It’s easy to feel enticed by an airline or a hotel loyalty program. After all, who wouldn’t want a free flight, a room upgrade or other lucrative benefits? The catch — as any program loyalist can attest to — is that maximizing travel rewards can be challenging. While it’s often easy to join a program, attaining meaningful perks and rewards may come with a string of caveats. So how can you tell if a program is worth your time and effort?
To create the fifth annual rankings, U.S. News & World Report editors evaluated each loyalty program based on key attributes that everyday travelers value, such as the size and diversity of each airline or hotel network and how quickly you can accumulate enough miles or points to earn a free flight or hotel stay. The rankings also take into account the number of ways you can use rewards and the added benefits you receive as a member.