Which Loyalty Program’s Miles are “Worthless” & Most Impossible to Book Awards w/?

Who ranked as the “most impossible award program” to book award tickets with?  Unsurprisingly it was Delta but shockingly US Airways was ranked as the second most difficult.

2014MileCardsMileSatisfactionEaseofAward.Infographic

Who is most likely to view their miles as “worthless”, that surprisingly too was US Airways’ Dividend Miles members, they were two times more likely to view their miles as worthless than peers from American, Delta, Southwest, and United. Hmm…I’m going to guess these are members looking to redeem domestic awards who don’t know anything about the amazing value for Star Alliance partner awards with very flexible routing rules. In fact, one of the other findings was that 59% of award program members say they are looking to redeem their miles for awards in the US / Canada!

2014MileCardsMileSatisfactionWhere.Infographic

These are just a few of the findings from the 2014 Mile Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by MileCards.com, a website that lets users compare travel credit cards based on where they want to fly. The survey measured customer perception of the loyalty programs for American, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways with 1,600 frequent-flier member responses.

Here’s one finding I don’t think anyone can dispute – Delta SkyMiles members say it’s hardest to use Delta’s website to book award tickets, especially at the low inventory levels. Besides partner awards made over the phone, the likelihood of finding a Delta award at the lowest level requires searching in a specific way, quite a bit of luck , and is next to impossible for international routes.

Check out the full survey results and details here.

2014MileCardsCostInMilesAward.Infographic2014MileCardsMileSatisfactionRanking.Infographic2014MileCardsMileSatisfactionInfoGraphic

Comments

  1. Are these the people who only use the airline’s website, and thus don’t include all *A inventory with US Airways? Stupid

  2. This is how high value awards are subsidized – the programs count on the majority of people only wanting low value awards like domestic…and put up obstacles like not showing partners online to keep them in the lower value awards. US Airways does that more than anyone so this all makes sense.

    95% of the population is not like us and trusts what it sees online at the airline’s website.

  3. @James K.
    I used to think that US Airway miles were “worthless” until I started reading the blogs. Most of the time I was looking to use my US Airway miles, it was seldom that I was getting round trip Saver availability solely on US Air, and thus it was very frustrating. The US Airway site does not show you star alliance availability so without looking at the terms and conditions and asking questions about partners, one wouldn’t know. The people who are knowledgeable about this are the exception more-so than the norm. United made it easy to know about and book partners. So much so, that they claim their costs in booking partner awards went up dramatically, and thus they recently increased a good bit of their partner award chart. I bet that US Air doesn’t have that problem, because their website is so partner unfriendly. Thus, I think you are harsh by calling “the people” “stupid”. More like US Airways website is “stupid”, but maybe on purpose. GREG (Comment # 2) is absolutely correct.

  4. This will be selfish, but I love the article’s findings and wish more people thought their miles were worthless 🙂 I like that booking international premium cabin awards are “difficult” to book because (1)the already limited availability has a better chance of being there for me and (2)I really enjoy all the “work” involved finding the perfect itinerary and the joy I get when I book it.

  5. A large majority of American fliers have little interest in traveling abroad except on very rare occasions. In that situation, ease, availibility and flexibity of domestic award routing is the most important. Which is why Southwest is so popular both as an airline and as a FF program. “Cheap” reward flights in business or first to Europe or Asia don’t matter if you aren’t looking to travel to those regions. According to the survey only 25% of people are looking to redeem to Europe, Asia, South America, or “other” (Middle East, Africa, Australia). The rest are trying to redeem to the US, Hawaii, and Caribbean (likely PR, Jamaica, etc). With Southwest now flying to the Caribbean, it will provide even more value to its customers. (this is coming from someone who doesn’t like Southwest and has only flown it twice)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *