The Best Frequent Flyer Programs for Elite Flyers

United Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer the best benefits to their frequent flyer program elite members. This is as per the findings of a new study that was released recently. Frequent flyer programs of six largest US airlines, namely American, Alaska, JetBlue, Delta, United, and Southwest airlines were analyzed in the study.

In the study, the program benefits for flyers that travel 25,000 miles and spend three thousand dollars; 50,000 miles and spend six thousand dollars; 75,000 miles and spend nine thousand dollars; and 125,000 miles and fifteen thousand dollars per year were taken into consideration.

The elite policies of Alaska Airlines were rated first, largely because the airline “still rewards its flyers with miles based on distance flown rather than dollars spent,” says an analyst Nick Ewen. “For an elite member, this can result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of extra miles that can then be redeemed on various partners like Air France, Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines.”

The analyst also congratulates Alaska Airlines for their issuance of certificates to upgrade seats. All those frequent flyers who accumulate 50,000 miles and spend six thousand dollars per year will qualify to get an MVP Gold status. The MVP Gold status can offer four Gold Guest Upgrade certificates, which can be used either by the member or transferred to a family member or a friend.

“No other carrier offers this type of flexible perk to mid-tier elites (those who fly 50,000 miles and spend $6,000 per year),” Ewen says. “Finally, Alaska waives all change and cancellation fees for members of MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K (those who fly 75,000 miles and spend $9,000), providing these elite flyers with incredible flexibility on their tickets.”

Even though the elite policies of Alaska Airlines ranked number one, overall, the carrier dropped to the fourth position. United Airlines was ranked first for the elite flyers that fly 125,000 miles and spend fifteen thousand dollars per year. Ewen says that the primary reason for the top billing of United Airlines is the upgrade certificates that they offer.

The Premier 1K program of United Airlines that frequent flyers qualify by flying a minimum of 100,000 miles and spending twelve thousand dollars a year offers six Regional Upgrade certificates that are valid on short-haul international and domestic flights. Moreover, these flyers earn additional upgrade for every 25,000 miles flown.

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