Frequent Flyer Programs Ranked

Frequent Flyer Programs Ranked

Since Texas International Airlines introduced the first point-based loyalty program in 1979, flyer programs have become very popular, with savvy flyers leveraging them for super-discounted travel and other perks.  

But with so many options out there, how do you choose a frequent flyer program that’s worth the time and money?

The Best Airline Rewards Programs in 2024

Flyer programs are moving from awarding points based on the number of miles traveled to a new system that takes revenue into account. Under this new system, the number of miles earned is principally tied to the fare cost, and the status you reach depends on ticket costs.

But there is a silver lining. Because of these changes, many airlines now offer dining rewards programs through which you can gain miles even if you don't fly. 

Let’s look at some of the best flyer programs in 2024. This review takes into account the number of destinations served, legroom, points/miles expiration, and other factors.

1. United Airlines’ MileagePlus

A new report of 59 airline rewards programs by a UK business travel management company ranked United frequent program number one for long-haul upgrades because their miles don’t expire, they fly to most destinations, and their seats offer “generous” legroom. 

Good Travel Management says,

“MileagePlus has over 100 million members and offers the best value in earning and redeeming miles.”

Their lucrative travel credit card offers are unrivaled.

 The airline’s elite members earn PlusPoints, which they can use to upgrade to premium cabins like Polaris business class.

2. Air Canada Aeroplan

Since relaunching in 2020, Aeroplan has had one of the most generous redemption rates. It boasts a vast collection of 50 airline partners, flies over 200 destinations, and stopovers for 5000 points. Aeroplan has also expanded to retail partners like Ontario's LCBO, Starbucks, and Uber to offer other convenient offers for members.

Together with its credit partners, Air Canada frequent flyer program was voted the premier flyer program in four popular categories. It misses the top spot because of its short points expiry timeframe (18 months) and relatively fewer destinations. 

3. Miles & Smiles with Turkish Airlines

This frequent flyer program has two critical attributes. First, as a member of Star Alliance, Miles & Smiles awards are remarkably cheaper than other frequent flyer programs. Miles & Smiles also has one of the most accessible paths to earning elite status. You must only fly 25,000 miles to achieve their coveted Classic Plus status. 

Turkish Airlines frequent flyer program has the best lounge score (8.57) among the top three loyalty flyer programs. But the program’s main downside is significantly less legroom (60 inches available).

4. American Airlines’ AAdvantage

AAdvantage offers some of the best redemption rates on partner carriers like Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, and Iberia.  Flyers can earn miles and loyalty points by flying American and its Oneworld partners.

 You can also build points by shopping on the AAdvantage shopping portal and using an American Airlines co-branded credit card. You’ll love that AAdvantage has a no change and cancelation fees policy, so you can speculatively lock in itineraries without incurring extra costs.

5. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska airline’s Mileage Plan is one of the best frequent flyer programs for passengers flying from the West Coast. You can earn points in several ways, including flying Air Canada or one of its partners, transferring points from banks and hotel transfer partners, and using Canadian and U.S. co-branded credit cards.

When you open a Mileage Plan account, you’ll gain 1 Mileage Plan mile for every mile flown. You also receive bonus miles for flying first class or on a more expensive economy ticket. 


When selecting the best frequent flyer programs, consider your home airport, targeted travel destinations, and which airline(s) suit your requirements. It’s also wise to evaluate the ease of earning and redeeming miles.

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