Frequent flyer programs are used by many airlines to foster a sense of loyalty among passengers, who can earn points or miles that are redeemable for free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals or shopping. Everybody should participate in these programs as they can save you tons of money by traveling (almost for) free as well as offer you many other perks (signing up is free of charge and truly a no-brainer). The last couple of years, frequent flyer programs took a turn for the worse in the USA, with the three largest programs going revenue based, meaning that miles are awarded based on the members’ spend rather than according to the number of miles traveled. The rest of the world is now quickly following with several major European and Asian loyalty programs becoming revenue based as well later this year.
Whether you are a frequent flyer of just an occasional traveler, it’s always a good idea to choose a frequent flyer program. To help you, I have published reviews of the world’s major loyalty programs in the world, although the one that fits you best will depend on your own travel behavior, your location, your credit card spending, and your expectations (loyalty benefits, easy award bookings, or number of airline partners). I will add more program reviews in 2018; meanwhile I invite you to read my top 10 list of the best frequent flyer programs in the world.
Below, you find my in-depth reviews (with pros & cons) of the following frequent flyer programs:
- AAdvantage (American Airlines)
- Executive Club (British Airways)
- Flying Blue (Air France & KLM)
- KrisFlyer (Singapore Airlines)
- Mileage Plan (Alaska Airlines)
- Miles&More (Lufthansa)
- SkyMiles (Dellta Air Lines)
- Review of SkyMiles, the loyalty program of Delta Air Lines
- Review of Executive Club, the frequent flyer program of British Airways
- Review of KrisFlyer, the frequent flyer program of Singapore Airlines
- Review of Miles&More, the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa
- Review of Mileage Plan, the frequent flyer program of Alaska Airlines
- Review of Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of Air France & KLM
- Review of AAdvantage, the frequent flyer program of American Airlines
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I find your idea that American Airlines is the best program for European travelers very clever and when it comes to the award charts there is definitely a very strong argument in favour of that. I would like to know your thoughts for someone living in Germany, particularly those living close to Düsseldorf or Berlin, the hubs of Air Berlin (OneWorld, again I agree that OW is the strongest alliance). Here in Germany it’s pretty hard to collect AA miles without actually flying, but there are several options to collect Topbonus miles and I am still not sure which program to focus on. One interesting feature of the Air Berlin branded credit card is that you can collect status points in additional to miles, so that should be factored into the equation. Looking forward to your review of loyalty programs, excellent website and many thanks for sharing your experiences!