2019’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs

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Best Frequent Flyer Programs

2019’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs

U.S. airlines are expected to carry more than 800 million passengers on domestic flights this year. To help travelers make the best decisions for their wallets, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2019’s Best Frequent Flyer Program, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines based on 23 key metrics, ranging from the value of a point/mile to blackout dates for rewards flights.

WalletHub’s report also features a custom calculator that allows travelers to personalize the results based on their own budget.

Top Frequent Flyer Programs


  • Delta SkyMiles
  • United Airlines – Mileage Plan
  • JetBlue Airways – TrueBlue
  • Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Hawaiian Airlines – HawaiianMiles


Interesting Facts

  • Delta SkyMiles is the best frequent flyer program for the fourth straight year.
  • The average airline rewards program gives frequent flyers up to 12% off their airline spending. And they’re all free to join.
  • Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value, at $21.29 per $100 spent. Alaska Airlines comes in second, with $18.12 per $100 spent.
  • Three of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards in 2019 than in 2018, sweetening the pot by an average of 13%.
  • Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways are the only two major airlines whose miles do not expire because of inactivity.
  • The Barclaycard Arrival Plus and the Lufthansa Credit Card are 2019’s best airline credit cards, according to WalletHub’s editors.


Delta took the top spot on WalletHub’s ranking with United coming in second. I’m sure this result doesn’t please everyone, so let us know in the comments which program would you consider best?


  1. The PROBLEM with lists like this is that, in the real world, it is *always* a matter of YMMV (no pun intended). Things don’t always fit in little tiny boxes. Even if I believed that Delta is the #1 FF program, Delta is USELESS to me, based upon where I live/home airport, and where I fly. Delta has a limited route network out of SFO, and offers very few nonstops to the destinations where I need to be. So, too, Hawaiian. (Hawaiian? Really???) While I love jetBlue’s MINT, they’re based out of JFK & BOS, and — here, too — the number of nonstop destinations are limited. I’d possibly fly them more if a) they had a broader network, and b) were more affordable on transcontinental flights.

    Southwest certainly fits *most* of what I need from an airline. In terms of a route network, United fits too, but they just flat-out suck! (I’ll fly them if I have to — e.g.: the timing of their flight gets me into my destination and a business meeting on time, versus other options which would have me arriving late.) No, I’m sticking with Alaska…

  2. Delta coming in first invalidates any any hope of accuracy in this report. Maybe next time they could try to pick a winner that doesn’t make you spit out your coffee in laughter. Then there would be at least some chance that people would buy the results. Did they pick Bonvoy for best IT as well?

    • I think WSJ also picked Delta. I haven’t looked at Wallet Hub’s data yet but I think a lot of people rank them highly in operations and service etc. so I think they get a huge bump from that. That along with the fact that the miles never expire are the only things I can think of. I think Southwest always gets hurt but not having much international coverage because their program is the most consumer friendly by far.

    • I think a lot depends on your home airport. I struggle to find any good availability out of my airport but we have poor coverage from United.


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