The Big Winners At The 2016 Freddie Awards

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The results are in for the 2016 Freddie Awards. Rapid Rewards from Southwest Airlines has taken out the top spot in this years airline category and Marriott Rewards banked a win for the favorite hotel loyalty program.

The annual Freddie Awards rank the best loyalty programs across the travel industry, split geographically across the Americas, Europe & Africa, and the Middle East & Asia/Oceania. Created to reflect and celebrate the views of the world's frequent flyers; the results are compiled from nearly 3 million ballots submitted by travelers each year.

The 2016 Freddie Awards In Las Vegas
The 2016 Freddie Awards In Las Vegas

One of my favorite features of the Freddie's is the separation between the best program of the year and the best elite program in each category. It recognizes the separate sub-groups within the frequent traveler community and takes into account that elite loyalty members often have different priorities than regular rewards travelers.

This year American Airlines AAdvantage took out the top spot for the Best Elite Program in the airline category with Hyatt Gold Passport securing first place out of the elite hotel loyalty programs.

Having different winners across the regular/elite categories is a reflection of the different values customers place on loyalty programs. Regular and first-tier members set a lot of value in the availability of flights and rooms when voting for Marriott and Southwest.

AAdvantage and Hyatt Gold Passport on the other hand, while setting the bar high for elite qualification, offer good upgrades and personalized service, catering to frequent business travelers.

The big winners outside of the America's where Le Club Accor and Air France's Flying Blue, both taking home five gongs, and Virgin Australia claiming three awards in Oceania. See the full list of winners below.

Americas

Airline

Program of the YearSouthwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
Best Elite ProgramAmerican Airlines – AAdvantage
Best PromotionAvianca – LifeMiles
Best Customer ServiceSouthwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
Best Redemption AbilityAvianca – LifeMiles
210 AWARD — Avianca – LifeMiles

Hotel

Program of the YearMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Elite ProgramHyatt – Gold Passport
Best PromotionMGM – M life
Best Customer ServiceMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
Best Redemption AbilityMarriott Hotels – Marriott Rewards
210 AWARD — MGM – M life

Credit Card

Best Loyalty Credit CardStarwood – Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card

Europe & Africa

Airline

Program of the YearAIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
Best Elite ProgramLufthansa – Miles & More
Best PromotionAIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
Best Customer ServiceAIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
Best Redemption AbilityAIR FRANCE/KLM – Flying Blue
210 AWARDNorwegian Air – Norwegian Reward

Hotel

Program of the YearAccor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
Best Elite ProgramStarwood – Starwood Preferred Guest
Best Promotion — Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
Best Customer Service — Accor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
Best Redemption AbilityIHG – IHG Rewards Club
210 AWARD — IHG – IHG Rewards Club

Middle East & Asia/Oceania

Airline

Program of the YearVirgin Australia – Velocity
Best Elite ProgramEL AL – Matmid Club
Best PromotionEL AL – Matmid Club
Best Customer ServiceVirgin Australia – Velocity
Best Redemption AbilityVirgin Australia – Velocity
210 AWARD — Jet Airways – JetPrivilege

Hotel

Program of the YearAccor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
Best Elite ProgramHyatt – Gold Passport
Best PromotionAccor Hotels – Le Club Accorhotels
Best Customer ServiceIHG – IHG Rewards Club
Best Redemption AbilityIHG – IHG Rewards Club
210 AWARD — ITC Hotels – Club ITC

The Big Winners At The 2016 Freddie Awards
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