The 210 Award is presented to the program that received the best average rating among programs that were ranked by fewer than 10 percent of the voters. In other words, a reminder again that the results from the Freddies are not a popularity contest. The winner this year was World of Hyatt with a value vote rating of 8.67, right up there with the best averages among all the much larger programs. The next two programs closely in consideration for this honor were Choice Privileges and Best Western Rewards, both within a half-point.
TRIVIA: the 210 Award was originally introduced during the 2015 Freddie Awards held at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, GA. Prior to that, it had several names …. Up and Coming Program of the Year, Rising Star and was even called an Impact Award.
The top five programs that qualified for this award are separated by less than 4/10ths of a point. That reflects the fact that there are many great programs just waiting for their time to come to be recognized. Among the five, three of them are far less known for their loyalty programs than MeliáRewards (which finished a close second—1/10th of a point behind the eventual winner) and World of Hyatt (which finished fourth). Finishing in fifth is the Leading Hotels of the World Leaders Club program which is a fabulous collection of properties brought together with a common customer share. So, who might be the winner? GHA Discovery. GHA is the Global Hotel Alliance which operates similarly to an airline alliance. GHA’s founding members were Kempinski, Pan Pacific, Rydges Hotels, and Wyndham International (different than the Wyndham hotel franchising system). With nearly 12 million members, Discovery is a multi-brand program based out of Dubai and counts more than 500 hotels in its portfolio of loyalty. Learn something new every day don’t you? Of course, this program might also be the only one ever with an ancestry that includes a horse racing track—Bay Meadows Racetrack, but that story will have to wait for another day. And now you’ll learn why I included a bit of the GHA history, the Wyndham Rewards program (from the Wyndham hotel franchising system) finished in the third spot. Congrats to GHA Discovery. We feel they have a fine future ahead for themselves in delivering a great loyalty proposition. Interestingly that of the top five for this award, two of them were alliance multi-brand programs (GHA and Leading Hotels).
This category is all about learning and earning. Shangri-La earns its first Freddie Award recognition ever and comes at the start of a complete program refresh, including rebranding from Golden Circle to just Circle. Was this change part of why they popped up in value rating in 2022? We don’t know but will certainly be looking for their presence next year. Wyndham Rewards finished second this year which should not be a surprise given that they won the award in 2020. GHA Discovery finishes in third position only 4/100ths of a point behind Wyndham Rewards. We’re fairly sure GHA is pleased with this finish given that they won the category 210 Award in the Europe & Africa region. Radisson Rewards claims the #4 spot and Trident Hotels and their Trident Privilege program close out the top five ratings. Trident actually won the award in 2017.
ITC Hotels which won the region award for this category both in 2016 and 2019 is a big winner this year by claiming Freddie Awards in four categories including Program of the Year. We’re always glad to see programs gain confidence in their loyalty offerings.
Consideration for this award came down to just two candidates (the separation to the #3 rating was more than a half-full point): GarudaMiles and Airpoints. And the award goes to GarudaMiles. While Garuda is the country’s (Indonesia) flag carrier, it isn’t the largest airline though it flies both international and domestic flights. Competing against the likes of Lion Air which is the largest low-cost carrier in Southwest Asia has been a challenge but looking at the rating in this category for GarudaMiles bears out that this frequent flyer program is playing a large role in Garuda’s present and future plans including being part of the SkyTeam alliance. And just 2/10ths behind in ratings is Airpoints. Air New Zealand while not the home of a Freddie Award, is constantly rated in the top five over the years. They formerly had a strategic alliance with now-competitor Virgin Australia and have benefited from being a member of the Star Alliance.
This category can claim the title of being the most interesting. For instance, TAP Miles&Go won this category in 2017, 2019, and 2020 and look what they did this year, they grew out of it and won overall Freddie Awards for all major airline categories. The winner in 2016 was Norwegian Reward as they ascended toward relevancy with a strong loyalty offering. This year they were #4 in this category and the 2015 winner, Aegean Miles Bonus was in a very positive place with their #3 finish. Flying Club is a program that rests in the cradle of an airline that has won a lot of awards over the years with the style of delivery and service for their inflight cabins. But they’ve escaped attention to their loyalty offering in a very competitive European marketplace. For many years SAS ruled the loyalty space, Turkish has garnered attention as has Aeroflot. Virgin Atlantic might be handicapped by its routes but certainly not by its product and its loyalty program. Recent moves to establish a more far-reaching loyalty currency could make for a large change here. All we know is that this year, Flying Club and its members earned the respect they deserve.
The winner of this award is the program that received the best average ranking among programs that were ranked by fewer than 10 percent of the voters. Air Canada has worked extremely hard since November 8, 2020, when they began the transformation of Aeroplan and this ranking proves that effort. But they aren’t alone in ranking among those “dark horses”, look at how close Spirit Free Sprint ranked.