Best Flyer and Frequent Guest Programs Chosen in the 2013 Freddie Awards
For the second year in a row, American Airlines AAdvantage has been named frequent flyer Program of the Year. Marriott Rewards held the top spot, for the sixth consecutive year, taking the highest honor among hotel programs in the Americas region at the 2013 Freddie Awards on April 25th. A record number of 2.9 million frequent travelers from around the globe voted in this year’s Freddie Awards.
Internationally, Air France/KLM Flying Blue is Program of the Year for the Europe/Africa region and Virgin Australia Velocity received the Program of the Year Freddie Award in the Middle East/Asia/Oceania region.
The Freddie Awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs and rate the best programs in six categories: Program of the Year, Best Promotion, Best Redemption Ability, Best Customer Service, Best Elite Program and Best Loyalty Credit Card. Voters were permitted to vote for programs in one of three global regions: Americas, Middle East/Asia/Oceania and Europe/Africa.
Le Club Accorhotels won Program of the Year in the Europe/Africa region and IHG Priority Club Rewards received the Program of the Year Freddie Award in the Middle East/Asia/Oceania region. This is the first Program of the Year Freddie Award for Le Club Accorhotels, a multiple winner this year, also earning a Freddie for Best Promotion.
The Best Customer Service Freddie Award recognizes the airline and hotel program with the most helpful customer service agents and policies, the ones that offer the best interactions to provide a top-notch experience. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards was given the honor in the Americas region, while third-time Best Customer Service winner, SAS EuroBonus, received the Freddie for the Europe/Africa region. Emirates Skywards came out on top, winning the Freddie for Best Customer Service for the Middle East/Asia/Oceania region.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card was named top loyalty credit card in the Americas region. The JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Credit Card was the winner in the Middle East/Asia/Oceania region and the Flying Blue American Express Card took the prize in the Europe/Africa region - marking the second year in a row that loyalty credit cards affiliated with airline programs swept the regions.
Marriott Rewards and Hyatt Gold Passport each earned four Freddie Awards for a hotel program, while Air France/KLM Flying Blue received the most Freddie Awards for an airline program with five. AviancaTACA LifeMiles won its first Freddie Award, receiving the Best Redemption Ability Freddie Award in the Americas region.
The awards were announced during a gala event at Gannett/USA TODAY Corporate Headquarters in McLean, Va. More than 400 airline, hotel and credit card representatives attended the ceremony, along with frequent flyers who voted in this year’s awards.
“We are delighted to once again allow frequent flyers throughout the world the opportunity to select the frequent travel programs that they believe have achieved excellence,” said Randy Petersen, founder of the Freddie Awards and one of the hosts of the event. “This is not an elitist view of these programs but rather the ‘best’ are determined by the votes of those who spend a great deal of their life on the road.”
The Freddie Awards are named after the late Sir Freddie Laker, who attracted fame (and a knighthood in the United Kingdom) for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.American Express, USA TODAY, Priority Pass, Points.com, SwitchFly, PointsHound, Thanks Again, ICLP, Loylogic, Milepoint.com, Gogo and Executive Travel sponsored this year’s event.