The Best Frequent Flyer Program for 2020 Revealed — Take a Look

American Airlines RJ 190

With frequent flyer programs, some U.S. airlines go the extra mile (pun intended) with exceptional customer service, perks and value, and they rank far better than other airlines.

Delta Air Lines offers the best frequent flyer program for the fifth year in a row. This is according to WalletHub, a reputable financial website that has studied, analyzed and rated frequent flyer programs for five years.

WalletHub used 23 key metrics to determine the best frequent flyer programs from all the mainline domestic airlines’ loyalty rewards programs. 

The 10 best frequent flyer programs from best to worst are: 

1. Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles

2. Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan 

3. Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

4. United Airlines – Mileage Plus

5. JetBlue Airways – TruBlue 

6. American Airlines – Aadvantage

7. Hawaiian Airlines – HawaiianMiles

8. Frontier Airlines – Frontier Miles

9. Sun Country Airlines – Sun Country Rewards

10. Spirit Airlines – Free Spirit

Not only did Delta rank No. 1, the airline is considered the best U.S. airline in general by many critics. Allegiant Air does not have a frequent flyer program; it was not included in the ranking.

To rank the frequent flyer programs, WalletHub used a point system. Airlines that performed well in each category ranked high, and key metrics for grading included: number of countries served, partner airlines earning and redemption; value earned; booking blackout dates; advance booking; short-notice booking fee; earning limits; layover in award flight; expired-mile reactivation; ease of achieving elite status; membership perks for flyers; purchasing miles; and number of daily flights.

Delta ranked high (if not best) in almost all categories.

Some other interesting findings from the report. 

Out of the three legacy U.S. carriers, including Delta, United and American, American is the only airline that did not make the top 5.

Spirit Airlines was ranked No 10, meaning it offers the worst frequent flyer program.

Four of the 10 largest airlines offer more rewards value in 2020 than in 2019, which is a 14 percent increase.

According to the data, Alaska offers the most rewards value, followed by Hawaiian and Frontier. 

For those who don’t fly frequently, it’s a good idea to join Delta, JetBlue and Southwest. These three airlines offer programs where miles do not expire due to inactivity. 

Only 7 of the U.S. airlines allow loyalty members to earn and redeem miles with partner carriers. Sun Country, Spirit and Southwest do not. 

Airline miles cost an average of 64 percent more than they’re worth when purchased rather than earned.

What’s your favorite frequent flyer program? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking to book a trip, click this link or banner below to get the best airfare.
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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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