Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alaska Airlines and Marriott elite winners at the Freddie Awards

The the 21st Annual Freddie Awards for the best Elite Level airline and hotel loyalty programs were awarded to Alaska Airlines for their Mileage Plan program and to Marriott Rewards for Europe/Middle East/Africa, the Airline prize went to: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles and the hotel award for Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel went to: Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Among the big winners were Marriott Rewards, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club, Virgin Blue Velocity, Starwood Preferred Guest and many more.

This program has been named in honor of the Maverick airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker who took on the big legacy airlines as competition. I feel that the awards have betrayed their namesake because they habitually place the big contenders in the winning roles. The judges are not impartial because they obtain advertising and other paybacks from the winners.
sure, there were More than 700,000 Freddie ballots, but the campaigns sent out by the big players encouraged members to vote and many of the voters had no experience with the airlines and hotels in the running. Many of the travelers are loyal to the program that they have joined and are not in a position to compare because they are blissfully ignorant about what they are missing out on. Take it from me I can assure you that there is NO conflict of interests reflected from my blog.
I have been staying at many of the Marriott hotels as they opened over the past 25 years. When I was living in Asia, Europe, S. America and Africa, I stayed at Starwood, IHG and Hyatt hotels because there were no Marriott hotels at the time. It was Hyatt that gave me a taste for the Regency floor (AKA Club or concierge lounge). The lounge was a welcome oasis in exhausting countries like Indonesia and refuge from the maddening crowd in Acapulco. At that time Marriott grew because they had the US market.

Hilton won the Freddie for Best Award Redemption and Marriott came in 3rd Petersen said, "If award redemption is easy, you have a very happy program member. If it's difficult, call out the National Guard, you might need some help. If there's one thing that irks frequent travelers the most, it's the unavailability of awards--and the hassles of redeeming them. We've learned that it's not just about making seats and rooms available; it's also about the process. Does it require members to jump through hoops to get an award? We never said that award redemption would be easy, but some programs make it easier than others. Voters were asked to vote on the program that makes award redemption the most user-friendly--Can you get the award you want when you want it?"

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