For those of you not familiar with the Freddie Awards, it’s kind of like the Oscars of frequent flyer/travel loyalty programs. The awards were started in 1988 by Randy Petersen, founder of Flyertalk and Boarding Area, and were named in honor of Sir Freddie Laker, the British airline executive and founder of Laker Airways.
Receiving a Freddie Award is hugely prestigious and many major global airlines send representatives to the awards. Awards are given out based on which airline or program receives the most votes (a total of 4.2 million people voted in the 2017 awards) in any given category (awards are given out for best airline frequent flyer program, hotel loyalty program, and credit card and are divided into different regions, Americas, Europe and Africa, and Asia/Middle East/Oceania).
I fulfilled my obligation as a member of the frequent flyer community and voted online in the awards. My choice for best airline loyalty program in the Americas was, of course, Alaska Mileage Plan. I was pretty sure that Mileage Plan would win the award, seeing as it is the only airline left in the US that awards miles based on distance flown and not how much you paid, and has bargain prices for the vast majority of awards.
But, lo and behold, the ceremony was held in New York last Friday and guess who wins the award for best loyalty program in the Americas but American Airlines.
Are you serious?
I mean, really…
Can we give Comcast the award for best customer service now?
Really? American Airlines AAdvantage, the program which doesn’t make a single award seat available on a huge amount of their own flights, the program which demands that you pay an insane quantity of money just to earn a paltry amount of miles (and has a revenue requirement for status, between 3 and 12,000 dollars depending on the elite level), the program that has such high award prices that, even after spending this huge amount of money to get a decent amount of miles, most “aspirational” awards are unattainable?a Are you serious?
In fairness, American did really try hard to get their flyers to vote for them, plastering ads reminding visitors to vote in the Freddies all over their website. But I still don’t get how a majority of people can vote for a vastly inferior program when an objectively better one is on the table.
What’s next? Delta winning Most Transparent Program?