U.S. News & World Report has announced its 2016-17 Best Travel Rewards Programs winners. The annual rankings identify 28 hotel and airline loyalty programs with the most rewarding perks.
Wyndham Rewards tops the list for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs for the first time, while Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan maintains its spot as No. 1 for the Best Airline Rewards Programs.
Wyndham was given the top honor for allowing members to redeem free nights at more than 7,800 hotels, with benefits such as early check-in, late checkout, free amenities and suite upgrades. Choice Privileges and Marriott Rewards tie at No. 2 with both programs offering visitors a variety of lodging options and price ranges.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan remains the Best Airline Rewards Program for awarding points based on the number of miles flown rather than dollars spent. JetBlue TrueBlue followed at No. 2 because of its multiple ways to earn points, high airline quality performance, and elite member perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and expedited security.
Voting took into account membership perks, network coverage, and the ease of earning and redeeming free flights or nights in addition to property diversity for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and airline quality ratings for the Best Airline Rewards Programs.
The Top 5 for each category:
Best Hotel Rewards Programs
1. Wyndham Rewards
2. Choice Privileges (Tie)
2. Marriott Rewards (Tie)
4. Best Western Rewards
5. La Quinta Returns
Best Airline Rewards Programs
1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
2. JetBlue TrueBlue
3. Southwest Rapid Rewards
4. Delta SkyMiles
5. Virgin America Elevate