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.
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.
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
Best Elite Program – Hotels (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
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
Best Elite Program – Airlines (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
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.
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.