If you must know, Caesars Rewards narrowly nudges 9.X with an 8.90 rating and reclaims the title of Best Promotion after a two-year run by Marriott Bonvoy (2019-2020). You will now learn that we use the term “reclaim” loosely because it was not Caesars that held the title in 2018, but its cross Las Vegas Strip rival MGM Rewards that won the award for three consecutive years (2016-2018) and the term “reclaim” here is reclaiming the award back to a non-traditional loyalty program that wasn’t around when the likes of Marriott/Hyatt/Hilton/Starwood and Holiday Inn ruled the lobbies. Caesars’ winning promotion was: Earn For Next Year >> For every 500 Tier Credits earned November 1 – December 31, 2021 members received 100 bonus Tier Credits for 2022. As the world of loyalty recovered from the world of COVID, it’s clear that promotions that boosted tier/elite status spoke to the members who were willing and eager to listen. Botton line—Hail Caesars (Rewards).
NOTE: Previous three-time winner in this category, MGM Rewards, did not have an entry this year.
Promotions by nature typically have ceilings on their earning power. That’s just the way it typically is. However, Bonvoy busted through that ceiling in 2021 when they offered a Better Two-gether promotion that captured the attention of a membership base that has struggled to find signals that the worst is over from the Covid-era. This promotion allowed members to earn an unlimited amount of double bonus points for stays of two nights or longer at more than 7,500 of their participating properties and double elite night credits between February 16 – April 27, 2021. Members needed no fine print to understand that this promotion was going to make elite status much easier to achieve for 2022. We like this win but it certainly did not come easy for Bonvoy. Right behind them in second place was Accor ALL who was within 1/100ths (8.66 vs. 8.65) with their activation booster promotion: Members could earn up to €120 in points, with 1 to 3 stays of 2 nights or more booked between September 23 and November 4 for stays through December 31, 2021, earning up to 6,000 points. Money (OK, Euros) talks. And since this is show and tell, let’s see what other programs offered up among the top five highest-rated promotions: Hilton Honors (#3) was in with More Nights, More Points >>> Members were able to earn Double Bonus Points on every stay of one or two nights, and Triple Bonus Points on every stay of three nights or more, in addition to Points earned on eligible hotel spend. MeliáRewards (#4) offered up this promotion >>> Your Home Needs a Holiday in which members received up to 30% off stays and up to 20,000 MeliáRewards points on stays booked July 26 – October 3, 2021, for travel through October 31, 2021.
TRIVIA: The promotion offer by Marriott Bonvoy earned the same rating (8.66) both in the American and the Europe & Africa regions. Interesting that differing audiences in nationalities rated it equally. Also, Marriott Bonvoy was the third program in the last three years to win this category award (Accor and IHG were the other winners).
Club ITC claims the Best Promotion award honor becoming the fifth different winner in the past six Freddie Awards in this category. Club ITC also earned this award with the highest rating for the award across all other regions with a 9.01 final rating. The secret to their win? Appealing to the need for status: Members were able to earn status by staying one-third fewer nights or one-third less revenue in 2021. Silver status was earned after just 4 nights or INR 40,000 revenue, while Platinum required just 20 nights or INR 200,000 revenue. Right behind them were other great promotions including #2 Accor ALL with their activation booster: Members could earn up to €120 in points, with 1 to 3 stays of 2 nights or more booked between September 23 and November 4 for stays through December 31 earning up to 6,000 Reward points (This promotion finished #2 in Europe) and #3 Marriott Bonvoy with their Better Two-gether promotion: Earn an unlimited amount of double bonus points for stays of two nights or longer at more than 7,500 participating properties and double elite night credits making elite status much faster to achieve especially when combined with Marriott Bonvoy cobranded credit cards, between February 16 – April 27, 2021 (This promotion finished #2 in the Americas). After Marriott, the promotion ratings fall sharply with the next seven promotions all rated within a .75 point variance.
Full Voting Results
Best Promotion – Hotels (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
Add this category to the sweep of awards that Singapore KrisFlyer has earned and won in 2022. Their “Earn Status Without Flying” promotion bested all others by allowing KrisFlyer and PPS Club members the ability to accumulate status credits as they shopped, spent, or converted partner reward points to KrisFlyer miles. This KrisFlyer year-long campaign counted towards status renewal or membership tier upgrade snd it earned a 9.08 rating. Ranking second, was the Club Vistara promotion called Milestone for which members taking 4 flights would earn 1,000 bonus Club Vistara Points. Well rated at 8.80. It’s delightful to see Qantas at the #3 spot with their Celebrate The Trans-Tasman Bubble promotion in which Frequent Flyer members were welcomed back on board with 5,000 bonus points and double status credits when they registered and made bookings May 10-15, 2021 for travel May 17, 2021 – February 28, 2022. Rated at 7.22 by their members, Qantas made a great effort to put the Covid years behind. In the #4 and #5 positions, we’re happy to see two Middle East loyalty programs, Emirates and Qatar, qualify in the top five positions for their promotions. Emirates featured the catchy Earn-A-Mile-A-Minute in Dubai which coincided with Expo 2020, the UAE’s 50th-year celebration, and all of the unforgettable experiences that Dubai has to offer. Skywards members earned 1 Skywards Mile for every minute spent in the city during the Expo 2020 global showcase from 1 October 2021 onward. This was clearly imaginative. But let’s not forget Qatar and their FIFA Offer. As the Official Frequent Flyer Programme of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, Privilege Club members received 14 days early access to FIFA packages and when return flights opened for the first games of the World Cup, members were able to enjoy 100 bonus elite Qpoints for all bookings made that day for the specific travel period. Given the frenzy of the FIFA World Cup, it’s clear this was popular and earned its own 6.98 rating.
Full Voting Results
Best Promotion – Airlines (Middle East & Asia/Oceania)
Another outstanding rating by Miles&Go on their way to a sweep in this region for 2022. In both the Americas and Middle East Asia/Oceania, the margins between #1 and #2 were a quarter to a half-point, this margin is a full one and a quarter-point in ratings. What promotion could rank this high? the Miles&Go Black Friday which offered “Between 26 November until 1 December TAP Miles&Go Club offered a total of 144,000 bonus miles and 8,000 status miles with a 12-month mileage purchase subscription.” Uhhhhh, 144,000 bonus miles and additional status miles will do it almost any time. As mentioned, Flying Blue was #2 with this: “Gain Double XP >>> Members automatically gained double elite qualifying points to maintain their current status and reach the next one faster on all Air France and KLM-marketed flights taken between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.” Lufthansa has a top-three finish with this: “Earn Additional Status Miles in 2021 >>> From 1st January to 31th of December 2021 members earned double status miles for flights, double HON Circle miles with flights in First and Business Class and Frequent Travellers & Senators were also able to earn status miles when using their Miles & More Credit Card.” But we’re still thinking about those 144,000 bonus miles from Miles&Go.
In a test of how well you know the winners of the Freddie Awards—did you know that Avianca (also at one point known as AviancaTaca) has won the best promotion award seven times out of the past eight years? Southwest Rapid Rewards won in 2018 and AAdvantage won in the years 2009-2013. Again a top-five finish for Free Spirit and even an appearance by Frontier Miles, but where did Mileage Plus go? And asking for a friend—we’re wondering when the day will come when bonus offers to sell more miles will not be considered a #great promotion. But those offers appear to have great value to members, in fact, did you notice that the results for this category are the only category in the Americas in which the winner garnered a 9+ rank for its value vote?