Frequent Flyer Program Award Redemption Satisfaction: The Best and Worst Airlines for 2013

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Many US Airways Dividend Miles members were also unhappy with DSC_0279their program’s redemption process.  While the 45% disapproval rate may look poor, it’s a step in the right direction for the program, which last year scored a 50% dissatisfaction rating.   With the airline’s imminent merger with American Airlines, however, Dividend Miles members will soon find themselves in the more highly-rated AAdvantage program, which will probably undergo some changes after the merger as well. It will be interesting to see where the combined AAdvantage program places after it has been up and running for a while.

Finally, when comparing legacy U.S. carriers, an important means of comparison for many travelers as the networks of these carriers are far more extensive than low-cost carriers and they also offer a premium product on virtually every flight, American took first place with 79% of program members giving it a rating of satisfied or higher, followed by United with a 76% satisfaction rating.  In last place, Delta only managed to achieve a 33% satisfaction rating.

BOTTOM LINE

Frequent flyer programs can’t be all things to all people.  While the airlines created them to build loyalty and allow members to accumulate points and miles for award travel, the picture today is far more complex and includes upgrade programs and partnerships with hotels and rental car agencies.  As a result, members come to the table with different expectations and a bad rating in award redemption satisfaction doesn’t automatically make a program a bad fit for everyone.

However, the complexity of today’s programs does mean that a frequent (and not-so-frequent) flyer should join a program or programs with a complete understanding of what that program offers, how well it performs, and what he expects to get out of the program when all is said and done.

FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAM AWARD REDEMPTION SATISFACTION RANKINGS

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(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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