The 10 Best Airline and Hotel Rewards Programs in 2019

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Happy father and daughter traveling
Dean Drobot /

The right travel rewards programs can make any vacation just a bit better.

To get the best rewards deals, consider booking flights on Alaska Airlines and staying at Marriott Bonvoy.

Those companies took the top honors for airline and hotel rewards programs, respectively, in the latest annual Best Travel Rewards Programs rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

In arriving at its rankings, U.S. News weighed several factors, including:

  • The size and diversity of each airline or hotel network
  • How fast you can pile up miles or points to earn free flights or stays
  • The various types of ways you can use rewards
  • Added benefits that members of these rewards programs receive

Top 5 airline rewards programs

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ranked first among airline rewards programs, partially because it allows you to earn and redeem miles with 18 partner airlines such as American Airlines.

In addition, participants can earn miles via many retail, rental car and hotel partnerships.

U.S. News also lauded the program for offering “flexible redemption options for flights.”

The top five airlines rewards programs are:

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. Delta SkyMiles
  3. JetBlue TrueBlue
  4. United MileagePlus
  5. American Airlines AAdvantage

Top 5 hotel rewards programs

Marriott Bonvoy took the top honors among hotel rewards programs. You can earn points through the program for staying at any of 30 affiliated brands, from The Ritz-Carlton to Courtyard by Marriott.

In addition, U.S. News praised the program for not having any blackout dates, and for its wide reach — more than 7,000 participating hotels in more than 130 countries.

The top five airlines rewards programs are:

  1. Marriott Bonvoy
  2. Wyndham Rewards
  3. World of Hyatt
  4. Choice Privileges
  5. Best Western Rewards

Discovering opportunities to save on travel

A great travel rewards program won’t do you much good if you don’t use it well.

For example, there are prime times to spend your points — and other periods where it’s better to hold on to them. To learn more, check out “The Secret to Squeezing the Most Value From Travel Rewards Points.”

The biggest and best travel savings occur when you get something for the bargain-basement price of “free.” We run down such freebies in “9 Travel Freebies You Can Enjoy in 2019.”

For more tips, check out “15 Tools to Help You Save on Every Kind of Travel.”

What is your favorite travel rewards program? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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