Every year airline and hotel loyalty programs compete fiercely for Freddie Awards. Just as the Grammys recognize music and the Oscars recognize movies, the Freddies recognize loyalty programs. Voting for this year’s Freddie Awards is open, and the ceremony will be held on April 27 at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City.
Personally I don’t put all that much weight in the results, since I think the “value” voting system produces unusual results at times, and results also seem to be closely correlated to how much programs campaign for votes. Then again, that’s the nature of most voting systems.
However, I always do enjoy voting, mainly as a way to thank loyalty programs that did an especially good job that year, and to be sure that loyalty programs that weren’t looking out for their members that year don’t get rewarded.
Voting only takes a few minutes. There’s no right or wrong way to vote, it’s just a function of taking a couple of minutes to say thanks to the programs that did you proud. I’ll share my first choice in each category (you can choose up to three in each category), and I’m not in any way suggesting everyone vote the same way I did; vote based on how loyalty programs have treated you the past year.
This year I had a few motivating factors in how I voted:
- In the past I’ve voted for American AAdvantage in many categories (they’ve won “best elite program” for the past five years), but not this year; between last year’s award chart devaluation, them awarding miles based on revenue rather than distance flown, adding a revenue requirement, cutting systemwide upgrades, etc., there’s nothing to thank them for, in my opinion
- As much as I wasn’t happy with Alaska Mileage Plan’s no-notice Emirates award chart devaluation, they still by far did the best job over the past year in terms of elite benefits, and even recently improving them
- Despite being taken over by Marriott, we’ve continued to see innovation from Starwood, and I love the program as much as ever; heck, on principle I want to vote for Starwood simply because it may be the program’s last full year, and I want to thank the great people who have run it for so long
- I have a hard time feeling any affection towards Hyatt right now (not that I hate the new program, but rather that I feel that the new program has lost sight of what made Gold Passport so special for a long time); however, there’s no denying that Hyatt redemption ability is still very good
- For best loyalty program card I had a hard time choosing between the SPG Amex and Chase Sapphire Preferred
So here are the programs I voted for in the number one spot:
To me, Alaska and Starwood just deserve a lot of love. Alaska has countered the trend of devaluing their program, while Starwood has continued as a great program despite being taken over by Marriott.
How are you voting in this year’s Freddie Awards? Which programs are getting love, and which aren’t?