How TPG Readers Ranked the Best US Airline Loyalty Programs

Dec 9, 2018

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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…

  1. Delta SkyMiles
  2. Southwest Rapid Rewards
  3. United MileagePlus
  4. American AAdvantage
  5. Alaska Mileage Plan
  6. 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.