WALLETHUB RANKS THE TEN BEST FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS FOR TWENTY-TWENTY
PHOTO: Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 takes off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. (photo via rypson/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
Delta Air Lines
WalletHub found Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles to be the best of the 10 largest domestic airlines’ frequent flyer programs for the fifth consecutive year in 2020. The program earned an average score of 60.68 percent across the three usage scenarios WalletHub examined. Beyond the latest rankings, the personal-finance website has also rolled out a custom calculator that allows you to personalize the results based on your annual budget.
PHOTO: Spirit Airlines Airbus. (Photo via Boarding1Now / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)
WalletHub found that airline miles cost an average of 64 percent more than they’re worth when purchased compared to when they’re earned and 10th-ranked Spirit Airlines was found to be the worst offender with more than 83 percent markup on purchased miles.
PHOTO: Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737 at McCarran International Airport. (photo via Flickr/Tomas Del Coro)
Sun Country Airlines
Operating fewer than 100 routes, it isn’t at all surprising to find Sun Country Airlines’ Sun Country Rewards program ranked toward the bottom. Members will see no change in rewards value this year compared to last and stand to receive the same value regardless of how often they fly, according to WalletHub’s annual study.
PHOTO: Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 landing at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. (photo via Laser1987/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
If there’s a bright spot for ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, it’s that it’s one of the four airlines that WalletHub examined offering more rewards value in 2020 compared to 2019.
Tunnels Beach (Photo via Hawaiian Airlines)
Despite ranking seventh, Hawaiian Airlines’ HawaiianMiles program trails only Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan in terms of most rewards value at $16.20 per $100 spent. Plus, HawaiianMiles program members can feel good knowing they’re part of a generous group, which donated 35 million miles to 13 local nonprofits in 2019.
PHOTO: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. (photo via gk-6mt/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
American Airlines AAdvantage program, which will end its relationship with three hostel chains, including Hilton, Best Western or Choice Hotels this spring, ranks sixth overall and checks in with a rewards value for frequent flyers of under $7 per every $100 spent in 2020.
PHOTO: JetBlue Airbus A320 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (photo via Boarding1Now/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
JetBlue’s TrueBlue beats out each of the Big Three U.S. airlines in terms of the most rewards value earned by frequent flyers in 2020 at $11.16 per $100 spent. Nonetheless, the average or light flyer might be more inclined to look elsewhere for better value.
PHOTO: United Boeing 737-900ER taking off. (photo via United Hub)
United Airlines’ MileagePlus program is the best for allowing rewards program members to earn and redeem miles with partner carriers. United boasts 37 frequent flyer partnerships in all.
PHOTO: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (photo via Boarding1Now/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines is one of only three major airlines whose miles do not expire because of inactivity. Southwest Rapid Rewards program is also one of the best for rewards value, with even light flyers earning more than $10 per $100 spent.
PHOTO: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 approaching LAX Airport. (photo via Boarding1Now/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
Alaska Airlines’ second-ranked Mileage Plan offers frequent flyers the most rewards value at $20.23 per $100 spent. What’s more, personal finance website NerdWallet recently named the Mileage Plan its best frequent flyer program for 2020 as well as the best frequent flyer program for both families and business travelers.