Freddie Awards Voting: Everything You Need To Know

Filed Under: Advice

Voting opened in the past week for the Freddie Awards, which is the longest standing and most popular travel loyalty awards ceremony.

The first Freddie Awards were held in 1989, and over the years tens of millions of votes have been cast to allow members to recognize the loyalty programs they appreciate most.

Freddie Awards basics

With voting having recently opened for this year, I wanted to talk a bit about how the Freddie Awards voting works — most people don’t understand how voting works, and might not be voting in a way that’s in line with what they’re intending.

With this post I’m hoping to clear up some confusion, and maybe we can shake up the results a bit this year at the Freddie Awards to better reflect our preferences.

Why should you care about the Freddie Awards?

Plain and simple, many of us are passionate about loyalty programs. Loyalty programs (for the most part) really care about winning Freddie Awards. Casting your vote for deserving programs is a great way to send a message to programs you appreciate, and perhaps also to send a message to programs you don’t appreciate.

I’m not in any way involved in the Freddie Awards, but this is truly a passion project, and I know View from the Wing and Pizza in Motion put a lot of work into it. They really want the best programs to be recognized, and this isn’t some ego fueled vanity project for them.

When is Freddie Awards voting open?

Voting for the Freddie Awards is open every year from February 15 through March 31, 2020, so we’re about one week into the voting process at this point.

When are Freddie Awards winners revealed?

Every year there’s an event held in late April where winning programs are awarded. For example, this year the awards will be held at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans on April 30.

What categories are there in the Freddie Awards?

The Freddie Awards are split between three regions, and you can cast a vote for awards in each region:

  • Americas
  • Europe & Africa
  • Middle East & Asia/Oceania

Within each region there are categories for airlines, hotels, and credit cards.

Airline categories include:

  • Program of the Year
  • Best Elite Program
  • Best Promotion
  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Redemption Ability

Hotel categories include:

  • Program of the Year
  • Best Elite Program
  • Best Promotion
  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Redemption Ability

Then there’s a single credit card category:

  • Best Affinity Credit Card

How does Freddie Awards voting work?

This is the key reason I’m writing this post. I’ve gotta be honest, prior to this year I didn’t fully understand how voting with the Freddie Awards worked in terms of votes being calculated.

This past week I had the chance to speak to Gary and Ed about the actual process that goes into it, and now I’m going to completely change the approach I take towards voting.

There’s no perfect voting system

The Freddie Awards voting system has been designed so that it’s not a pure popularity contest. That’s because some loyalty programs send emails to members asking them to vote for them, and obviously that would totally skew the results if it were purely based on number of votes.

That means the Freddie Awards has a value voting system.

How “value voting” works in practice

When you vote in the Freddie Awards in a particular category, you’re asked to rank your choices first, second, and third. You don’t have to rank all three — you could just select your first choice, and not select your second or third choice.

The way points are awarded:

  • A program is awarded 10 points if you select them first
  • A program is awarded 6.67 points if you select them second
  • A program is awarded 3.33 points if you select them third

Then the way the scoring works is that:

  • A program’s score (on a scale of 1-10) is determined by the number of points they’ve earned divided by the number of people who ranked them, either first, second, or third
  • Only programs that get at least 2% of the overall vote qualify

Generally you can expect that a winning program will score somewhere around 8-9 points on average.

How this impacts my voting

In the past I clearly haven’t fully understood how Freddie Awards voting worked. For example, if I liked three programs, I’d rank them first, second, and third.

However, in reality you’re typically harming a program if you’re voting them second or third, rather than not voting for them at all. The exception is unless a second or third place vote allows a program to even qualify above the 2% threshold, though that shouldn’t be a problem among big programs.

To simplify this as much as possible, and this is generalized advice:

  • If you like one program most, vote them first place
  • If you moderately like a program, don’t vote them as second or third, since it’s likely to drag their average score down
  • The worst thing you can do for a program is vote them in third place, since they’ll be getting 3.33/10, which will likely drag them down considerably

A concrete example

Let’s say Hyatt and Marriott are competing for the “Program of the Year” category:

  • If Hyatt got 10 first place votes, no second place votes, and no third place votes, they would score a perfect 10
  • If Marriott got 10 first place votes, 10 second place votes, and 10 third place votes, they would score just 6.67 (10×10 + 10×6.67 + 10×3.33 / 30)

Bottom line

I love loyalty programs (obviously), and I think it’s important to recognize them with the awards they care most about.

I’m not going to mention my preferences, but suffice to say that some programs are trying really hard, while others aren’t.

I also think it’s important to understand how voting works. Consider your choices carefully — obviously vote your favorite program in first place, but also understand that voting a program second or third place is potentially worse than not voting for that program at all (or to flip that, if you’re displeased with a program, voting them in third place is likely to negatively impact them).

Are you voting in the 2020 Freddie Awards? If so, which programs are you voting for?

Comments
  1. Interesting, and I’ll definitely be adjusting my voting based on this. That last piece of advice about a program you’re displeased with is maybe the best nugget. Thanks, Ben!

  2. Pretty much guaranteed Marriott will finish first somehow, even though they have pissed off a good chunk of their loyalists, have increasingly poor on-site benefits, and terrible IT and CS

  3. The whole thing is a joke. Loyalty programs that win often get complacent or devalue. You also see so many contrived categories to create as many award winners as possible. The only losers here are people like us who participate in this charade. Spend your 5 minutes elsewhere.

  4. The vote counting system makes no sense to me. When respondents select their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices in any category you could use rank choice voting to determine the winner . OR . just count the number of weighted votes without dividing.

    BTW you didn’t mention why the awards are called the Freddies:-) The explanation makes more sense that the voting system.

  5. All the majors have totally or partially destroyed their loyalty programs since last year’s awards. In every case the prince has turned back into a frog. Not much left to vote for, just one or two laggards like Alaska who are yet to trash their loyalty program.

  6. Thanks Lucky. I did not know that and it will change my voting, although Bonvoy needn’t worry. There is no way in Hell I am voting Bonvoy at all, no matter how many votes we get, and I’m a titanium. So who is casting all these votes for Marriott every year?

  7. In other words we should vote for our favorite program in first then vote for the program we despise the most in third to drag down their average score?

  8. Thanks thanks thanks

    Now I know how to wish my (un) favourite program bon voyage.

    Can we just vote for first and third?

    I wish there was a way to select a favorite Hotel loyalty perk from a bigger list. All they ever list for Hilton is the free breakfast but there is much more to love than that. For example diamond upgrades

  9. Thanks for the explanation! Definitely changed how I voted this year. Lots of 3rd places for Marriott now who I would never used to vote for at all.

  10. No offense buddy, but you can’t throw shade at ThePG’s awards last week and then spend time promoting this the following. After all, ThePG is a much, much bigger outlet than the obscure blogs you say are behind the Franny awards or whatever it’s called.

    What gives?

  11. @ Matt — Over seven million votes were cast last year in the Freddie Awards, which is *way* more than were cast in the TPG Awards. And that’s not even accounting for the fact that TPG was constantly giving away prizes encouraging people to vote, while the Freddie Awards doesn’t do that.

    While TPG is clearly trying to replicate the Freddie Awards, the numbers speak for themselves. The Freddie Awards have been going strong for 30 years, and that’s not changing.

  12. The Freddie’s are named in honour of Freddy Laker, the first upstart to take on BA. BA (or whatever they were called at the time), eventually crushed Laker Airways but lost a big court battle after the fact.

    Later Branson started Virgin in somewhat the same model.

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