“Frequent flying” is pretty much the opposite of what we’ve been doing this past year. But as vaccines continue to roll out around the world, and people look forward to much-needed summer vacations, frequent flyer miles are starting to look a lot more enticing. There are countless frequent flyer programs out there, and it can be daunting to figure out which one is right for you. WalletHub compared the 10 largest domestic airlines’ loyalty programs and found the best frequent flyer programs for you to choose from.
WalletHub used 21 metrics to determine their findings, including the value of a rewards point, miles, and blackout date policies. These are their top-rated frequent flyer programs:
- United Airlines – MileagePlus
- Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan
- Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles
- American Airlines – AAdvantage
- Hawaiian Airlines – HawaiianMiles
There’s also a tool you can use to calculate the best program based on how much you spend annually on airline travel. For example, if you spend $1,000 on travel annually, United is your best bet, followed by Delta. If you spend $5,000 annually, United is still the top choice, but the second best option becomes Alaska Airlines.
United’s MileagePlus dethroned Delta SkyMiles to take the top spot in the ratings. SkyMiles held the title for the past five years. Delta’s SkyMiles, however, did rank number one for having the most additional features. Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value at $24.19 per $100 spent. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Frontier are the five major airlines whose miles don’t expire due to inactivity.
WalletHub also ranked the frequent flyer programs’ co-branded travel credit cards, which allow frequent travelers to earn free flights with purchases. United MileagePlus was ranked best overall and best for airline and partner coverage. Alaska Mileage Plan was ranked best for redemption policies and partner coverage. Delta SkyMiles was noted for its many additional features. American Airlines AAAdvantage won out for airline coverage, and Hawaiian Miles ranked best for rewards value and redemption policies.