As many a loyalty card junkie knows, reward programs often come with a set of opaque rules and fine print that can make it difficult to redeem points accrued for years.
In the US News & World Report’s latest ranking, editors looked at 28 hotel and airline loyalty programs in the US to determine which ones make sticking with one brand worth consumers’ while.
“The Best Travel Rewards Programs make it easier for travelers to understand and select the right program for them,” said Erin Shields, travel editor at US News, in a statement.
“The top ranked programs offer travelers perks they care about, such as room upgrades, free checked bags and easy ways to accumulate miles and points.”
Topping the category of hotel loyalty programs for the first time is Wyndham Rewards, which allows members to redeem free nights at 7,800 hotels across their network.
This year Wyndham debuted additional benefits for their most loyal customers, including more flexible check-in and check-out options, free amenities and suite upgrades.
For rewarding points based on the number of miles flown rather than dollars spent, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan was named the best airline rewards program.
For the ranking, editors evaluated the size and diversity of each airline or hotel network, how quickly members can accumulate miles and redeem points, and the number of ways rewards can be used.
Here are the top airline loyalty rewards programs:
1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
2. JetBlue TrueBlue
3. Southwest Rapid Rewards
4. Delta SkyMiles
5. Virgin America Elevate
Here are the top hotel rewards programs:
1. Wyndham Rewards
2. Choice Privileges (Tie)
3. Marriott Rewards (Tie)
4. Best Western Rewards
5. La Quinta Returns