How I Voted In This Year’s Freddie Awards

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.

Freddie-Awards

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:

Freddies

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?

Comments

  1. AA apparently has hired an on staff comedian, as they actually emailed me asking me to vote for them. What’s that saying about “when pigs fly”? 😉

    I think the Freedie’s would be much more useful if you could vote ‘against’ as well as for a program. Then AA might just end up with a negative number.

  2. I concur on SPG having the best customer service!1
    I had to email the platinum concierge the other day to say i’ll miss them when marriot takeover/merger is complete. sniff…..

  3. After receiving an email from AA that asked if they could count on my vote…I replied by sending this to AAdvantage Customer Service:

    I received an email asking “Can we count on your vote?” with regards to the Freddie Awards. In the past, the answer from me was always a resounding YES. As EP for over 15 years, I have enjoyed immense benefits and service as a result of AAdvantage and my status. Sadly, the program has taken a very different course over the last year.

    I fully understand things needed to change with regards to the program moving to revenue-based. I get that. But what has happened at the same time has been enormously disheartening as a big fan of AA in general. Availability of awards in international premium cabins has virtually disappeared. The ability to secure and use SWUs in advance of a flight is now nearly impossible. The level of customer service when calling into the EP line has significantly decreased (I can typically tell within 30 seconds whether I am talking to a pre-merger EP agent or not). The ability to upgrade domestic flights using miles/copay or SWUs seems to now be gone thanks to the move to make domestic F domestic J.

    Further, up til now, the AAdvantage program was the reason I could overlook operational issues such as on time performance or baggage handling issues (of which I seem to have an inordinate amount of). These still exist plus now AA refuses to interline my bag across PNRs. Crazy.

    All of this amounts to death by a thousand cuts and makes the answer to your initial question, sadly, NO. AA did not get my vote in any category for a Freddie Award.

  4. Even I am turning away from Hyatt since the conception of WOH, but for the best hotel promotion part only, I voted for Hyatt.

  5. For hotels I voted for Accor. The offer good private sales, 3 nights for the price of two and it’s easy to reach a level where you get upgrades. The offer a wide range of price levels. I like Accor for Asian and European travel.

  6. what about garuda for best promotion with their outrageously cheap business/first flights from europe to asia and their 90% off award flight promo (yes people had trouble with it, because it wasn’t meant for US residents but for locals).

  7. I also omitted AA from my votes (somewhat due to spite, mostly due to honesty). However, do we really expect the Freddies to have any impact on AA’s decision making? Hate-voting is quick and easy, but AA will stay the course until it actually effects their bottom line.

  8. Do you have any explanation how ANY promo SPG did beats the TWO promos hyatt had last year. 150K Hyatt points I earned via promos. SPG=everyone overrates the CRAP out of that program.

  9. MY only 3 experiences with SPG customer service this year:
    1. Points were taken away from Dolphin hotel so I called and ask why: My G/F checked in before I got there but I went to the desk after to change back to my credit card. The hotel took my points away anyway saying I wasn’t there! wtf!? after 3 weeks, still no points
    2. Aloft LAX – I never take breakfast at these hotels since its downright disgusting (they serve pancakes in a plastic container, yum!) So I take the checkin bonus. Well my last stay check in bonus never posted. 3 calls to hotel and 2 calls to SPG and I got my lousy 250 points (only hotel chain that makes you pick between points and Bfast)
    3. Platinum rate guarantee at the Stoneligh in Dallas. They said no dice since there is an event going on. I called the hotel to ask about the event, they said there was none. 4 calls total and 1 hours on the phone and finally got it

    I cannot recollect any decent customer service from SPG in my dealings with them since the merger. I do not see what everyone else sees in their Customer Service

  10. In the past I always voted for American Airlines. Now they can burn in Hell as far as I’m concerned.

  11. We in Europe got a different selection of airline programs to vote for (i.e. European programs only). I’m not sure how much sense this makes, given some airlines are truly global today (e.g. ME3, US3) … Anyhow, I also had a hard time picking my favorite for other other reasons (devaluation, earn and redemption restrictions even within it’s own alliance etc.).

    As regards the hotels, it appears we got the same selection like the US voters. I agree with Lucky on SPG and they also got my #1 vote. Clearly Hilton has moved forward to #2 – while Hyatt completely dropped out … Finally, I gave #3 to Melia, which is an amazing hotel chain and reasonably well run program.

  12. Also refused to vote for AA in any category for the first time in years. And cust service is indeed bad with non-legacy AA folks: I had to argue with a EP phone agent the other day that AA flies nonstop LAX to London. “Sir,
    We don’t fly Los Angeles to London”, she asserted. I fly the route often and was currently holding a ticket. Yikes! Was not a confidence builder.

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