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We recently asked our TPG Lounge readers to reveal their favorite loyalty program that no longer exists. Not surprisingly, many of them mentioned Starwood Preferred Guest’s former rewards system as their number one, while others mentioned how Virgin America Elevate was the program they swore by. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Airline Rewards Programs You Miss Dearly
From oldies-but-goodies like TWA and Pan Am to other lesser-known airlines like Midwest Express and Republic Airlines, these are the airline rewards programs you miss the most.
“Midwest Express Airlines. Their headquarters was in Milwaukee, free drinks and meals in China, and first-class seats throughout the cabin!” — Robin S.B.
“America West Airlines. Great redemption. Freddie award winner for years.” — John H.
“My first, the Piedmont Frequent Flyer Bonus Program. I spent 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles (LAX) and paid 60 bucks to sit in F from Charlotte (CLT) to LAX on a 767-200.” — Marshall J.
“SPG’s points were like gold coins. That and Continental Airlines OnePass.” — Jeff R.
“I still have my TWA card!” — Cheryl F.M.
“Republic Airlines. 20,000 miles per free round-trip anywhere they went.” — Kevin S.
“Pan Am, consistently upgraded me as a frequent customer. Flew all over the world with them in mostly 747s.” — Frank I.
“I was (am?) a Lifetime Clipper Club Member and virtually always got upgraded when I was flying to Europe from the East Coast. How I miss Pan Am.” — Steve M.
“The American Airlines AAdvantage program, since it’s now virtually worthless to me. Thanks Dougie.” — Carry B.
“AirTran A+ Rewards. Such a simple program and you could use two credits to upgrade to first class on any flight.” — Jack V.
“TWA. For all those times I got credit for flying to BAL (in Turkey) when the airport was actually BWI (Baltimore).” — Jon W.
“Northwest WorldPerks. I was always able to find 25,000-mile flights back to my home in the Midwest. Plus, even as a Silver Elite, I would regularly get upgraded on my domestic flights.” — Scott K.
“US Airways. When I was working, I did almost weekly shuttle flights to Boston (BOS) or Washington, DC (DCA), from New York (LGA). Loved the pre-9/11 days when you could arrive at the last-minute and just hop on the plane.” — Meg G.
“Not a whole program, but I was really bummed that United removed the 10,000-mile spending bonus on the credit card. We’re not frequent travelers but we’re frequent spenders, so that was a great benefit for us!” — Jean L.
“US Airways Dividend Miles.” — Evan B.
“AirTran A+Rewards was my first and fave!” — Randi S.L.
“PanAm in the 80s. If I recall correctly, I scored two first-class tickets to Greece for 80,000 miles, perhaps 160,000. Also, triple-the-miles promotions on United and PanAm during the early days of mileage programs.” — Mike M.
“Virgin America Elevate. The airline flew all of the places I needed to go and getting status was a snap with the cobranded Visa card.” — Brian C.
“Airberlin Topbonus [gave you] Oneworld Emerald and Etihad Platinum status with $100,000 credit card spend, including two upgrade vouchers and 100,000 miles for the spend. 25,000 miles could be used for upgrades of the cheapest tickets, like $500 round-trip from Germany to the US, to transatlantic business class. No other program had access to more first-class lounges and free hot pre-order meals on all flights over one hour. RIP.” — Mathias W.H.
“Northwest WorldPerks. I wasn’t aware enough at the time to really compare it to other programs but I remember booking an 80,000 mile round-trip business-class fare from Detroit to Italy. It spoiled me and ruined economy class forever, so it has a special place in my heart.” — Mark C.
“US Airways was so good with the frequent flyer flights. I was upgraded several times and they always found me a flight with miles. I was loyal until the end.” — Terri G.
Your Favorite Former Hotel Loyalty Programs
For several TPG Lounge readers, it was all about the hotels. Here’s a look at some of their favorite now-defunct loyalty programs — and one close to many readers’ hearts that will never be the same.
“Fairmont. The credit card offered two free nights and annual certificates for a third night free that could be stacked with suite upgrade certificates and the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free perk.” — Family T.P.
“SPG. Marriott has ruined it.” — Curtis B.
“Another vote for SPG. This Marriott merger has been awful.” — Gloria L.
“The Marriott/SPG merger has opened up a lot of new property options everywhere, especially in small cities, but I’m not feeling as appreciated as a nine-year Platinum Elite. Can’t wait to hit Platinum Elite for life at the end of 2019 and start looking for unique, boutique, upscale properties for new experiences.” — Mary K.
“It was SPG. Now I don’t know if I care.” — Ted C.
Other Rewards Programs You Want Back
Last but not least, two TPG Lounge members gave special shout-outs to two worthy non-points rewards programs, brought to you by Bing and Subway.
“Microsoft Bing 50% cash back on any eBay items (Gift cards).” — Jeffrey C.
“Subway stamp cards. So many free foot-longs.” — Chris T.
Featured photo by TK.
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