In what should come as no surprise to anyone that is a member, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan rated best Rewards Program in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 ranking.
Highlights of why Alaska won top honors were the number of airline partners (15), number of retail and hotel partners, and flexible redemption options. While not taken in to consideration (it would seem), I also appreciate Alaska for their Price Guarantee.
The rankings are based on the following areas:
- Ease of Earning/Redeeming Free Round-Trip Flight (45 percent weight)
- Additional Benefits (25 percent weight) – such as free upgrades and checked bags, not having money spent on tickets factor in to status. Alaska doesn’t take how much you paid for your ticket into account — it is strictly miles traveled (although there are bonuses for ticket class). Also Alaska gives you free upgrades to First Class and two free checked bags even at their lowest status (MVP) which you earn after 20k miles.
- Network Coverage (10 percent weight) – My guess is that Alaska fell short here since most/all of their flights either depart or arrive on the West coast.
- Award Flight Availability (10 percent weight) – Alaska scored lowest in this area, which I am actually surprised by. I’ve never had a problem booking an award flight; however if inventory is low you often have to use more miles to book.
- Number of Daily Flights (5 percent weight) – Alaska can’t compete with the big three on this. Alaska averages only about 880 flights a day and ranks near the bottom (#7) of domestic carriers for daily flights.
- Airline Quality Rating (5 percent weight) – has to do with on-time arrival performance, lost baggage, etc. Again, Alaska would rank very high in this area. Alaska typically rates #1 in on time arrival with about 88% of flights arriving on time.
Here are the full rankings:
- Virgin America
What do you think? Do you agree with U.S. News findings of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan rated best Rewards Program?