While there are hundreds of airlines in the world, here is a quick summary and link to airline award charts for some of the most popular frequent flyer programs. Generally these can be broken down into the three major alliances: OneWorld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam.
US Airline Award Charts
If you are a US resident and frequent flyer the airline award charts you ought to care about most are the major US carriers. Here are the three (formerly 4 with US Airways) major international airlines based in the United States:
- United has by far the best frequent flyer program out of the US carriers when it comes to award travel. I’m currently planning a two week trip to Asia for only 65,000 miles a piece and most of that isn’t even on United metal (with partners like Singapore Air)
- The Delta Skymiles program is fantastic for earning miles but the redemption offers are fairly poor. Availability is often an issue when dealing with Delta and it’s SkyTeam partners.
- American Airlines (and it’s merger partner US Airways) are the middle ground for award redemption. It’s not as widely available as United MileagePlus awards are, but it definitely isn’t as tough to find award flights as Delta SkyMiles.
- One of the great things about the Alaska Airlines award chart and travel is that they have the added option of doing miles and dollars so even if you don’t have enough miles for a full trip you can pay half with miles and half with money.
- Similar to United, Hawaiian tends to have fairly good availability. The only downside is because they are mainly a Hawaiian carrier it is difficult to accrue miles unless you travel there often.
- Frontier’s frequent flyer program has undergone some changes over the past 10 years but generally it’s a middle-of-the-road award program.
U.S. Carriers without Award Charts
- Jetblue has a fixed point value around 1 cent per point. They have no blackout dates but also some round-trip tickets during high demand travel periods can be very costly from an award travel perspective.
- Another domestic carrier with a fixed point value, 100 Southwest Airlines RapidRewards points are generally worth $1 of travel. This is very similar to JetBlue’s TrueBlue program.
- Generally with the Virgin America Elevate program you can get 1.5-2 cents in rewards per point which is better than other fixed-mile programs like Southwest Rapid Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue.