It’s Easiest to Use Your Frequent Flier Miles on This Airline

A new report ranks airlines across the globe based on their reward seat availability. Here's how U.S. airlines stacked up.

It’s Easiest to Use Your Frequent Flier Miles on This Airline Photo by Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

Anyone who has tried to book a free flight using frequent flier rewards knows it can be a frustrating process. But some carriers soar high above their peers by making it easy to find reward seats that fit your travel plans.

For example, Southwest Airlines offers reward seats on all its flights, according to the eighth annual CarTrawler reward seat availability survey. Twenty-five airlines were ranked based on the results of the survey, which includes data on seat requests for 7,420 flights between June and October of this year.

Jay Sorensen — president of IdeaWorks, which conducted the survey — tells CNBC.

“Southwest benefits from having a very consumer-friendly system, and this is an airline that makes reward-seat availability a priority.”

The survey found that overall, airlines offered reward seats on 72.4 percent of the flights checked — a drop from last year’s 76.6 percent.

Here’s how U.S. airlines fared on the global survey of 25 airlines:

1. Southwest: Frequent flier seats available on 100 percent of flights checked for the survey

2. JetBlue: 94.3 percent

7. Alaska: 81.4 percent

10. Delta: 74.3 percent

13. United: 65 percent

18. American: 54.3 percent

For more information about airline loyalty programs, check out

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