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Airline frequent flier programs can be rewarding and enhance your travel experience. All major U.S. airlines offer loyalty programs, which you can join for free. With lots of programs, it may be hard to determine which frequent flyer program will be the best fit for your travel needs.
As a general rule, you can start selecting a frequent flyer program with understanding your travel habits, hub city or airlines you often fly with, and goals. Once you have this in mind, you can narrow the selection of frequent flier programs down to the best options. Then you can learn about those programs to make a more informed decision.
Here, we provide select details about some of the best frequent flyer programs:
- American Airlines AAdvantage: best for earning elite status. The program offers multiple ways to earn miles that qualify towards elite status. These ways include credit card purchases, shopping portals, and dining rewards. So, you do't really need to fly to earn elite status. American is also a part of Oneworld Alliance, which opens plenty of additional opportunities to earn and redeem rewards.
- Alaska Mileage Plan: best for domestic travel. Alaska is also part of Oneworld Alliance, meaning you will always find an award flight. Also, Alaska is one of the few airlines that has award charts. Additionally, eligible Alaska Airlines Visa® cardholders can be offered Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™.
- United Mileage Plus: best for long-haul award flights. United is a member of Star Alliance and it offers the most award destinations of any U.S. airline loyalty program. There are multiple ways to earn miles and the miles you earn never expire.
- JetBlue TrueBlue: best for transparency. TrueBlue is a simple loyalty program with easy earning and redeeming process. The airline also serves long-haul international flights from BOS and JFK.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards: best for domestic travel. Rapid Rewards program offers practical rewards, easy redemptions, and the opportunity to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. Plus, Southwest is famous for offering free checked bags.
- Delta SkyMiles: best for status perks. Delta is a member of SkyTeam Alliance. Once you reach top-tier elite status, you'll get access to valuable perks, including a Companion Certificate.