In the closest finish of any category in the hotel category for the Americas, Caesars Rewards by 1/100th of a rating point takes home their second Freddie of the year in a category that we think does matter—customer service. It’s nice we get those shiny elite cards and we redeem at hotel categories well above the categories we actually earn our hotel points in, but when it comes to respect, this category is the most important. And who might Caesars best for their Freddie Award? The king—Marriott Bonvoy. The difference >> 8.61 to 8.60. That, our fellow frequent flyers, is a close finish. And that’s exactly the way it should be. In fact, we’d be happy if less than a point separated the top five programs in this category. As it is, 3/10ths of a point separated the top four programs with ALL and MGM filling in right behind. MGM Rewards BTW won this category in 2020 while Caesars won it in 2019. Before that, it was Marriott, Marriott, and more Marriott.
But what we don’t like, is seeing Hyatt, IHG, Best Western, and Choice two full points behind in their ratings. Come on people … customer service does matter.
There are no six degrees of separation between this award and Accor ALL. Never easy to earn and even more difficult to repeat, this win for ALL features another 9.X rating … for excellence. This category also features the same top five programs (sometimes in different places) in four of the five main categories this year (Redemption, Elite, Customer Service, and Promotion). Marriott Bonvoy claimed the number two spot (*they claimed the number two spot in four of the five main categories this year) while Hilton, IHG, and MeliaRewards followed right behind. One observation …. just 5/100ths of a point separated places #5-#8. MeliáRewards, Wyndham Rewards, GHA Discovery, and World of Hyatt were close enough to be a tie.
Marriott Bonvoy wins its first-ever award in this category for this region. They finished a close second for this award in the two other regions proving that Bonvoy does have a passion for serving its members globally. What is interesting is that Bonvoy becomes the fourth different program to win this award in the past five Freddie Awards seemingly to prove that the category is competitive. But there are others that can claim this crown in years to come, Accor ALL finished a close second only 2/100ths of a point behind and they have won this category before as well as winning it in Europe. But it is not just about these two programs, Club ITC has proven themselves to be a regional powerhouse of loyalty with many other Freddie Awards wins in other categories, and also just like Accor ALL, they have won this category in past years. But after Club ITC in the number three rating, it drops off quickly with almost a full point rating average before Taj InnerCircle picks it up just in front of Shangri-La Circle. Puzzling for us is seeing IHG, Hyatt, and Hilton floundering in the #7 through #9 positions at least two full ratings points off the winner. Puzzling you ask? Well, truth be known, these three programs have claimed a Freddie Award in this category in years past, IHG in 2015, Hyatt in 2013, and Hilton in 2009. Why the fall in ratings? Is it that other programs stepped it up or have these three dialed the support down? Our guess is that these three have dialed it down since it is all about their own ratings from members, not their performance against other programs. Let’s hope they are reading this and learn something about their past.
Full Voting Results
Best Customer Service – Hotels (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
As an airline, Singapore has over the years built a standard for customer in-flight service second to none. Now it seems their KrisFlyer loyalty program is following right behind with the Best Customer Service award for a hotel loyalty program in this year’s Freddie Awards. And at a rating of 9.20, it is among the highest-rated of any award they have won. As with other categories in this region, it’s Vistara Club Vistara right behind followed by Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles. And then both Air New Zealand Airpoints and Korean Air Skypass close out the top five highest-ranked programs in this region. And where might the winner of this award over the past four years have landed? Sorry to have to report that Virgin Australia Velocity dropped to the #10 spot with a rating by their members of 7.02, more than three full points behind Singapore KrisFlyer. While the internet is a very large place, there’s still not enough room for us to fully express our opinions on why and how the remaining programs were rated as they were by their members.
Full Voting Results
Best Customer Service – Airlines (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
Another category in which TAP Miles&Go show excellence this year, a full point higher rating to capture another Freddie Award in 2022 than Lufthansa Miles & More in the #2 spot besting Air France KLM Flying Blue in #3. Both Flying Blue and Lufthansa have won this award before, Flying Blue in 2016 and Lufthansa in 2015. And if you are wondering, SAS EuroBonus won in 2014. Aeroflot had a three-year streak from 2017-2019 and Norwegian Reward won in 2020. No one program owns this category which we think is a good thing. Congrats to Miles&Go, may this start something for you but also to the past winners …. but a little bit more of how you say—thank you.
Full Voting Results
Best Customer Service – Airlines (Europe & Africa)
This might be the “most valuable” category and one of our favorites. Award redemption is important as is recognition of status, but the manner in which all members’ needs are met is called customer service. Are phones being answered? do you have to grovel in the public social media to be deemed worthy? Are even #no answers handed out with respect? Likely no airline got this award on their legacy of customer service other than Southwest. They proved many years ago that low fares did not mean low service. And the re-invented Aeroplan is right behind. But here’s a sad observation—five years ago, in 2017, the top two programs in this category both earned a ranking above a 9 percent average … this year, no single program did.