Are the Business Traveller Awards the Least Credible Awards Ever? Their Results Might Lead You to Think So…

Oliver sends me to the just-announced Business Traveller Awards for 2010. Presumably he does this so my head will fall off my head and begin spinning while steam pours out my eyes.

Now, these awards — given by a group of self-appointed experts without transparent criteria — are often nonsense. The better awards give reason to quibble, and individuals can differ, but this one is perhaps the most ludicrous not only because it’s selections are inane but because they are not even internally consistent.

They can’t even both to massage idiotic results so that they’re consistently idiotic in the same way across categories!

Take Emirates, which they say is a better airline than British Airways (true enough). But then British Airways is a better long-haul airline than Emirate. Questionable at best. But for both statements to be true, then Emirates must be a better short-haul airline to compensate.

(Right? If BA is better long-haul, then for Emirates to be better overall they must beat out BA for short-haul. Otherwise if BA is better in both categories it should be better overall.)

But wait! British Airways is listed as THE BEST short-haul airline. Which means logically they cannot conclude what they conclude, that Emirates is better overall.


Meanwhile, let’s stay on Emirates for a minute. They’re the second best in the world, and the only Middle East carrier listed among the world’s best. But somehow they lag behind Etihad in the Middle East.

Okay, let’s return to British Airways. Before I focus on more logical inconsistencies, let’s just stop to ponder any survey that claims British Airways to have the world’s 3rd best cabin staff.

Oh, wait, this is the same survey that lists Heathrow among the world’s best airports. Also THE best for duty free, though to me Sydney seems missing here..

While we’re on the theme of boosting British Airways beyond any reasonable comprehension, let’s all hail that their airport lounges are ranked as second in the world, second only to the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow, and that Business Traveller doesn’t seem to think much of Lufthansa’s German offerings to name just one missing example.

Since we’re talking Heathrow, let’s get back to inconsistency. Heathrow is name as one of the world’s best airports, Amsterdam is not. But Amsterdam is ranked as a better airport than Heathrow within Europe. (Does this mean that Heathrow must therefore be better than Amsterdam outside of Europe in order to compensate and score higher overall?)

Really, I need to stop. Because once I get down to the rankings of best individual business hotels in North America, find that the four best are all in New York, and that the list includes the Intercontinental Barclay and the Waldorf Astoria…

Thanks, Oliver. The bright red cinders in my eyes are beginning to burn out, hopefully I’ll recover.

In the meantime, have you voted in the Frequent Traveler Awards? Because not only does the Frequent Traveler awards spell its name with only one L (!), but certainly you can do better with your vote than these Business Traveller awards do with all of theirs…!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Perhaps the fact that the Australian dollar is almost to parity with the US dollar keeps Australia from being a great duty-free airport in the eyes of the experts. The strength of the Australia currency makes many travelers not so happy to buy down under.

    I like the one ‘l’ in traveler comment. Obviously.

  2. Yet another instance of an American elitest belittling the spelling of the British. Traveler or Traveller, it’s all a matter of where you are. Gary, where do you get off thinking that you are now the language police? Step off your lofty perch and take a pass in the real world for a few minutes. By judging based on a regional spelling of a word you seem to be lodging yourself squarely in the ‘ignorant American’ camp as well as couching yourself much closer to these Business Awards you’re so quick to denounce.

    As for you berating a self-proclaimed awards grantor, please consider your own illogical conclusions. By saying that their criteria are internal and then questioning the logic behind the responses you’re contracting even yourself. If these awards are so poor then the rest of the world just plain won’t care about them. You should follow suit.

  3. It’s all about the advertising & the free flights they give to the reviewers. Business Traveller Magazine is available for free in Crown Room Clubs – how did DL stack up?

  4. Gary, can you clarify the meaning of your comment regarding one l in traveller? Is it that you don’t know that this is how it is commonly spelled in a lot of the world (including the UK, where the publication is based) and therefore think it is an error, or are you implying that an American list would be more relevant/useful? I’m confused.

    Other than this, your comments on the inconsistencies are spot-on. We might expect this lack of rigour from the mainstream media, but it is even more sad to see it from a publication ostensibly directed towards frequent travellers.

  5. Gary is on to something and simply wrote about it.Thats why I am a fan of his blog.He calls it just as he sees it and doesnt digest marketing spin and say sure its all good………
    Many of us for years have rolled our eyes when seeing these annual absurd winner announcements
    its pretty obvious to me its all tied to advertising
    in this kind of publication.The Barclay as one of the best hotels in New York Hee hee.I want the drugs they do to come up with this stuff 🙂

  6. Hmm, be careful about deeming them illogical. First, what this survey actually measure? It is not the “world population” or the “world population of business travel(l)ers”, but the survey was conducted amongst readers of the magazin “Business Traveller” – UK based. So, those awards are basically just what readers of this magazine think.
    So, does it surprise that the readers of a UK magazine vote for a BA lounge and not for a LH lounge (where you will obviously meet less UK people at)?

    Furthermore, to stick with your airline BA/EK example. When there are three different questions in the survey:
    1) What do you think is the best airline?
    2) What do you think is Best Short-Haul Carrier?
    3) What do you think is Best Long-Haul Airline?
    – The replies may not be coherent, and it’s even thinkable that there’s no strong (significant) correlation between those.

    Business Traveller Awards sounds like a marketing stunt. Don’t over-rate them – it’s just a survey amongst UK readers of the magazine.

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