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Best Travel Rewards Programs

How We Picked the Best Travel Rewards Programs

Airlines and hotels can shower you with reasons to join their loyalty programs. Priority seating and luxury room upgrades set high expectations. But if you're an infrequent traveler, the reality could be that you'll be "upgraded" from Seating Zone 5 to Seating Zone 4 or provided with a complimentary bottle of water in your hotel room. On the other hand, if you travel often enough — or if you use a credit card that lets you earn travel points on everyday purchases — joining a loyalty program could provide meaningful upgrades and allow you to fly for free or stay for free on a regular basis. So how do you figure out which travel rewards programs truly pay out?

To identify the best hotel loyalty and frequent flyer programs, U.S. News Travel created a methodology that addresses two of the most important aspects of any program: How easy is it to earn and redeem rewards, and how much flexibility and choice the program offers.

Our Best Airline Rewards and Best Hotel Rewards rankings evaluate each loyalty program based on key factors such as the size of the airline or hotel network and how quickly you can accumulate enough miles or points to earn a free flight or stay. Our rankings also take into account the different ways you can use rewards and the additional benefits you receive as a member.

To find out which travel rewards programs topped our rankings, click on the options above. To learn more about how we compiled our rankings, visit our methodology page.