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Frequent-flyer awards

Frequent-flyer awards - which carriers are generous and which are not

Jonathan Heckman  May 17, 2010

A recent study by IdeaWorks Co. ranked airlines according to their free ticket awards, or their rate of saying "yes" to free-ticket requests. The study ranked domestic and foreign carriers based on 6,160 booking queries, by the consulting group, at the websites of 22 airline frequent-flier programs during February and March 2010. Who are the best and worst?

According to the study, Southwest Airlines ranked first with a 99 percent "yes" rate to free-ticket requests. Other airlines in the U.S. ranked among the best were: Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines, and United Airlines. Below is the complete ranking:

Southwest (99 percent).

Air Berlin, Germany (99 percent).

Air Canada (94 percent).

Virgin Blue, Australia (90 percent).

Lufthansa, Germany (86 percent).

Singapore Airlines (77 percent).

Iberia, Spain (76 percent).

Alaska (75 percent).

Jet Airways, India (73 percent).

Qantas, Australia (73 percent).

Continental (71 percent).

United (69 percent).

Who were the worst? According to the study, US Airways was rated the least generous, among the 22 frequent-flyer programs, with an 11 percent approval rate. Delta Air Lines followed with a 13 percent approval rate and Emirates trailed with a 36 percent approval rate.

Frequent-flyer awards - which carriers are generous and which are not
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