Frequent Flyer Program Award Redemption Satisfaction: The Best and Worst for 2014

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A total of 5,224 readers took part in our survey, and a concurrent discussion on FlyerTalk’s MilesBuzz forum generated dozens of postings and 6,000 views while the survey was in progress.

Overall, participants in Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan reported being the happiest with their ability to redeem flights on the dates they wanted.  Three-quarters of respondents participating in the program reported being satisfied or very satisfied, with 42.7% saying they were very satisfied.  FlyerTalk member Azamaraal praised the program’s award redemption opportunities, saying, “Ability to fly with Cathay and Emirates with virtually no fees is incredible.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Alaska Mileage Plan members were the least ambiguous in reporting their feelings, with only 20.7% of participants in the program saying they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the program’s award redemption aspect.  Furthermore, only 3.5% of members reported that they were not satisfied with their ability to redeem miles in this program, while a tiny 1.3% said they were very dissatisfied.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan also topped the list of best award redemption programs last year, with a combined 91% of respondents reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the program.

For the second year in a row, Southwest Rapid Rewards was ranked as the second best award redemption program overall, with 55.8% of its members reporting that they were at least satisfied with their ability to redeem miles, including 26.4% who said they were very satisfied,  FlyerTalk member nsx said that redeeming awards in Southwest’s program is “like paying the non-refundable price for a refundable ticket”due to the program’s lack of cancellation penalties. Only 9.4% of respondents said they were not satisfied or very dissatisfied with the program’s award redemption, down from 17% last year.

American Airlines AAdvantage members also reported an overall high rate of satisfaction with their ability to redeem flights.  The program was ranked third again this year, with half of all program members participating in the survey reporting that they were at least satisfied.  Of that group, 14.9% of respondents said that they were very satisfied.  Only 6.4% reported being very dissatisfied with the program.

Two newcomers to the top five, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and British Airways Executive Club, ranked fourth and fifth place, respectively, this year.  Neither program was ranked in the top five previously; last year, British Airways managed to achieve only an eighth place ranking, while Singapore Airlines was not included in the rankings at all due to a low response rate.

With only 29.1% of respondents reporting that they were at a minimum satisfied with their ability to redeem miles, Air Canada Aeroplan ranked as the third lowest program this year, just above Delta SkyMiles and Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles.  This was an improvement for the program however, which in 2013 was in last place.

Click here to continue to Page 3The Bottom of the List, Detailed Survey Data, and Methodology

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