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United MileagePlus, Hilton Honors Among Big Winners in 2019 FlyerTalk Awards

United MileagePlus, Hilton Honors Among Big Winners in 2019 FlyerTalk Awards
  • The results of the 2019 FlyerTalk Awards are in
  • Game-changing wins for United MileagePlus, Hilton Honors, and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
  • British Airways Executive Club and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards continue impressive winning streaks

The votes have been tallied, and the winners of the 2019 FlyerTalk Awards have been determined in what turned out to be a year of major wins for several travel brands.

(Scroll down for full results at a glance. To join the FlyerTalk on the topic, head here.)

This was the eighth straight year that FlyerTalk members cast ballots to determine the community’s favorite travel affinity programs. Awards are given in three major categories: Fly (airline affinity programs), Stay (hotel affinity programs), and Drive (car rental affinity programs). Given the global nature of these programs, 18 total awards are given across three geographical regions.


Highlights: Fly

Among airlines, United MileagePlus took its first-ever Best Program award this year. United also took a trophy for Outstanding Benefit this year for a benefit that many FlyerTalkers love: Complimentary Economy Plus for all Premier Members.

Meanwhile, British Airways Executive Club won both awards it was nominated for: Best Program (Europe/Africa), as well as Outstanding Benefit for access to British Airways lounges. This continues a winning legacy for the carrier, as British Airways has never lost a FlyerTalk Award contest.

In the Middle East/Asia, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer took its first Best Program win after years of seeing competitors take trophies in the region.


Highlights: Stay

When it came to hotel affinity programs, “there was definitely an elephant in the room of this year’s hotel awards, and that elephant’s name is Bonvoy,” said FlyerTalk Awards producer Paul O’Brien.

This was the final year FlyerTalkers could cast votes for Marriott and Starwood Prefered Group separately, since the two programs didn’t merge to become Bonvoy until late in 2018.

Marriott and SPG were well-represented in the overall tallies since the FlyerTalk Awards launched. That ended this year. For the first time, a single rewards program swept all six FlyerTalk Hotel Awards: Hilton Honors.

This is the first year in the history of the FlyerTalk Awards that Hilton won for Best Hotel Rewards Program in the Americas, as well as its first win for Best Hotel Rewards Program in the Middle East/Asia/Oceana category.


Highlights: Drive

In the car rental affinity program categories, Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards swept all six “Drive” awards in 2019, continuing a remarkable winning streak: an astounding 45 trophies in 47 chances since 2012.


2019 FlyerTalk Awards: Full Results



Fly: United Airlines MileagePlus

Stay: Hilton Honors

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards


Middle East/Asia/Oceana

Fly: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Stay: Hilton Honors

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards



Fly: British Airways Executive Club

Stay: Hilton Honors

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards




Fly: United Airlines MileagePlus (Complimentary access to Economy Plus for all Premier members)

Stay: Hilton Honors (Free breakfast)

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards (Ultimate Choice at select airport locations)



Fly: British Airways Executive Club (Lounge access)

Stay: Hilton Honors (Free breakfast)

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards (Five Star & President’s Circle)


Middle East/Asia/Oceana

Fly: Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club (Lounge access)

Stay: Hilton Honors (Room upgrades)

Drive: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards (Platinum Elite)


More About The FlyerTalk Awards

Perhaps the most rewarded group in the history of these programs, FlyerTalk is a community of over half a million business and leisure travelers dedicated to finding and sharing elite-level knowledge of air, hotel and car rental programs. These are not casual travelers; they are industry influencers. Their favorite programs can truly be called the best in the world, because they have tried them all.

More than 100 rewards programs worldwide vie for Best Program, signifying the finest combination of value, ease-of-redemption and customer service. FlyerTalk presents nine of these awards across three geographical regions, along with nine more awards for the Outstanding Benefit of the past year.

How the Awards Are Chosen
Voters are asked to submit a six-part online ballot, ranking their top four programs (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place) in each award category. Ballots are tabulated using a single-winner voting method (a modified Borda count) with a proprietary weighting system, and audited over a period of weeks. This ensures that small programs, meeting a modest minimum qualifying percentage of votes cast, have the same chance of winning as the largest players in their industry; high program participation does not necessarily equate to a higher Quality Score.
A perfect Quality Score, receiving nothing but 1st-place votes, is 10.


View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. weero


    June 5, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I hope the factoid that MileagePlus is a very decent program doesn’t lead to the very wrong conclusion that United Airlines isn’t a terrible airline with a deeply anchored phobia for passengers and their demands.

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