Top Rewards Programs Help Travelers Save Money, Offer Plenty of Perks

Travel has been tumultuous over the last year. Consumers have faced crowded airports, delayed flights, lost luggage and increasing flight fares, in addition to limited on-site amenities and services at hotels and rising nightly accommodation rates.

One way to combat some of the high prices and customer service snafus is to become a member of a hotel or airline rewards program — or even sign up for a few. You can use points or miles accrued for a free hotel stay or free flight (among other perks), and hotel rewards program members are often automatically offered cheaper hotel rates and free Wi-Fi access. What’s more, many programs grant elite members access to priority phone lines, which provide personalized service for reservations, flight delays or cancellations and other customer service requests.

The U.S. News Best Travel Rewards Programs rankings aim to help everyday travelers find the best program or programs to join. Consumers can use the rankings to find more information on how to maximize earnings and redemptions. To calculate these rankings, U.S. News analyzed travel rewards programs using a methodology that emphasizes the ease of earning points or miles and redeeming them for free flights or free nights. Additional features factored into scoring include membership benefits, geographic coverage, airline quality ratings and property diversity in location and price. Read on to see the full rankings of the 2022-2023 Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Best Airline Rewards Programs.

The No. 1 Best Hotel Rewards Program for 2022-2023 is World of Hyatt. Hyatt’s loyalty program makes it easy to earn points in many different ways, including staying at Hyatt hotels, using a Hyatt-brand credit card, hosting meetings or events at a Hyatt property, spending money at an on-site restaurant or spa, renting a car with Avis or flying with American Airlines. Points you earn can then be used toward room upgrades, excursions and spa treatments, among other things. Or, they can be redeemed for free nights at Hyatt hotels, which range from more budget-friendly brands like Hyatt Place and Hyatt Centric to upscale Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive resorts to luxury hotels within the Park Hyatt and Thompson brands.

The number of points required for a free night at various Hyatt locations is often lower than competitors, meaning it’s easier for members to rack up enough points to use on a free night within the program. World of Hyatt also offers the unique option to earn a free night by staying at five different brands of Hyatt hotels.

Wyndham Rewards, which offers a large network of hotels and many ways to earn and redeem points, ranks No. 2 for 2022-2023. Marriott Bonvoy follows at No. 3, with a massive portfolio of hotels at different price points and plenty of elite member benefits. Several more hotel rewards programs on the rankings may fit your travel personality, priorities and lifestyle, which you can explore below.

Best Hotel Rewards Programs

1. World of Hyatt

2. Wyndham Rewards

3. Marriott Bonvoy

4. Choice Privileges

5. IHG One Rewards

6. Best Western Rewards

7. Radisson Rewards Americas

8. Sonesta Travel Pass

9. INVITED

10. Leaders Club

11. Hilton Honors

12. ALL — Accor Live Limitless

13. Stash Hotel Rewards

14. Omni Select Guest

15. I Prefer Hotel Rewards

See the full list and read more about each program »

The No. 1 Best Airline Rewards program for 2022-2023 is the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. This frequent flyer program allows members to earn 1 mile for every mile flown (or 500 miles per flight segment, whichever is greater), and Alaska and its partners fly to hundreds of destinations worldwide. Members can redeem miles for things like cabin upgrades, hotel stays and free flights. The program also grants members with elite status numerous perks, including free checked bags, priority boarding, expedited security, seat upgrades and (in the two highest status tiers) lounge access.

Delta SkyMiles ranks No. 2 for 2022-2023, thanks to its award flight options at lower point thresholds, high daily flight volume and high airline quality rating. Meanwhile, United MileagePlus ranks No. 3 for its extensive network of flight routes and accessible path to elite status. Additionally, miles never expire in Delta’s or United’s frequent flyer programs.

Best Airline Rewards Programs

1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

2. Delta SkyMiles

3. United MileagePlus

4. HawaiianMiles

5. Southwest Rapid Rewards

6. American AAdvantage

7. JetBlue TrueBlue

8. Free Spirit

9. FRONTIER Miles

See the full list and read more about each program »

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Top Rewards Programs Help Travelers Save Money, Offer Plenty of Perks originally appeared on usnews.com

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