The prestigious U.S. News & World Report was released on Tuesday, and Alaska Air can once again be found sitting atop the “Best Airline Rewards Program” category. The company’s Alaska Air Mileage Plan was judged based on the report’s six criteria: ease of earning free round-trip flights, added benefits, network coverage, flight volume, availability of award flights, and airline quality.
The program provides a huge benefit both for customers and for the brand; Alaska Airlines spokesperson Ann Zaninovich tells Loyalty360 that happy customers lead to continued brand growth.
“Our program reinforces brand loyalty and helps us to attract, retain and grow our relationship with good customers,” said Zaninovich. “It also provides us with data that allows us to know our customers better and to more appropriately recognize and reward them for their business. We know that Mileage Plan members fly more with us, and our research tells us that they are also more satisfied customers who are more likely to recommend us. Over time, we've grown into a program that offers relevant rewards for the occasional flier as well as a suite of convenient and valued benefits for those who travel most.”
The switch from mile-based to price-based incentives has been a hot topic in recent months, and Alaska Airlines has distinguished itself as a company that continues to take the more customer-friendly route of award points based on distance flown. Zaninovich also notes that the program’s value extends beyond just the flying experience, telling us, “Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can earn miles on Alaska’s 17 global partner airlines to more than 800 destinations around the world, as well as on car rentals, hotel stays, everyday purchases and with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card.”
The power of the mobile platform can’t be overstated: companies know that smartphones may be the single best way to engage travelers, and a robust mobile presence is key to any successful loyalty offering. Zaninovich says that Alaska Airlines has taken this to heart. “Customers are able to redeem travel rewards and book reward travel on our award-winning app,” she notes, further emphasizing the brand’s commitment to creating a top-tier customer experience, both in and out of the airport.
Winning consecutive top rankings in the U.S. News & World report is undoubtedly an impressive accomplishment. Considering the mindset and continued drive to create a unique program, however, it seems as though Alaska Airlines is already setting their sights on a three-peat in 2017. 

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