2014-15 Best Travel Rewards Programs named
Thursday 7, August 2014
To help travelers make the most of airline and hotel rewards, the 2014-15 Best Travel Rewards Programs rankings were released today
This year's rankings feature information on 27 airline and hotel programs. New this year, JetBlue's TrueBlue frequent flier plan is the No. 1 Best Airline Rewards Program. Marriott Rewards once again topped the Best Hotel Rewards category.
"Our goal is to take the guesswork out of choosing a travel rewards program," said Miriam Weiner, lead travel editor at U.S. News. "The programs that rank at the top of our lists make it easy to earn free flights or hotel stays while offering benefits that travelers value, such as complimentary upgrades and free checked bags."
The JetBlue TrueBlue program moved ahead of Southwest's Rapid Rewards program this year in part because JetBlue performs high in airline quality — a new addition to the methodology based on an annual Airline Quality Rating report that measures on-time arrivals, lost or mishandled baggage, involuntary denied boarding and consumer complaints. For the Best Airline Rewards Programs, U.S. News also evaluated flight volume, geographic coverage, free flight options, ease of earning a free round-trip flight and additional benefits the program offers. To be ranked by U.S. News, a program had to be tied to a U.S.-based airline.
While airline quality rating made JetBlue's TrueBlue No.1, ease of earning free flights helped Southwest's Rapid Rewards keep a high position on the ranking at No. 2. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan broke into the Top 3 for the first time.
2014-15 Top 3 Best Airline Rewards Programs
The Best Hotel Rewards methodology is based on five key criteria: network size, property diversity, geographic coverage, additional benefits and ease of earning free nights. To be ranked, the program must have properties located in the United States and must allow members to earn rewards and privileges when they stay at an affiliated hotel.
In this year's Best Hotel Rewards rankings, Marriott Rewards stands out for offering a wide range of lodging types, locations and price ranges, as well as relatively easy ways to earn free hotel nights and other benefits. InterContinental Hotels Group's IHG Rewards Club made No. 2 on the list, in part thanks to its wide geographic coverage, which makes it easy for members to take advantage of the program both in the United States and abroad. Best Western Rewards made another strong showing this year at No. 3.
2014-15 Top 3 Best Hotel Rewards Programs
More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.
With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.
The hotel price comparison site www.trivago.co.uk has put together a list of the fifteen most spectacular hotel rooftop terraces in the world.