And what to consider what program would be best for you...

By Cailey Rizzo
Updated February 28, 2020
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For the fifth consecutive year, Delta’s SkyMiles program has come out on top as the best frequent flier program in the U.S.

In a ranking conducted by WalletHub, the program won based on its ranking in 23 different criteria, ranging from the value of each airline mile to policies regarding blackout dates.

Each airline was ranked based on its value to three different levels of traveler. WalletHub deemed a light flier someone who would spend roughly $574 per year on air travel, the average flier would spend $3,587 per year and a frequent flier would spend $6,612 on their annual airline travel.

WalletHub has a calculator where travelers can discover the best frequent flier plan for them, based on their average travel spending each year. Someone who spends only $1,000 each year on airline travel is likely to find they get a better reward value on Southwest Airlines.

For someone who spends up to $3,000, Delta becomes the best program.

However, that doesn’t mean that the program is best for all types of travelers. Frequent fliers with Alaska Airlines will find their rewards value at the highest, earning back $20.23 per $100 spent.

Hawaiian Airlines was the runner up for value, with $16.20 per $100 spent. 

The ranking also noted that Delta, United, American and Hawaiian have increased their rewards value in the past year 14 percent.

It may be prudent to join several airline loyalty programs and test them out to see which you benefit most from. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are the only four airlines in the U.S. where miles don’t expire due to inactivity. 

Here is the complete ranking:

  1. Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles
  2. United Airlines - MileagePlus
  3. Alaska Airlines - Mileage Plan
  4. Southwest Airlines - Rapid Rewards
  5. JetBlue Airways - TrueBlue

For more information and to see how each airline ranked in each different category, visit WalletHub’s results.

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