Sorry to tell you, Wyndham, but Marriott’s rewards program has newly been crowned as the best.
On Wednesday morning, U.S. News released its annual ranking of the best hotel loyalty programs—and with it, news that Marriott has unseated Wyndham as the top contender. This was the fifth annual ranking report, and editors at U.S. News looked at 17 prominent loyalty programs. The results were determined based on a number of factors, including “member benefits, the average number of paid nights required to earn a free stay and how easy it is to earn and use rewards,” the report says. There’s also an emphasis on how easy it is for new members to earn points and redeem free nights.
The top five spots on the list went to, in this order, Marriott Rewards first, then Wyndham Rewards, Choice Privileges, World of Hyatt, and Best Western Rewards.
As for what pushed Marriott over Wyndham, it’s possibly due to the company’s merger with Starwood last year. The U.S. News study pointed to a larger number of properties available and the ability to redeem points for non-hotel-related awards as part of the reasoning for Marriott’s high score.
The study did, though, point out a few negatives to Marriott’s program: points expire after two years of inactivity, high-category hotel rooms cost more points, and the highest rewards level is hard to reach, harder than both the Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt rewards programs.
The study also ranked the top airline loyalty program. Coming out in first place again this year was Alaska Airlines, which also just placed first in FlyerTalk’s awards for the favorite loyalty program in the online community.