U.S. News names best travel airline, hotel reward program winners
Is anyone surprised that Marriott Bonvoy and Alaska Mileage Plan came out on top?
Given my recent experiences with Bonvoy and "support", not to mention IT and the app.... EXTREMELY surprised.
Can't speak to the Alaska part of the deal, however.
It might be worth pointing out that customer service and IT aren't criteria used in ranking the best hotel programs.
"U.S. News editors evaluated each loyalty program based on key attributes that everyday travelers value, such as the size and diversity of each airline or hotel network and how quickly you can accumulate enough miles or points to earn a free flight or hotel stay. Our rankings also take into account the number of ways you can use rewards and the added benefits you receive as a member."
It would be interesting to see how the rankings would change if customer service and IT were considered.
Well one can't argue with Marriott's footprint. And actually their earning power via stays, credit cards and bonuses are hard to compete with (I've been looking).
My experience using points and the perks that come with being a Titanium member certainly aren't a ringing endorsement of the program. So far about the only perk I've received being such is a matching status with United airlines, for which I've received more upgrades and in trip benefits.
So I suppose Marriott has provided me a benefit .. even though they seemingly outsourced it. ;o)
I cant say that I am surprized that Marriott won again. I thought it may go down a tick this year because of the bumps in transition but it is a pretty strong program and Marriott goes out of its way to coaxing members to vote for them.
I think you nailed it here... Marriott goes out of its way to coaxing members to vote for them. The fact that Wyndham came in 2nd should make you wonder how much importance or relevance is attached to this poll... very little.. the big ones are always the Trip advisor and Skytraxx...
This ranking is not based on voting. The article links to the rating criteria. For hotel loyalty programs, here's the abbreviated version
Check out the details here
I usually don't pay much attention to this stuff. It caught my attention during my morning web surfing.
I suppose it might come in handy if I were trying to decide which hotel or airline rewards program(s) might be worth joining. Most of us are well past that decision.
Thanks for the clarification BE, I think I was thinking of the Freddie Laker awards.
bejacob - I read the same article and found the weightings interesting. I wonder how MRI members would weight these five factors. For me, I would do my weightings this way:
I am not surprised that Marriott is tops. As note by many insiders in terms of benefits and free available options Marriott does a good job enticing (and delivering) on these benefits, especially free night options. I looked at the airline rankings and (not familiar with Alaska) but was surprised to see Delta higher than United. I have found my options for booking with miles easier to do with United than Delta. Oh well, it is what it is!!!
Marriott, no surprise due to sheer size, market share and marketing.
Alaska Airlines, no surprise due to excellent earning, excellent redemptions, excellent status benefits.
I’m not surprised to see Marriott topping this list. The earn/burn points ratio has been improved (unless you’re insisting upon redeeming at gateway cities and resorts, even then there still options), the elite free breakfast offering has been greatly improved, more aspirational properties and better coverage - the last one is really important, SPGs biggest problem was its coverage gaps that made it difficult to run as the only program for your classic road warrior, this is Hyatt’s problem too. No property in the location you’re at diminishes the program’s value, the more often it happens the greater the need to look elsewhere. With its IT woes largely behind it and customer service now at least coping with calls, although CS wasn’t a criteria here I think it is for most road-warriors and that terrible time seems to be in the rear view mirror.
Yeah, I think this top marks award does now match my experience...
I can be one of Marriott's toughest critics... however, I have to say, being able to snag a $587/night room at the lovely Avenue of the Arts Costa Mesa Tribute Portfolio at the last minute using a Cat 4 certificate, has gone the distance to mitigate any perceived wrongs, lol. I don't know if I'd have ever considered booking a room here (with tons of Bonvoy options in the area), but after staying, I've quickly become a fan of this place. Attractive property with lovely public spaces both inside and out, very nice rooms, polite staff, excellent restaurant/bar. It does great credit to it's brand and this stay was definitely a shining moment for me as a benefactor in my relationship with Marriott Bonvoy.
I got the same feeling over New Year back in 2015, booked 3 nights on Points in Marriott Marble Arch, turned up and they said theres an Upgrade in the Grovensor House just down the road, walked down then and got a 2 bedroom suite overlooking Hyde Park..... all for the cost of 3 nights worth of points and the best Lounge anywhere ( well maybe if you exclude the JW in Hong Kong !)
I agree with you pluto77! I was able to utilize at Free Night Certificate last minute at the JW Chicago, rather than paying $700.
And although many people despise Ritz-Carlton for their perceived lack of benefits, we have virtually always gotten a suite upgrade there, the employees treat us very well, plus of course we can accrue more Bonpoints towards amazing aspirational properties. The Bonvoy program fits very well with my style of travel...
I am not surprised at all. I feel like the expectations are high because of the value people receive from the current program. We care, we enjoy it and so we expect it to live up to the continuous expectations. That isn't a bad thing. When people stop saying anything is when your base has become apathetic and they have moved onto the better option.
As I am seeing on the Facebook boards, there are a lot of people who skipped to other properties thinking the grass was greener, only to realize they had the same or worse problems. Not many people can convince me that the point values at a Hilton property is better than what we gain at Marriott. There are not many brands that have as many rooms/properties across the world and can hire such great front-facing customer service teams as I have seen with Marriott. Additionally, I may not always get an upgrade but I certainly feel valued at any property I go to.
I am not trying to be Pollyannish about it because there are issues and I give appropriate feedback when necessary. The overall intent of most people working at Marriott hotels is to make sure you have a great experience. I can confidently say that this is consistently the case.
I can stay anywhere in the world and have top notch experiences solely because I stay only at Marriott. That is what living is all about. =)
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