Lifestyle The Best Frequent Flyer Programs of 2020

The Best Frequent Flyer Programs of 2020

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Illustration for article titled The Best Frequent Flyer Programs of 2020 [Updated]

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Struggling to decide which airline loyalty club gets you the best benefits? Now there’s a calculator to help you decide.

WalletHubhas released its annual ranking of the best domestic frequent flyer programs. Here are the top five out of the 10 reviewed:

  1. Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles
  2. United Airlines – MileagePlus
  3. Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan
  4. Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  5. JetBlue Airways – TrueBlue

The extensive ranking examined the number of daily flights, destinations and countries served, partner airlines, expiration and blackout dates, earning limits and more—23 metrics in all.

And while Delta took first place for the fifth straight year, United Airlines is right on its heels. And Southwest, while fourth overall, had a high score for “light” flyers who spend about $574 per year on air travel.

If you want a quick glance at which program might be best for you, WalletHubhas a calculatorthat allows you to get a recommendation by entering the amount you spend on airline travel each year. Based on whether you’re a light, average, frequent flyer or beyond, you can see which airline had the top score for your level of anticipated spending. (“Frequent” flyers, in this case, refers to travelers who fly domestic once a month and fly internationally once a year.)

When it comes to airline loyalty programs, however, there’s really nobadchoice: They’re all free, and offer up to 12% savings on airfare for frequent flyers, according to WalletHub. That means the best airline rewards program for you is probably the one that you’re going to use most.

For instance, Alaska may get high marks for its rewards program, but it doesn’t offer a lot of direct flights from my home airport in Florida to the Eastern cities I visit often. (I do not need to get to Boston via Seattle.) I’d be better off signing up for programs that offer plenty of departures from my airport, with nonstop flights to major cities. Because outside ofcredit card-based travel rewardsprograms, you don’t earn frequent flyer miles unless you actually fly.

This post has been updated to correct the ranking order for the frequent flyer

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