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Tuesday Dec. 4 was an incredible moment for The Points Guy, as we hosted the inaugural TPG Awards on the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Musuem. The night featured a live performance by Grammy-nominated Bebe Rexha plus special tributes to Captain “Sully” Sullenberger and Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee — in addition to honoring the best airlines, hotel programs and credit cards.
We released the full list of TPG Awards winners the morning after the show, but we wanted to give our readers a closer look at how the final voting fell for each category. Remember, the winners in all categories (aside from the best airline cabins) were chosen entirely by readers using a secured Google poll.
Here’s a look at the nominees for best US airline loyalty program placed in order from most votes to fewest. Without any further ado…
- Delta SkyMiles
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- American AAdvantage
- Alaska Mileage Plan
- JetBlue TrueBlue
This was one of the closest votes in all of the awards, with the top two vote-getters separated by less than 1%. In the end, despite not publishing award charts and a slew of devaluations over the last few years, Delta SkyMiles took home the top spot. It’s likely that the frequent award sales in 2018 helped with this (like 10,000 miles for round-trip domestic flights and 50,000 miles for round-trip flights to Australia), though just two days after the awards, the program did start rolling out Basic Economy on award tickets. This decidedly customer-unfriendly move may doom the carrier’s chances at defending its title next year if it’s expanded across the carrier’s entire network, opening the door for an airline like Southwest (selected as TPG’s best airline for families earlier this year) to dethrone Delta in 2019.
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees