Not all frequent flyer programs are created equal. Some airlines won't tell you all those points come with tons of catches about when and where you can fly. Choosing your preferred airline is a big investment, especially if you travel a lot. Fortunately, somebody figured out which airline is best.
The 2016 Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey came out this week, which examined 25 major airlines' rewards programs and conducted 280 queries on each airlines' seat availability. This year, both Air Berlin and Southwest scored 100% on the test to be crowned winners. In fact, it's Southwest's 5th win in a row. Go Southwest. Virgin Australia put on the next best performance, with a score of 94.3%
The airlines that really need to step up their rewards game are LAN (45%), Avianca (53.6%), and American (56.4%), which compose the bottom three. In particular, American put on a terrible performance, with its AAdvantage program scoring a whopping 10.7 points lower than last year.
Frequent travelers will be glad to know, however, that the study showed more reward seat availability overall this year, the third year in a row showing positive growth. For the most part, international airlines offer the best availability, according to the results, but obviously Southwest makes US airlines look good.
Take a look at the top 10 best rewards programs below, and then maybe use some of those points you've been accumulating. Hopefully on Southwest.
10. China Southern - 82.9%
9. Korean Air - 84.3%
8. Qantas Group - 89.3%
7. Air Canada - 90.7%
6. Turkish - 92.1%
4 JetBlue - 92.9%
4. Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian - 92.9%
3. Virgin Australia - 94.3%
1. airberlin - 100%
1. Southwest - 100%
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Kara King is a News Writer at Thrillist and is about to get on a plane. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her at @karatillie.