Three great elite programs—all in a row

Three great elite programs—all in a row

Identical to the places finished for Program of the Year, Marriott Bonvoy claims elite status over Caesars Rewards and MGM Rewards. And as with POTY, all finished with a value vote rating of 8.X. What is interesting is that the value vote rating for Bonvoy in this category matched that very same rating as POTY with an 8.67. But that’s where things come to a screeching halt. Wyndham drops down to a sixth-place finish and who replaces them in #4? That’s right—ALL. You know—Accor Live Limitless. We know … you are still getting used to the World of Hyatt naming convention. But seeing Accor in the Americas is actually a big deal. Repeat after me—a b-i-g d-e-a-l. Primarily known for collecting many Freddie Awards from the European and beyond sector, a fourth-place finish here is impressive. But it wasn’t that easy as they had but a 7/100ths of a percentage margin over fifth-place Hilton HHonors. And if you think that is close, then consider that Honors claimed fifth place from the sixth place Wyndham Rewards by a mere 1/100ths of a percentage point.

Now, if you ask our opinion (and we realize you didn’t), the program that should be reading these results right alongside you is World of Hyatt. In the previous eight Freddie Awards, World of Hyatt (nee Gold Passport) won this category six times. repeat after us—they won six of eight previous times. What happened? Well, certainly members know because this year the value vote rating was 6.77, well down from its run when they easily averaged in the 8.X range. This sort of observation is exactly why reading over the results in this manner is valuable to both members and the programs. In this instance, it is—read and weep.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Hotels (Americas)Rating
1Marriott Bonvoy8.67
2Caesars Rewards8.52
3MGM Rewards8.30
4ALL Accor Live Limitless7.49
5Hilton Honors7.22
6Wyndham Rewards7.21
7World of Hyatt6.77
8IHG Rewards6.54
9Choice Privileges6.32
10Best Western Rewards6.31
11La Quinta Returns6.26
12Radisson Rewards6.03
13Omni Select Guest5.82
#elitematters and Accor is ALL in on it

#elitematters and Accor is ALL in on it

When Accor ALL first won this category in 2020, it was almost considered a fluke given that Marriott/Starwood had ruled the category for many years. But with this back-to-back win, it is clear that Accor ALL is all in on status. Granted, it was their lowest rating among the four Freddie Awards they won this year, it was mere fractions in comparison to their y-u-g-e win in Program of the Year. Perennial category winner Marriott (with assistance from Starwood) finished second with the now usual group of MeliáRewards, Hilton, and IHG right behind. This is MeliáRewards’ second category in which they finished in a #3 spot. Good on them. However, let us note that there is a rating drop below Marriott Bonvoy in the #2 spot of 1.1 points before MeliáRewards claims the #3 spot. We do not think it is good to see such a gap in ratings in this important category so high up. In fact, there is less than a 1.1 point rating drop from the #3 spot to the #10 spot.

TRIVIA: When Accor ALL first won this award in 2020, they broke a streak of 17 consecutive years in which either Marriott or Starwood won this category.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Hotels (Europe & Africa)Rating
1ALL Accor Live Limitless9.10
2Marriott Bonvoy8.23
4Hilton Honors6.97
5IHG Rewards6.81
6Wyndham Rewards6.68
7World of Hyatt6.60
8GHA Discovery6.52
9Leading Hotels of the World Leaders Club6.51
10NH Rewards6.37
11Radisson Rewards6.35
12Best Western Rewards6.30
13Choice Privileges6.18
Club ITC wins overall Best Elite award with 9.05 rating

Club ITC wins overall Best Elite award with 9.05 rating

This category win by Club ITC is but one of four this year for this program and Best Elite along with Program of the Year certainly puts them in the #admired category itself. As in many other categories this year, the three highest-rated programs remain the same with Accor ALL and Marriott Bonvoy following right behind. Club ITC does become the fourth winner in this category in the past four Freddie Awards with Marriott, Hyatt, and Starwood being the previous three winners. And yes, you read this correctly, Hyatt won the Best Elite award in 2019 … this year they finished in ninth place with a rating over 2.5 points off of the 9.05 rating that Club ITC earned the award with. Regional programs from Taj, Shangri-La, and GHA are bunched right behind the top three with IHG, Hyatt, and Hilton not faring well in this region where service and status matter most.

TRIVIA: ITC Hotels has a franchise agreement to operate most of its hotels as part of The Luxury Collection of Marriott International. It is a smaller chain of only about 100 hotels and in case you’ve ever wondered … “ITC” stands for Imperial Tobacco Company.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Hotels (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)Rating
1Club ITC9.05
2ALL Accor Live Limitless8.78
3Marriott Bonvoy8.35
4Taj InnerCircle7.54
5Shangri La Golden Circle6.86
6GHA Discovery6.62
7IHG Rewards6.54
8Hilton Honors6.36
9World of Hyatt6.31
10Wyndham Rewards6.17
11Radisson Rewards6.06
12Best Western Rewards6.00
13Trident Hotel Trident Privilege5.37
Singapore KrisFlyer sweeps another category win with Best Elite program

Singapore KrisFlyer sweeps another category win with Best Elite program

KrisFlyer works on sweeping the Freddie Awards in the Middle East & Asia/Oceania region with this impressive win, nearly a half-point higher rating from their members than #2 Vistara Club Vistara. As with Program of the Year, Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles closes out the top three with their 8.24 rating by members. The first true Middle East airline loyalty program in this category is Saudia Alfursan easily outdistancing Emirates Skywards in #8. And what of perennial category winner Virgin Australia Velocity? They are in full command of the #9 spot. Another Asian loyalty program that hovers in the top half is the Korean Air Skypass program, in this category ranked at #6. The top Chinese loyalty program emerges from Air China PhoenixMiles landing in the #13 spot.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Airlines (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)Rating
1Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer9.10
2Vistara Club Vistara8.64
3Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles8.24
4Saudia Alfursan7.84
5Air New Zealand Airpoints7.70
6Korean Air Skypass7.48
7Qantas Frequent Flyer7.45
8Emirates Skywards7.11
9Virgin Australia Velocity7.01
10Asiana Airlines Asiana Club6.98
11Malaysia Airlines Enrich6.98
12Qatar Airways Privilege Club6.94
13Air China PhoenixMiles6.91
14Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles6.90
15JAL Mileage Bank6.80
16Air India Flying Returns6.75
17ANA Nippon Airways Mileage Club6.55
19Gulf Air FalconFlyer6.21
20Air Arabia Air Rewards6.17
22China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles6.16
23Etihad Guest6.02
24Thai Royal Orchid Plus5.96
25EVA Airways Infinity MileageLands5.91
26AirAsia Big5.71
27Oman Air Sinbad5.71
28China Airlines Dynasty Flyer5.59
In The Best Elite Category, TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go Matters the Most

In The Best Elite Category, TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go Matters the Most

Some might likely say that this is the category that matters the most and based upon personal interviews—we agree. Miles&Go added to their sweep of the 2022 Freddies with a clean #1 rating, but there is interesting jockeying in the following places. While Miles & More (Lufthansa) was a clear #2 in POTY, in this elite category they switched places and Air France KLM Flying Blue finished a strong #2. British Airways Executive Club maintained their #4 position finish but Virgin Atlantic Flying Club dropped two places to finish in seventh place while Turkish and Aegean each rose a place to take up where Virgin dropped. We’ve always been puzzled here because Virgin has such a reputation with their product which doesn’t seem to transfer into respecting their finest members. Of course, Turkish and Aegean have both been darlings of status matches and alliance benefits so their places are certainly deserved. Higher ranking by both would likely come about from more for their own members than for members of other programs.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Airlines (Europe & Africa)Rating
1TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go9.31
2Air France KLM Flying Blue8.07
3Lufthansa Miles & More7.99
4British Airways Executive Club7.27
5Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles7.09
6Aegean Miles Bonus6.87
7Virgin Atlantic Flying Club6.78
8Norwegian Air Shuttle Norwegian Reward6.55
9SAS EuroBonus6.52
10Alitalia MileMiglia6.29
11Iberia Plus6.17
12FinnAir Plus6.07
13Air Europa Suma5.95
14South African Airways Voyager5.91
15Vueling Club5.61
16Icelandair Saga Club5.55
American Airlines AAdvantage scores another win as Best Elite program

American Airlines AAdvantage scores another win as Best Elite program

Just as close counts in hand grenades and horse shoes, so does it seem to count in this years Best Elite program. Revamped and hard charging Aeroplan couldn’t get the extra thousandths of a percent in value rating to overcome AAdvantage’s tenth consecutive win in this category. AAdvantage has a spectacular run at ruling this important category which is considered the most challenging to win because elite status matters (most). What’s intriguing here is the float downward of the Alaska Airlines elite program which almost traditionally is in the mix (and has won) this particular Freddie Award category. Just as intriguing is the #topfive finish of the Spirit Airlines program—two low cost airlines, Southwest and Spirit in the top five… interesting. What is troubling is the full half of a percentage point that Delta trails American for elite rankings among the legacy carriers. United is a full two points below the value rating of American.

Full Voting Results

RankBest Elite Program – Airlines (Americas)Rating
1American Airlines AAdvantage8.71
2Air Canada Aeroplan8.71
3Avianca LifeMiles8.59
4Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards8.17
5Spirit Airlines Free Spirit7.91
6Delta Air Lines SkyMiles7.24
7Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan6.79
8United Airlines Mileage Plus6.73
9LATAM Pass6.56
10JetBlue TrueBlue6.46
11Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles6.36
12Frontier Airlines Frontier Miles6.13