The Freddies, annual awards given to top-performing loyalty programs in the travel industry, were awarded Thursday night at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Across the airline industry in North America, Southwest Airlines dominated the field, taking awards for Program of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Redemption Ability and Best Promotion.

Marriott performed similarly well, nearly sweeping its category and taking the prize for Program of the Year, Best Elite Program, Best Customer Service and Best Redemption Ability.

In Europe, Aeroflot and Accor dominated the respective categories in airline and hotel reward programs. Virgin Australia largely came out on top in the Asian/Middle East airline category while the hotels in that region didn’t have a dominant player.

A truncated list of awards in North America and Europe & Africa and the Middle East & Asia is below.

Winners list 2018

Awards for airlines in the Americas:

  • Program of the Year — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Elite Program — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Redemption Ability — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

Awards for North American hotel operators were:

  • Program of the Year — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
  • Best Elite Program — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
  • Best Customer Service — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
  • Best Redemption Ability — Marriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards

Airlines, Europe and Africa:

  • Program of the Year — Norwegian Air – Norwegian Reward
  • Best Elite Program — Aeroflot – Aeroflot Bonus
  • Best Customer Service — Aeroflot – Aeroflot Bonus
  • Best Redemption Ability — Aeroflot – Aeroflot Bonus

Hotels, Europe and Africa

  • Program of the Year — Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
  • Best Elite Program — Mariott – Marriott Rewards
  • Best Customer Service — Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
  • Best Redemption Ability — Accor Hotels – Le Club AccorHotels

Airlines, Middle East & Asia/Oceania:

  • Program of the Year — Virgin Australia – Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Best Elite Program — Virgin Australia – Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Best Customer Service — Virgin Australia – Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Best Redemption Ability — Virgin Australia – Velocity Frequent Flyer

Hotels, Europe and Africa

  • Program of the Year — IHG –  IHG Rewards Club
  • Best Elite Program — Starwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Best Customer Service — Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
  • Best Redemption Ability — Accor Hotels – Le Club AccorHotels

Full results are available at freddieawards.com.

Southwest and marriott continue to dominate in north america

This year’s Freddie awards, named for eccentric airline mogul Freddie Laker, continue a legacy of strong performance from both Marriott and Southwest. The results are nearly identical from last year’s results in the region.

Southwest’s momentum is likely the result of both a loyal user base (or strong brand recognition) and the recent demise of American’s AAdvantage program. Early in the decade, American routinely won Freddie awards in multiple categories, but the program’s move to a revenue-based model effectively put that dynasty to an end. By contrast, Southwest’s relatively simple program and routinely-friendly service have earned it a passionate following. American’s AAdvantage program was only able to eek out one award this year centered around its elite program — no doubt because of its generous international upgrade tools for top-tier elite members.

Marriott’s advantages also are partially due to excellent reach. In addition to having among the most rooms in the industry, its loyalty program’s well-handled merger with Starwood Preferred Guest earned it plenty of new fans this year. The only category that Marriott didn’t win in this year’s event was the award for best promotion. That went to MGM hotels.

Another strong performer was Aeroflot, the flag carrier of Russia. “There’s a real strong passion for loyalty in Aeroflot’s home market, and the program offers some excellent value to their frequent customers,” said Gary Leff, the master of ceremonies at the Freddie Awards. “They have good award availability, and good well-priced upgrade availability too on their long haul flights. Unfortunately, that’s something that’s difficult to come by these days.”