Freddie Awards Voting Has Begun!

Balloting for the Freddie Awards has begun. Polls close February 28th.

Expecut much lobbying from frequent flyer and frequent guest programs, incessant emails from programs to their membership. Marriott’s surprising performance last year was, I believe, in large measure due to signfiicant “get out the vote” efforts and I expect other programs to learn from that result and plan accordingly.

Such measures can only have an effect at the margin when over half a million people turn out to vote. But since several awards are ultimately decided by numbers closer than Al Franken’s Senate margin, such efforts can make a difference.

One pecularity in how the votes are tabulated — which I admit I’m not keen on — is that the number of votes cast for a particular program only determine whether that program crosses the (if I recall correctly) 1% threshold necessary to qualify to win in a category. Then the actual winner is determined by the average ‘value vote’ given to the program by those who vote for it.

As a result, voting for any mid- or large-scale program just gives you a ticket to determine its value vote (the smallest programs likely won’t cross the threshold in terms of number of votes).

If you actually want a program to win in the category you’re selecting it for, a value vote of ’10’ is the logical choice. Perversely, if you want a program to do badly then it makes sense to vote for the program as the ‘winner’ in the relevant category and assign it a low value vote.

These oddities notwithstanding, the outcomes of the Freddie Awards do seem to point overall towards recognizing programs that are doing well by their members and when historically dominant programs in a category are upset in a given year, it’s usually for a reason — changes in a program, member dissatisfaction, etc.

Personally I cast a few symbolic votes. I picked All Nippon Airways as having the best website because it’s the single best when it comes to searching out award availability across its partners. The web tools aren’t totally comprehensive, Star Alliance partners Air China and Swiss are not searchable online and neither are non-Star partners like Virgin Atlantic, but their web functionality is a huge step forward for members seeking awards and really empower the consumer. Not to mention empowering the consumers of all other Star Alliance airlines!

I picked ‘best award’ for an airline program as British Airways’ 50% off award redemption sale…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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