Which Frequent Flyer Programs Are the Most Generous In Offering Bonuses?

Frequent Flyer Bonuses has crunched some numbers and put together the airline programs which offer the most bonuses.

Now, they say this ranks the most generous programs overall:

We’re often asked, which is the best airline or hotel program for value? And while there are many variables to weigh and consider when answering that question, one common theme has emerged as a key differentiator; frequency of bonus offers.

In fact, it doesn’t even rank which programs have the most generous promotions. It only lists which programs have the most bonuses. Nonetheless, that in itself is interesting.

For instance, in the run-up to a revenue-based program Delta virtually exited the promotions game entirely. In 2013 I really only remember seeing them match others with big bonuses for premium cabin travel to and from London Heathrow, and some modest offers in conjunction with Hilton.

Here are the programs that offered the most promotions over the past 12 months, according to Frequent Flyer Bonuses:

Remember, too, that even if this did track with generosity of earning (it not only doesn’t take into account the quality of promotions, but the base value of each program’s points) that’s only half the equation. Equally important is the redemption side:

  • What can you redeem for? Delta is only just going to start offering one-way awards at half the roundtrip cost next year, for instance. And they don’t offer international first class awards (business is the top cabin).
  • How much does the award cost? Each program’s pricing is different in miles, and then there’s the question of fuel surcharges.
  • How easy to get are the awards? Price is only half the equation on the redemption side.
  • What are the routing and other rules (like changes) associated with the award?

And of course this list doesn’t speak to that at all. In fact, you might expect — although I do not think there’s a great correlation looking at the data — that the programs minting the most points would be the toughest on the redemption side.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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