Frequent flyers know that one of the best ways to lower their travel costs and score pampering perks is to take advantage of airline loyalty programs. But, of course, not all mileage plans are created equal.
Every year in our annual World’s Best Awards survey, we ask readers to rank airlines based on everything from their in-flight service to the quality of the food.
This time, we took a close look at which airlines earned raves for their frequent-flyer programs. And while a few members of the top 10 list aren’t surprising (repeat winners such as Emirates and Singapore airlines pleased travelers with their ease of use and elite perks) others were: namely, Scandinavian Airlines.
While the airline didn’t receive top scores in other categories, its loyalty program truly impressed World’s Best voters. One reader called it the “best in the industry,” which is no small accomplishment for a smallish carrier specializing in Northern Europe. Standout features include partnerships and campaigns with global companies including Hilton Worldwide, car-rental brands Avis and Hertz, and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.
While the best rewards program for any individual traveler depends on many factors, all of these airlines strive to provide a simple, straightforward redemption system and a diverse portfolio of partners. In a world where most airlines are siphoning away elite bonuses and honoring flyers for how much they spend rather than how much they fly, savvy travelers are more conscious than ever about where they bank their points and miles.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your status, or reap rewards from even the most modest stash of miles, consider joining these reader-approved clubs.