Reward Program Comparison Tables

For the 21 frequent flyer programs, comparisons of the following data points have been compiled. 

  • Main reward chart information
  • Secondary reward chart information
  • Fees on reward tickets
  • Routing rules
  • Example pricing for premium class international travel
  • Specifics on how to earn points

Main Reward Chart

This comparison explains what carriers are applicble to the main reward chart of each program as well as how rewards are priced.

Carriers Allowed on ticket:

  • Own only: The reward chart is only applicable to the airline's own non-codeshare flights.
  • Own plus/or 1 Alliance: A reward can be secured for the chart pricing on the airline's own flights, flights on a single alliance partner or a combination of the two. For example a domestic connection to the gateway city of the international airline. The airline that owns the program can be either.
  • Multiple Own/Alliance/Partner: Reward flights can be a combination of multiple carriers who are in alliances or are partners of the airline that owns the program.
  • Single Partner: The reward can only be ticketed on a single partner of the airline that owns the program.

Chart Type:

  • Published: A reward chart is published by the program.
  • Not Published: No chart is published by the program. In these cases a table of values was compiled.
  • Mileage Calculator: Program uses a mileage based system to determine reward pricing.
  • Charts for each carrier: Individual charts applicable to partner(s) of the frequent flyer program.

Reward Pricing:

  • Region: Geographical areas are defining and reward pricing is region to region.
  • Distance Range & Segment: A range of miles equates to a price and the reward is based on the distance of each flight segment. A distance of point A-B could be in one price group and a distance of A-C-B, where C is a connecting city, could be in a higher price group.
  • Distance Range: Reward pricing is determined by distance of A-B regardless of connections.
  • Region / Dynamic: Reward pricing is determined by region to region and adjusted by market demand.
  • Distance Exact & Segment: Reward pricing is based on the exact distance of each flight segment.

North America Gateway connections:

  • Yes: The carrier allows for connections to the international gateway city in the price of the reward on either their own aircraft or an alliance/partner aircraft.
  • No: Reward pricing is from the carrier's international gateway city only.

Off Peak/Peak or Blackout dates:

  • Charts have Off-Peak and Peak date adjustments
  • Blackout dates apply to some carriers represented in program.

Itinerary

  • One-Way: One-way as well as round-trip itineraries may be redeemed for reward travel.
  • Round-Trip: Only round-trip rewards may be redeemed.

Note: Click on any image to expand.

Secondary Reward Chart

Most programs have secondary reward charts that apply to their alliance members or partners as well as their own flights with alliance / partner flight segments on the ticket. A column has been added to show if these rewards can be searched for on the program's web-site.

Fees

This table compiles the fees charged by the frequent flyer program:

  • Collects Surcharges: All programs collect taxes and airport fees. Some program also collect carrier-imposed surcharges. These are fees usually identified within a retail fare structure as a "YQ" fee. Not all airlines tack on these fees in their fare pricing. Most programs collect these fees. This table provides the details.
  • Ticketing Fee: This is a fee for calling the program's service center to book a reward. On-line reward bookings do not incur a booking charge by any carrier at this time. Also, some carriers will waive the ticketing fee if the reward can not be booked online. i.e. American with Qatar reward tickets. 
  • Grace or Hold Period: A period of time when the reward can either be reserved before actual ticketing, or cancelled after ticketing.
  • Late Booking Fee: This is a ticketing charge for rewards booked within a short period of time before first departure.
  • Change Date / Time: The fee and conditions for making date and time changes to a reward that has been ticketed.
  • Change Route / Carrier: The fee and conditions for making a route or carrier change to a reward that has been ticketed.
  • Cancel / Redeposit" The fee and conditions for canceling a reward permanently or canceling to re-book based on new criteria. 

Routing

This table compile the routing restrictions for stopovers and open-jaws on reward tickets. Typically programs have two or more sets of rules based on the carrier the reward ticket is booked on. Obviously it is easier for a carrier to dictate these rules on their own flights as opposed to partner flights. There are two columns for each program to account for this.

Carrier(s) allowed on ticket - in general the first instance is for their own flights and best reward chart while the second instance is for alliance/partner flights. 

  • One-Way: Conditions for stopover on a one-way ticket
  • Round-Trip: Conditions for a stopover on a round-trip ticket
  • Open Jaw: Conditions for an open-jaw

Note: Allowed w/Multiple Tickets simply means that the program prices rewards on individual segments, so you can get as many stopovers as you want with multiple tickets as each reward ticket is 1 flight to and 2nd flight return. A stopover is inserting another reward inside of the first reward. 

Reward Pricing

This comparison looks at Business Class rewards from JFK (or New York) to:

  • Europe: Frankfurt
  • South Africa: Johannesburg
  • Middle East: Dubai
  • Northern Asia: Tokyo
  • Southern Asia: Singapore
  • Australia: Sydney
  • South America: Sao Paulo

The values published are for a round trip at the lowest published fare for each program. The comparison does not include surcharges in the pricing but states whether or not the carrier collects them. This comparison is not meant to indicate frequency of availability. Seasonal pricing and special offers can change the results of this comparison. Economy and first class rewards may not reflect that same rankings.

Earning Points

Two tables show the various ways to earn points with each program. 

Table one:

  • Expiration: The time period before points expire and are forfeited if not used.
  • Flying Earn: If points are earned based revenue for a ticket or on mileage flown that may or may not include a class of service bonus.
  • US Credit Card: Whether or not you can earn points with a branded credit card available in the United States. "P" is for a personal card and "B" is for a business card.
  • Credit Card Transfer: Whether or not you can transfer points of AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Points or SPG Starwood Points to the program.

Table two:

  • Hotel Transfer: Whether you can transfer points earned from these program; Accor, Best Western, Choice, e-rewards, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Wyndam to the program.
  • Auto Rental: Whether you can earn points from; Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Thrifty, Sixt, National, Alamo or Enterprise and have them credited to the program. 
  • Shopping Portal: Whether the program has a shopping site that directs you to retail businesses where you buy their merchandise and earn points credited to the frequent flyer program.
  • Dining: Whether the program has a program that allows you to earn points by dining at various restaurants. 
  • Hotel Portal: Whether you can book hotel rooms through; Rocketmiles, Pointshound or Kaligo and earn points in the frequent flyer program.
  • Purchase points: Where the program offers a way to purchase reward points and those conditions.
  • Other: Any other miscellaneous programs that allow you to earn points in the frequent flyer program.

Note: Earnings for stay at hotels were not compiled as all programs have a vast number of hotels that participate and allow point earning.