Washington, D.C. – U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hotels, Best Cruise Lines and Best Vacations, today announced the 2021-22 Best Travel Rewards Programs. The annual rankings identify 24 hotel and airline loyalty programs with the most rewarding perks for everyday travelers. After several years at No. 2, Wyndham Rewards improved to be the No. 1 Best Hotel Rewards Program. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan remains the No. 1 Best Airline Rewards Program for the seventh year in a row. This year, U.S. News also considered each travel rewards program’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and factored in how flexible and accommodating each airline and hotel program was for members.
Wyndham Rewards takes the No. 1 spot on the Best Hotel Rewards Programs ranking thanks in part to its large network of hotels in popular vacation destinations and high award availability. Additionally, any member of the program can book a free night with as few as 7,500 points. World of Hyatt, No. 2, scores well by offering low points redemption requirements and a variety of ways to earn and redeem points. Marriott Bonvoy came in at No. 3 because it offers a multitude of properties at various price points in destinations across the globe, plus ample benefits for members.
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan maintains its No. 1 position on the Best Airline Rewards Programs list because of its numerous member benefits and its large network of flight routes to popular destinations. Plus, the program’s mileage-based earning structure makes it easier for members to earn miles for free flights faster. Delta SkyMiles‘ high Airline Quality Rating score and impressive number of daily flights helped it retain its No. 2 rank for the fifth year in a row. American Airlines AAdvantage claimed the No. 3 spot due in part to its large network of routes to numerous destinations and significant volume of daily flights.
“This year’s list factored in adjustments programs made to account for members taking fewer trips during the pandemic. Programs that make it easier for members to earn and redeem points or miles, and achieve or retain elite status were rewarded,” said Christine Smith, senior travel editor at U.S. News. “With numerous creative ways to earn points and miles, now is the time to join a rewards program to build up a balance. Then, whenever travelers feel comfortable, they can use those accrued points to book an amazing vacation.”
U.S. News ranks the Best Travel Rewards Programs in two categories: hotel loyalty programs and airline frequent flyer programs. The methodologies take into account membership benefits – such as free amenities, program-affiliated credit cards and room or cabin upgrades – network coverage and a strong emphasis on the ease of earning and redeeming free flights or nights. Additionally, U.S. News factors in property diversity for the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Airline Quality Rating scores for the Best Airline Rewards Programs. This year, the methodology also factored in changes made to accommodate travel restrictions and difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.
2021-22 U.S. News Best Travel Rewards Programs
- Wyndham Rewards
- World of Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Choice Privileges
- IHG Rewards
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Delta SkyMiles
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Southwest Rapid Rewards