New Study Shows American Airlines’ Frequent Flyer Program offers Biggest Bang for the Buck

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American Airlines and United Airlines miles worth 2X more than Delta

Executive Travel recently engaged Zulu Solutions, a corporate travel consulting company, to study the value of the largest U.S. airlines’ frequent flyer mileage programs. The airlines included in the study were; Delta, United and American.

Paul Glenn, Chief Operating Officer of Executive Travel said, “After a recent purchase of a last-minute award flight, I was curious to see which airline offered the best value for my flight. On this particular trip, I noticed a large discrepancy between the three different airlines and wanted to know if this was an anomaly, and if not, how different are the three loyalty programs.”

The study was conducted using 42 city-pairs for international business class tickets, which traditionally yield the best returns using frequent flyer miles. Domestic points of origin included Omaha, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. International destinations included London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. Each city pair was then searched for the cheapest flight (fewest miles required) within one week, 14 days, 3 months, and 6 months out from the search date. Research was completed on November 20, 2018 to ensure all data points were identical for each airline. The average number of miles required for a one-way business class ticket were: 95,670 for American Airlines, 122,363 for United Airlines, and 249,339 For Delta Air Lines.

Steve Glenn, Chairman and CEO commented, “After reviewing the difference it became obvious that American Airlines miles easily have the most value of the “Big 3” Airlines. United Airlines also offered up a very competitive pricing value.  The most striking numbers from the study was how much Delta SkyMiles have been devalued in the last few years. It takes 2 ½ times as many Delta SkyMiles to redeem for an international business class ticket as it does using American AAdvantage miles and 2X times as many Delta miles than United.”

Steve Glenn continued, “Delta has been the industry leader in service for the last 5 years. They have offered outstanding leadership in improving product and service, however, the one area that the other two airlines have jumped ahead of them is the valuation of their frequent flyer program miles.”

About Executive Travel:

Executive Travel, founded in 1986, is one of the largest and fastest growing travel management companies in the U.S. The company has been a pioneer in online travel reservations and implementing the virtual workplace. Inc. Magazine ranked Executive Travel as the fastest growing Travel Management Company in its 33rd annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Executive Travel has been on the prestigious list for three consecutive years.

Executive Travel specializes in helping companies implement comprehensive travel management programs that lower the total cost of corporate travel.  Using state of the art technology combined with aggressive management systems Executive Travel has been able to enjoy strong growth throughout its 32-year history.

Executive Travel is an affiliate of BCD Travel. BCD Travel operates in more than 100 countries and is the world’s third-largest travel management company. Combining global strength with local service, BCD Travel offers an integrated technology infrastructure that provides intelligent analysis of travel data, allowing corporations to maximize the return on their travel investment.