I wasn’t at the Freddie Awards this year, during the ceremony I was in the Thai Airways first class spa at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. So I don’t have a lot to share about the event. But I’ve been reviewing the results.
Certainly I have a different take on who should have won in many cases, I wouldn’t call Alaska’s MVP Gold the best airline elite status for instance.
But what really struck me was Delta Skymiles winning the best elite level in Europe. Delta offers almost nothing to the European elite members (although European addressed Skymiles accounts have historically earned Platinum status with only 50,000 elite qualifying miles). There’s no complimentary upgrade program except when Europeans have already crossed the pond. It’s a terrible program for international upgrades. And what else is there, really, for a US-based airline’s elite program from the perspective of a European member?
Similarly, how Marriott can win any best elite level awards is beyond me. The program explicitly excludes suites from the upgrade benefit. Top tier members get lounge access, or the occasional generosity of a hotel that goes above and beyond the program benefits itself. Big deal. I can see an argument for Intercontinental Royal Ambassador, but generally speaking Starwood Platinum is the best top tier elite level offered by a major hotel program, period. At least for the current Freddie Awards that are looking back on last year. Going forward Hyatt’s Diamond status offers incredible value…
I get how Hilton earns “best award redemption” since they’ve matched Starwood’s no capacity controls on awards. But how Starwood finishes 5th in the category makes no sense at all.
Starwood seems to fare the best across the board in Asia, and having just returned from Asia I’d expect this is much a function of the phenomenal properties they have rather than of the program itself (though those outstanding properties are generally also quite good with elite recognition).