Reading about people like Daraius Dubash, who has visited over 30 countries on six continents by maximizing credit card points and frequent flier miles, really makes you wonder what you’re missing.
Even if you’ve taken the 30 seconds to sign up for the rewards programs of your favourite airlines, getting periodic email updates about negligible points is discouraging. Unless you’re continent-hopping regularly, it can seem like rewards programs are awfully stingy.
According to a new analysis from travel site Mighty Travels, some programs are stingier than others.
The site looked at how many miles or points it would take to redeem a single economy class round-trip ticket from New York City (JFK) to 11 international airports on the four major US-based airlines, and found that American Airlines’ AAdvantage program was the most generous, closely followed by US Airways’ Dividend Miles, which is just about as generous but slightly trickier to redeem.
If you’re going to fly American or US Airways, Mighty Travels recommends doing it soon. “Both loyalty programs will likely be merged into one by the end of 2014,” they write, “and more changes to redemption rates might happen.”
Next up was United MileagePlus — easy to book, but less generous in 2014 compared to previous years — followed by Delta Skymiles, which Mighty Travels says has “high redemption rates, fuel surcharges on many SkyTeam partners, no option to book one-way awards, and friendly but confused call center agents.”
Travellers who have a choice between airlines running comparably priced flights to their favourite destinations may want to consider flying American or US Airways to get the most value from their dollars … but if Delta is your only option, don’t get too excited for those rewards emails.