a photo of the new American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER at Terminal D at DFW Airport in Euless, Texas. Brad Loper / Dallas Morning News/MCT

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