If you fly with any sort of regularity, it’s worth your time to join a frequent flyer program. But they’re not all created equal.
WalletHub has released its ranking of the top five loyalty programs, based on a survey of the 10 largest domestic carriers.
For the fourth year in a row, Delta Air Lines tops the list.
The study looks at 23 metrics, including how quickly (if at all) frequent flyer miles expire, blackout dates, and how easy it is to achieve elite status. Those totals are calculated for light, average, and frequent flyers.
Several carriers worked with WalletHub to confirm the data’s accuracy upon which the rankings were based. The carriers that didn’t participate were Spirit, Alaska, United, Southwest, and Sun Country Airlines.
Delta’s SkyMiles program topped the list as one of two carriers with miles that don’t expire. (The other is JetBlue.) Spirit Airlines was the lowest ranked of the 10 carriers. (Delta also ranked high with J.D. Power’s list of the top carrier loyalty programs last year.)
The WalletHub ranking varies slightly depending on how often you fly. JetBlue, for instance, is ranked third overall, but second for frequent flyers.
Here’s the top five overall:
- Delta SkyMiles
- United Airlines – Mileage Plan
- JetBlue Airways – TrueBlue
- Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
- Hawaiian Airlines – HawaiianMiles
Beyond ranking the programs, WalletHub also looked at trends among frequent flyer programs, noting three of the 10 carriers are offering more rewards this year than in 2018. And, while it might be tempting, buying miles is a pretty poor investment as they cost 61% more than they’re worth when earned.