Don’t Forget To Vote In The 2014 Freddie Awards

It’s the Oscars tonight, which, well, I don’t actually know what that’s for. Movies? Music? Athletes? Interweb sensations? Who knows…

Anyway, I figured I’d post a quick reminder that voting is presently open for our beloved industry’s very own awards, The Freddie Awards.

The Freddie Awards have been going on for over 25 years now, and honor the best in airline and hotel loyalty programs. This is exciting because it’s our chance to give our favorite programs of the year a pat on the back and our least favorite programs of the year a slap on the wrist. As silly as it sounds, I really do believe that the awards reinforce good behavior and put the losers of the year where they belong. Not to name any names, but I’m always mildly amused when certain airlines don’t even send a representative to the awards ceremony, since they know they don’t have a chance of winning.

Voting only takes a couple of minutes, so be sure to cast your ballot.

Which programs are getting my vote?

On the airline front I think it’s obvious — American AAdvantage (almost) all the way. Seriously, they deserve our votes. Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus have demolished their programs this year. Hell, even Southwest Rapid Rewards is devaluing their points. American on the other hand has maintained their program as is.

Now let be clear, I’m sure we’ll see a devaluation from American soon, but at the end of the day we’re voting based on how the programs have treated us for the past year, and I think American deserves a pat on the back for the way their AAdvantage program looks right now.

On the hotel front I’m split between Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest. Not surprisingly those are also the two hotel chains I have top tier status with and split my hotel nights between.

One reason to vote for Hyatt is that their VP of Gold Passport, Jeff Zidell (also known as the most awesome person in the airline/hotel loyalty program industry), put out a video with 10 reasons to vote for them:

In all honesty, Hyatt does a phenomenal job with managing expectations and elite treatment. While their promotions aren’t as lucrative as back in the day when they ran “Faster Free Nights,” they’re still substantially more rewarding than the industry average. Hyatt devalued their award chart this year, though in my opinion made up for it by introducing Points + Cash and “My Elite Rate.” So all things considered, as a Diamond member I think their program is actually more rewarding than it was before the changes.

Starwood is great as well. They have a ton of hotels and they didn’t devalue their program at all in the past year. I do wish they’d be a bit more consistent with implementation of elite benefits and had more reasonable redemption rates for high end hotels, but all things considered I’ve actually made substantially more stays at Starwood than Hyatt properties lately.

So I split my votes between Hyatt and Starwood on the hotel front, as I love them both.

Have you voted in the Freddies, and if so, who did you vote for?

Filed Under: Advice
  1. American and Southwest (in that order with no 3rd place vote) got my vote for airline loyalty program. Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton (in that order) got my votes for hotel loyalty. Yes I know that Hilton has been basically devalued to nothing, and I grimaced when I gave them my #3. But over the past year I’ve also had some very good deals on redemption with them. In the airline category, American got my top pick for exactly the same reasons you indicated Ben – plus I’ve had some very good experiences with AAdvantage customer service reps who went beyond the call of duty on a couple of thorny redemption issues this year. Southwest got my 2nd place vote because you really can’t beat that Companion Pass perk when it comes to domestic travel (I just re-qualified through 2015 this week).

  2. For me, Alaska was easily my number one with AA second. Too many reasons to list whilst typing this on an iPhone. For hotels, it was SPG #1, Hyatt #2, and Hilton #3.

    Once I requal for status on AS, will look forward to doing more on AA to see if the combo can outperform The DebacLe that is DL.

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