Best Frequent Flyer And Frequent Guest Programs Chosen In The 21st Annual Freddie Awards

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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan was named frequent flyer Program of the Year and Marriott Rewards took top honors among hotel programs at the 21st Annual Freddie Awards on Thursday, April 23rd. Internationally, Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club frequent flyer program was voted Program of the Year in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region and Australia's Virgin Blue Velocity received the Program of the Year Freddie Award in the Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia region.

For 21 years, the Freddie Awards have given frequent flyers a forum to voice their opinions about the frequent flyer programs they feel are achieving excellence

More than 700,000 frequent travelers worldwide cast online ballots to determine the winners. The awards represent excellence in frequent travel programs and rate the best frequent flyer and frequent guest programs in eight different categories: Program of the Year, Best Award, Best Bonus Promotion, Best Member Communications, Best Web Site, Best Award Redemption, Best Customer Service and Best Elite-Level Program. The Best Affinity Credit Card was also chosen. Voters were permitted to vote for programs in one of three global regions: Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia.

Starwood Preferred Guest won Frequent Guest Program of the Year in the Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia region for the fifth consecutive year as well as in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region for the third consecutive year. Marriott Rewards placed first in the Americas region.

This is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan's fifth time as the Program of the Year award winner in the Americas. The Seattle-based program also won first place in the Best Member Communications, Best Web Site and Best Elite-Level Program categories this year. This is the third consecutive year for the program to win Best Web Site and the fourth consecutive year for the program to win Best Elite-Level Program.

Starwood Preferred Guest American Express was named top credit card for the third consecutive year in the Americas region. In a testament to the globalization of these loyalty programs, British Airways Executive Club won for Best Award in the Americas and Delta Air Lines SkyMiles won for Best Elite-Level Program in Europe/Middle East/Africa.

Marriott Rewards won the most Freddie Awards overall with nine while Virgin Blue Velocity took home the most for an airline program with six. In the Americas region, the airline program that took home the most Freddie Awards was Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan with four.

The awards were announced today by InsideFlyer Editor Randy Petersen during a ceremony at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Over 225 airline, hotel and credit card representatives attended the ceremony, along with several members of the voting public. "For 21 years, the Freddie Awards have given frequent flyers a forum to voice their opinions about the frequent flyer programs they feel are achieving excellence," said Petersen. "We are delighted that so many participated, and that the 'best' were determined by the votes of hundreds of thousands who spend a great deal of their life on the road".

The Freddie Awards honor quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the overall merits of each program as reflected in a "Value Vote." Value Voting asks the voter to assign a number between one and 10 (10 being the best) to the program for which he or she votes. To be eligible to win a Freddie Award, however, a program must receive at least two percent of the total vote for the category.

Petersen also presented Industry Impact Awards to Continental OnePass and United Mileage Plus. Introduced in 1992, the Industry Impact Awards are determined by editorial decision rather than by ballot. These awards honor the programs or individuals that have had, or will have, the biggest impact on the industry in coming years.

The Freddie Awards are named after the late Sir Freddie Laker, who attracted fame (and a knighthood in the United Kingdom) for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.

This year, InsideFlyer magazine partnered with Points.com, Priority Pass, ICLP, Loylogic, Executive Travel Magazine and EzRez to present the event for the 21st consecutive year. Attendees to the Award Ceremony were invited to dinner through a sponsorship with Visa and wine for the diners was sponsored by Synapse.

The event was Webcast live and a recap of the event may be viewed online at http://www.freddieawards.com.

This year's winners are:

Program of the Year
Americas Airline: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Americas Hotel: Marriot Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Virgin Blue Velocity
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Award
Americas Airline: British Airways Executive Club
Americas Hotel: InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Hilton HHonors
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Virgin Blue Velocity Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Bonus Promotion
Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage
Americas Hotel: InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Kingfisher Airlines King Club
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Hilton HHonors

Best Member Communications
Americas Airline: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Virgin Blue Velocity
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Web Site
Americas Airline: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Virgin Blue Velocity
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Marriott Rewards

Best Award Redemption
Americas Airline: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Americas Hotel: Hilton HHonors
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Hilton HHonors
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Virgin Blue Velocity
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Customer Service
Americas Airline: Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Hilton HHonors
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Kingfisher Airlines King Club
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Hilton HHonors

Best Elite-Level Program
Americas Airline: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Europe/Middle East/Africa Airline: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Europe/Middle East/Africa Hotel: Marriott Rewards
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Airline: Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Affinity Credit Card
Americas: Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
Europe/Middle East/Africa: Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card
Japan/Pacific/Asia/Australia: Virgin Blue Velocity NAB Gold Card American Express/Visa

Industry Impact Award
Continental OnePass
United Mileage Plus

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KAREN HELDT
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