JetBlue Again Tops the List of all Frequent Flyer Programs
J.D. Power recently revealed its 2018 Airline Loyalty Program Satisfaction Study listing the airlines that offer the perfect frequent flyer program to its customers. In a survey conducted on 3,025 people between May and June the methodology adopted in J.D Power’s survey was simple, the survey queried loyalty program members about their satisfaction in these 4 areas in order of importance-
- Earning and redeeming rewards
- Program benefits
- Account management
- Member communication
However, the program also took into consideration of how well the airline took into account factors like communicating clearly about the loyalty program to its members, ease of earning and redeeming those miles which were amongst the J.D Power’s assessment survey.
The survey ranked the airlines on a 1,000-point scale and this year’s trend has shown that the industry average has risen slightly higher by 16 points. While this average is slightly higher than last year, top programs are still extremely complex and only about half of the members completely understand how they work, J.D. Power said.
JetBlue JBLU Airways’ TrueBlue program emerged on the top of the list for the second year in the row and their point also rose slightly higher from last year.
Southwest LUV Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program knocked Alaska Airlines ALK to take the second spot while Alaska Airlines got placed 3rd in the stack.
These top three airlines listed this year are mostly seen as jockeying for the top position each year.
What makes JetBlue stand out and get the top spot?
JetBlue’s TrueBlue program was given a score of 812 out of 1000 points and this year’s rating is 16 points higher than what JetBlue’s previously achieved. And this is the second year in a row that the airline has secured this rating by working hard over the years to demonstrate the value of their loyalty program; said Michael Taylor, J.D. Power’s Travel Practice Lead.
The carrier performed well in areas such as program benefits, ease of earning and redeeming the rewards, as well as clear communication with the members.
The confusion about the program rules is due to the fact that it is kept intentionally difficult to understand or get a straight answer from. This has caused a significant drag on the satisfaction scores of many airlines, however, JetBlue does very well in this area and it’s only happening about half the time,” Taylor added.
Here’s how airlines stack up in the frequent flyer ratings:
- JetBlue (JBLU Airway’s TrueBlue program – 812 points)
- Southwest Airlines (LUV Rapid Rewards program – 798 points)
- Alaska Airlines (ALK Mileage Plan – 791 points)
- Delta Air Lines (DAL SkyMiles – 786 points)
- Industry Average (776 points)
- American Airlines (AAL AAdvantage – 749 points)
- United Airlines (UAL MileagePlus – 747 points)
J.D. Power’s recent study has started focusing on frequent-flier programs is amongst the few that started looking at not only the airlines benefit in terms of perks and feature but in specific about their loyalty programs. There was another such study recently released in March by The Points Guy website that gave Alaska Airlines the top rating followed by SouthWest and Delta.
Point Hoarding amongst American is quite prevalent
The survey points out that the U.S. is a nation of points hoarders and further reveals that almost three-quarters or 74% of frequent flyer members who responded to the survey prefer collecting points until they have stacked enough to spend the miles earned on big reward instead of spending it on smaller perks.
It is worthy to note that these top contenders also excelled in the J.D. Power customer service satisfaction survey that recently came out in May. In that survey, Alaska Airlines is the top U.S carrier for the 11th consecutive year in a row followed by the Southwest Airlines in this survey from J.D. Power. SouthWest was named as the best low-cost airlines and topped overall by 818 points on individual airline ratings of 2018.