The first annual Frequent Traveler Awards (which are basically replacing the Freddies) were held in Houston tonight. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it due to another commitment, and haven’t even had the chance to watch the broadcast yet, but I have taken a quick look at the results, which can be found here.
Overall the results look fair, showing that these types of awards aren’t just popularity contests. So a pat on the back to everyone that voted.
Going by category, let’s start with the “program of the year” award. Air Canada won for the Americas. As much as people like to complain about Aeroplan and Air Canada, on the whole it’s quite a decent program, so that seems reasonable enough. Marriott won the program of the year award on the hotel front. I have a lot of respect for Marriott, if for no other reason than the incredibly high satisfaction of their members. They have the highest qualification tiers along with some of the fewest elite benefits, yet their members are incredibly loyal and happy. What company doesn’t want that?
The only surprise in the “best redemption promotion” category, in my opinion, is that Marriott beat out Priority Club’s PointBreaks promotion. PointBreaks is by far the best hotel redemption promotion (in my opinion), so it’s sad to see them not get some credit for that great promotion.
The real surprise for me came with the “best elite level program” category. I was surprised to see United actually won. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very well deserved, but United didn’t exactly have a great track record at the Freddies. On the hotel front, Hyatt won in the “best elite level program” category, which is almost a no-brainer. No loyalty program has done as much for their members as Gold Passport has in the past couple of years.
The last surprise (for me, at least) was that Alaska Airlines won the “best loyalty credit card” award. There’s no doubt it’s a great credit card, but better than the Starwood American Express?