April 06, 2022

Best Frequent Flyer Programs

Air travel is on the rise as the pandemic winds down, and flights figure to be increasingly crowded as more and more people get back to pre-pandemic habits. We’ve got two years’ worth of vacations and business trips to catch up on, after all, so it’s little surprise that many people are eager to return to the friendly skies.

To help you earn more free flights and other assorted perks, WalletHub compared the 10 largest domestic airlines’ loyalty rewards programs across 21 key metrics, ranging from the value of a rewards point or mile to blackout-date policies.

Best Frequent Flyer Programs of 2022

  1. Alaska Airlines - Mileage Plan
  2. United Airlines - MileagePlus
  3. Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles
  4. Hawaiian Airlines - HawaiianMiles
  5. American Airlines - AAdvantage

The rankings for the best airline rewards programs are based on a trio of annual airfare budgets: Light ($321), Average ($3,658) and Frequent ($6,994). As a result, the best overall frequent flyer programs are well-rounded and positioned to satisfy the needs of loyal airline customers of all types.

To find out which airline miles program is best for you, try out the frequent flyer miles calculator below. The calculator will customize the results of this study based on your own airline budget.

Main Findings

Alaska Mileage Plan is the best frequent flyer program of 2022, beating last year's winner United MileagePlus.

Best frequent flyer program

Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value, at $24.78 per $100 spent. Alaska Airlines comes closely in second, with $24.65 per $100 spent.

Airlines with most reward value

Three of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards value in 2022 than in 2021, sweetening the pot by an average of roughly 10%.

More rewards value in 2022

Seven major airlines have miles that do not expire because of inactivity: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Miles do not expire

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines give preference to frequent flyer program members when deciding whom to bump from overbooked flights.

Bumping on overbooked flights

Five major U.S. airlines will retroactively credit loyalty program members with miles for a flight up to 12 months after the fact.

Retroactive credit loyalty program

6 of the 10 largest U.S. airlines allow rewards program members to earn and redeem miles with partner carriers.

Partner carriers

Airline miles cost an average of 2.4X more than they’re worth when purchased rather than earned.

Airline miles cost

Best Frequent Flyer Programs for 2022

Copyright 2022 Evolution Finance, Inc. All rights reserved. From https://wallethub.com. By Alex Breen, Rewards Analyst.

To view all articles, check out the Internet Travel Monitor Archive