The 2016-17 Best Travel Rewards Programs announced U.S. News & World Report, the widely recognized publisher of rankings, advice and information. The annual rankings identify 28 hotel and airline loyalty programs with the most rewarding perks. For the first time, Wyndham Rewards tops the list for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan holds onto the No. 1 spot for the Best Airline Rewards Programs.
Wyndham Rewards is named No. 1 among the Best Hotel Rewards Programs, allowing members to redeem free nights at more than 7,800 hotels. In the past year, Wyndham has debuted new membership tiers and additional benefits, such as early check-in, late checkout, free amenities and suite upgrades. Choice Privileges and Marriott Rewards tie at No. 2 with both programs offering visitors a variety of lodging options and price ranges.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan remains the Best Airline Rewards Program. By rewarding points based on the number of miles flown rather than dollars spent, the airline makes it easier for budget-conscious travelers to earn free flights on its vast partner network. JetBlue TrueBlue followed at No. 2 because of its multiple ways to earn points, high airline quality performance and elite member perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding and expedited security.
“The Best Travel Rewards Programs make it easier for travelers to understand and select the right program for them,” said Erin Shields, travel editor at U.S. News. “The top ranked programs offer travelers perks they care about, such as room upgrades, free checked bags and easy ways to accumulate miles and points.”
U.S. News ranks the Best Travel Rewards Programs in two categories: hotel loyalty programs and airline frequent flier programs. The methodologies take into account membership perks, network coverage and the ease of earning and redeeming free flights or nights. Additionally, U.S. News factors in property diversity for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and airline quality ratings for the Best Airline Rewards Programs.
2016-17 U.S. News Best Travel Rewards Programs
Hotel Rewards Programs
1. Wyndham Rewards
2. Choice Privileges (Tie)
2. Marriott Rewards (Tie)
4. Best Western Rewards
5. La Quinta Returns
Airline Rewards Programs
1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
2. JetBlue TrueBlue
3. Southwest Rapid Rewards
4. Delta SkyMiles
5. Virgin America Elevate