And the envelope for the top frequent-flier program goes to … Southwest Airlines.
The loyalty programs for Southwest and hotel chain Marriott took the coveted “Program of the Year” titles for the “Americas” region in the 2017 Freddie Awards, which were revealed Thursday evening in Jersey City, N.J.
Both programs are repeat winners. For Marriott, the win was the 10th in a row for its Marriott Rewards loyalty program. The win for Southwest and its Rapid Rewards program was its second in a row. (Scroll down for the full list of award winners)
Among the overall results, which include regional award winners from all parts of the world, Starwood Hotels’ Starwood Preferred Guest program claimed more individual Freddies than any other program. It took six in total, buoyed by strong results in the Middle East & Asia/Oceania region, where it claimed five Freddies.
Southwest and Marriott each won four individual Freddies.
Looking just at the Americas, winners of multiple Freddies were Southwest’s Rapid Rewards (4), Marriott’s Marriott Rewards (4) and the LifeMiles program of Colombia-based Avianca (2).
IN PICTURES: 30 cool aviation photos (story continues below)
The annual “Freddie” awards recognize the world’s top airline and hotel loyalty programs. The awards are determined by votes from frequent fliers and hotel patrons, recognizing five “best of” categories for both airlines and hotels in each of three global regions. The Freddies also honor the best loyalty credit cards in each of the regions. And there’s a special “210 Award” for programs being recognized programs “trending higher” among travelers.
The awards employ a scoring system weighted to balance high-scoring votes against a simple quantity of votes. In doing so, Freddie organizers say the loyalty program of a smaller airline or hotel chain is able to be judged more fairly against bigger programs that can mobilize a large number of voters. A record 4.2 million frequent travelers voted in the latest Freddie Awards.
The Freddie Awards, first given in 1988, are named for the late Sir Freddie Laker, who achieved knighthood in the United Kingdom for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.
Scroll down for a full list of the awards:.
IN PICTURES: 30 (more) cool aviation photos (story continues below)