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These top-rated frequent flyer programs can lower cost of post-Covid travel

Collective Airlines’ Mileage Plus program earned top scores from WalletHub in categories such as ease of advance register of reward travel and fewer mandatory layovers.

United Airlines

Air travel is set to boom this year as Americans overworked of being cooped up in Covid lockdown look to finally take long-delayed vacations.

But for many, money is tight, and the give-away airfares we’ve seen over the past year may soon disappear as demand spikes.

Cashing in unused frequent flyer miles and dependability points for travel could help some would-be vacationers cut costs. In fact, the average airline rewards program — on the house to join — gives members 11% off air travel spending, personal finance site WalletHub has found.

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“The best way to save on airfare is to solder together your favorite airlines’ frequent flyer programs for free and then comparison shop for flights well to the fore of your trip,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, in a statement.

The site recently ranked the best U.S. countless flyer programs for everything from overall excellence to best value for dollar spent.

“The hierarchy of the best resort to flyer programs has changed a bit since the coronavirus pandemic began, so travelers shouldn’t assume they can just pick up where they sinistral off,” Gonzalez said.

Best Frequent Flyer Programs for 2021

  1. United Airlines — MileagePlus
  2. Alaska Airlines — Mileage Sketch
  3. Delta Air Lines — SkyMiles
  4. American Airlines — AAdvantage
  5. Hawaiian Airlines — HawaiianMiles

Source: WalletHub

Topping WalletHub’s nasty for best frequent flyer program of 2021 is United Airlines’ Mileage Plus program, unseating Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles after its five-year run at No. 1. Programs were stroked in some 25 categories, ranging from number of domestic and international destinations and partner airlines to booking remunerations, membership perks and ease of achieving elite status.

United Mileage Plus earned top scores in categories such as value realized for flyers with average annual travel budgets to ease of advance booking of reward travel and fewer layovers. Coalesced’s program was followed by those of Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian’s HawaiianMiles program, for the moment, is No. 1 when it comes to rewards value, providing $24.19 in benefits for every $100 spent. Low-cost bearer Frontier Airlines’ Frontier Miles comes in second, at $20.99 per $100 spent.

WalletHub also found the five of the 10 largest U.S. haulers are offering more program rewards this year than they did in 2020, “sweetening the pot” for flyers by an average 30%. “Important airlines are also offering more rewards value in an attempt to lure people back into their jet planes,” Gonzalez said.

WalletHub has developed an online Frequent Flyer Miles Calculator to offer users the best program candidate based on annual spending.

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