Hard data: The Best Frequent Flier Programs

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by UsingMiles, Jul 6, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. UsingMiles

    UsingMiles Z Representative

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    It’s all well and good to amass frequent flier miles — but how does the carrier stand up when you go to actually redeem awards? Are you spending your effort collecting miles you’ll never be able to book a seat with?
    [​IMG]
    The good news is someone’s actually got hard data on the availability of award seats, and they’ve recently released their ratings for 2012. IdeaWorks Company’s 3rd annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey (pdf) tested 23 airlines by trying to book award travel (for two) on nearly 300 different dates via the airlines’ websites.

    The results? Carriers are getting general better, and a few really stand out.
    Southwest and Air Berlin both took the #1 title in a tie, with the survey’s test travelers being able to book an astounding 100% of their attempted dates using award miles. Coming in behind them were GOL (97.1%), Lufthansa (92.1%), Singapore Airlines (90.7%), and Virgin Australia (90.0%). AirTrain Airways and United Airlines tied for 7th place (87.1%), and JetBlue (86.4%) and British Airways (79.3%) rounded out the top 10.

    The broad trend, according to IdeaWorks, is improved reward availability; 2012 results were about 5 percentage points better overall than in 2010. And it’s the “value oriented” airlines that serve the frequent flier best; among the six in the survey, the average availability for reward seats was 93.5%. Considering the other 17 carriers averaged about 63%, it’s pretty clear the “value oriented” airlines know which side their bread is buttered on.
    “Frequent flier programs have been slowly but surely improving member rewards,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly. “Nine airlines scored above 80% for 2012, which is much improved from five airlines above 80% in 2010, the first year of the survey.”​
    It’s probably worth managing your frequent flier accounts with these results in mind — focusing on airline companies that give reward travelers the greatest priority. Feel free to contact us to help you manage airline miles — and for managing all your loyalty programs!
     
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  2. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    I hate hard data. Takes all of the emotion and logical fallacies out of a forum. I mean come on.


    (Joking, thanks for the info)
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Before taking the IdeaWorks study too seriously, one should look at their definitions and methodology in order to understand what facts it's documenting and what the shortcomings of their analysis are. IIRC there was an extensive critique of last year's version of this report in gleff's blog and a discussion in the WSJ.
     
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  4. JetsettingEric
    Original Member

    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    where did they book to??? good luck using southwest miles for a trip to europe.
     
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  5. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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  6. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Since when does AmEx transfer to US? And when did Delta and United stop being partners again? :D
     
  7. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    Amex lost US as a transfer partner when HP acquired that airline. I do remember crediting DL segments to UA in the late 90s though I don't recall the miles ever posting without intervention.
     
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  8. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    I remember using Skymiles for a flight on United, but wasn't aware of the pre-HP US/AmEx relationship (though I wonder why the lounge access for AX Platinum is there but not miles).
     
  9. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    Amex went out and got the US Airways lounge relationship when it was clear they were going to lose Continental as a result of the United merger (and resulting influence from Chase).

    However the HP acquisition was funded in large measure by Juniper Bank (since acquired by Barclays) and that relationship presumably precluded an Amex points deal.
     
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  10. julielou2
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    julielou2 Silver Member

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    Never had an issue redeeming awards on SWA...whether it was the old program or 2.0. Don't care if I'm herded like a piece of cattle...Southwest will always be my number 1.
     
  11. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The study is crap and I put very little faith in a company which claims to be helping folks understand mileage redemption and value and which also pretends that this "hard data" is reality.

    Just one bit of proof that the study is crap: B6 and WN have basically identical programs when it comes to redemption; neither has any limits other than the last seat on the plane. So how is it that WN scored so high and B6 didn't?

    On the plus side, you gotta give UsingMiles props for leveraging the MilePoint platform to boost their SEO rankings. :rolleyes:
     
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