Note: for our airline loyalty programs comparison for European business travelers, click here.

When you’re busy traveling, you might not have the time to scour the internet for the best frequent flyer program in the US. The truth is, there isn’t one best program for everyone. There are actually seven great programs, and we’ve put together all of the finer details so you can easily review them and sign up for the one that works for you.

Want the quick answer to which one you should pick? Skim the “partner airlines” section for each program and see if the airlines you often fly with are included. If there’s some overlap with your top-trusted airlines, you can just take a look at the benefits of each and make your choice.

And remember, TravelPerk makes it easy to save loyalty program membership numbers for business travelers. This way, no matter who’s booking—your internal travel manager, administrative assistant or the traveler themselves—the business travelers will automatically collect their miles.

Here’s our airline rewards program comparison with all the top programs for US-based business travelers.

Airline Loyalty Programs Comparison

TrueBlue

With no blackout dates, a fair amount of partner airlines, and sweet bonuses in the upper tier, this rewards program from JetBlue is a fan favorite. Plus, if you’re a regular Lyft user (Lyft beats Uber on price and service in the Bay Area), then you’ll really be racking up those points quickly.

Partner Airlines:

  • JetBlue
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetSuiteX
  • Silver Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways

Top Partner Companies:

  • JetBlue credit cards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Lyft
  • Jet Options (points for taking surveys!)
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Marriott
  • Amazon (do your Amazon shopping on JetBlue’s wi-fi for bonus points)
  • Citi
  • IHG Rewards Club (there are 4,700 participating hotels in 100 companies)

Tiers & Benefits

You’ll be collecting 3 points for every dollar spent with JetBlue and their partners. If you travel often, the Mosaic level will give you priority boarding, free changes and cancellations, and free booze!

Tier NamesTrueBlueTrueBlue Mosaic
QualificationsFree15,000 flight points in one year
No blackout dates for spending points
Use points for any seat, any time
Points don’t expire
Pool points with your family
No change or cancellation fees
Icon close - x
1st and 2nd bag are freeIcon close - x
Icon Check / Yes
Expedited security lineIcon close - x
Icon Check / Yes
Early boardingIcon close - x
Icon Check / Yes
Get seats with extra legroom at reduced pricesIcon close - xIcon Check / Yes
Earn points on every flight3 points per dollar spent with JetBlue and partner airlines, plus bonus points when booking on jetblue.com (when on the Premium plan, your TravelPerk representative can do this for you to keep all travel spend trackable in one place)6 per dollar spent with JetBlue and partner airlines, plus get 15,000 bonus points after you qualify
Dedicated customer service line
Icon close - x
Icon Check / Yes
Complimentary alcoholic beverages onboardIcon close - x
Icon Check / Yes

Learn more about signing up for TrueBlue

Rapid Rewards

The Rapid Rewards program from Southwest Airlines won’t allow you to collect points from other airlines other than Southwest, but it does have partnerships with over 800 retailers in the US (including heavyweights like Macy’s, Home Depot and Sephora) as well as a dozen popular hotel chains.

Partner Airlines:

  • Southwest Airlines

Top Partner Companies:

  • Southwest Hotels
  • Best Western
  • Choice Hotels
  • La Quinta
  • World of Hyatt
  • MGM Resorts
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Avis
  • Hertz
  • Budget
  • Macy’s
  • Home Depot
  • Sephora

Tiers & Benefits

When you ascend the tiers, you get even more points for dollars spent and you get that much closer to the famed Companion Pass.

Tier Names Base A-List A-List Preferred
Qualifications Free Fly 25 qualifying one-way flights or earn 35,000 points in  a calendar year Fly 50 qualifying one-way flights or earn 70,000 points in  a calendar year
No blackout dates for spending points
No fee to change or cancel a flight purchased with rewards points
Earn points on every flight 12 points per dollar on Business Select flights. 10 points per dollar on Anytime flights. 6 points per dollar on Wanna Get Away? Flights 15 points per dollar on Business Select flights. 12.5 points per dollar on Anytime flights. 7.5 points per dollar on Wanna Get Away? Flights 24 points per dollar on Business Select flights. 20 points per dollar on Anytime flights. 12 points per dollar on Wanna Get Away? Flights
Priority boarding
Free same-day standby (get an earlier flight on the same day of your ticket)
Priority check-in
Priority security
Dedicated customer service

Companion Pass

We can’t talk about Rapid Rewards without mentioning the Companion Pass. If you qualify (fly 100 one-way flights or earn 110,000 points in a calendar year) then you get a Companion Pass for the remainder of that calendar year plus the entirety of the next calendar year. The Companion Pass allows you to bring another passenger with you on any flight and only pay the applicable taxes and fees (not the airline charges for the ticket). Pretty sweet deal for the business traveler who’s also a weekend warrior. You can also get a Companion Pass for all of 2019 when you sign up for a Southwest credit card and spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. If you fly Southwest with a “companion” a lot, it’s certainly worth looking into!

Learn more about signing up for Rapid Rewards

Mileage Plan

Alaska Airline’s rewards program, the Mileage Plan, has partnerships with global airlines, including many in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If your travel takes you out of the states often, then choosing a program with a lot of global partnerships is a smart move.

Partner Airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Japan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Latam Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Airfrance
  • KLM

Tiers & Benefits

With First Class and Premium upgrades on lots of fares, you’ll be sitting pretty if you earn MVP status.

Tier Names Mileage Plan MVP MVP Gold MVP Gold 75K
Qualifications Free In a single calendar year: 20,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines OR 25,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners OR 30 segments flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners In a single calendar year: 40,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines OR 50,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners OR 60 segments flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners In a single calendar year: 75,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines OR 90,000 miles flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners OR 90 segments flown on Alaska Airlines and elite-qualifying partners
Blackout dates Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply
Earning points 50% more bonus miles earned 100% more bonus miles earned 125% more bonus miles earned
First class upgrades at time of booking
(Alaska Airlines only)
Y, S, or Z fares Y, S, B, M, or Z fares Y, S, B, M, H or Z fares
Premium class upgrades at time of booking
(Alaska Airlines only)
Y, S, B, or Z fares Y, S, B, M, H, Q, L, V, N, K, or Z fares All fares except Saver fares
First or Premium Class upgrades on other fairs 48 hours before departure 72 hours before departure 120 hours before departure
Companion upgrades to First Class
(Alaska Airlines only)
Companion Upgrades to Premium Class
(Alaska Airlines only)
Complimentary premium beverage
(Alaska Airlines only)
Priority check-in and boarding
Two free checked bags
Preferred seating
Express security line
Standby and waitlist for full flights
No fees for changing tickets

Learn more about signing up for Mileage Plan

SkyMiles

This is the best fit for the traveler who flies in Europe just as often as the States! If your national carrier is likely to be Delta but you want global partners, then consider SkyMiles for your top-choice rewards program.

Partner Airlines:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • AeroMexico
  • AirFrance
  • Alitalia
  • China Eastern
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • AirEuropa
  • Kenya Airways
  • MEA
  • Saudia
  • Tarom
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • China Airlines
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • XiamenAir
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • WestJet

Top Partner Companies:

  • Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
  • Lyft
  • Airbnb
  • Marriott
  • Westin
  • Sheraton
  • InterContinental
  • Hertz
  • Enterprise
  • Apple
  • Macy’s
  • Nike

Tiers & Benefits

The coolest thing about the mass of tiers that the SkyMiles program offers is that you can rollover your MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) to the next calendar year, so if you have more than you needed to qualify, those extra MQMs rollover when it’s time to re-qualify for the next year. This makes it more likely that you’ll hit the higher tiers.

Another interesting element of this program is that in the two higher tiers, you choose your benefits.

Tier Names SkyMiles Silver Medallion Status Gold Medallion Status Platinum Medallion Status Diamond Medallion Status
Qualifications Free 25,000 MQMs 50,000 MQMs 75,000 MQMs 125,000 MQMs
No blackout dates for Delta Airlines
Blackout dates for partner airlines Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply
Earning points 5 miles spent for each $1 on Delta flights 7 miles spent for each $1 on Delta flights 8 miles spent for each $1 on Delta flights 9 miles spent for each $1 on Delta flights 11 miles spent for each $1 on Delta flights
Rollover MQMs Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Choice Benefits Options:Upgrade certificates, Global Entry Application Voucher, Delta Sky Club Access, Bonus Miles, $200 Travel Voucher Choose 1 “Choice Benefits” Choose 3 “Choice Benefits”
Unlimited Complimentary US Delta One Upgrades (except E fares) Day of Departure Day of Departure Day of Departure Day of Departure
Unlimited Complimentary First Class Upgrades (except E fares) Availability begins 1 day prior to departure Availability begins 3 days prior to departure Availability begins 5 days prior to departure Availability begins 5 days prior to departure (with priority over Platinum members)
Complimentary Preferred Seats
Priority Waitlist Status
Dedicated Phone Line
Priority Check In
Priority Boarding
Priority Security Line
SkyTeam Lounge Access

Learn more about signing up for SkyMiles

AAdvantage

With a long list of partner airlines, the AAdvantage program from American Airlines is a great option for the global traveler. Note that there are less European airlines here than the SkyMiles program. With the highest number of participating retailers (950 to be exact) this card lets shoppers rack up miles.

Partner Airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • Finnair
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • Cape Air
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Interjet
  • Jet Airways

Top Partner Companies

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card
  • Marriott
  • Holiday Inn
  • Avis
  • Hertz
  • Budget
  • QVC
  • Staples
  • Banana Republic
  • Kohl’s
  • Bergdorf Goodman

Tiers & Benefits

To move up the tiers, you need EQMs, which aren’t exact miles but are a percentage of the miles flown. You can learn how to calculate EQMs here.

Tier Names AAdvantage Gold Platinum Platinum Pro Executive Platinum
Qualifications Free 25,000 EQMs or 30 segments in a calendar year 50,000 EQMs or 60 segments in a calendar year 75,000 EQMs or 90 segments in a calendar year 100,000 EQMs or 120 segments in a calendar year
No blackout dates for American Airlines
Blackout dates for partner airlines Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply
Earning points 5 miles for every dollar 7 miles for every dollar 8 miles for every dollar 9 miles for every dollar 11 miles for every dollar
Complimentary Auto-Requested Upgrades Available on flights 500 miles or less, 1 day prior to departure Available on any flight 2 days prior to departure Available on any flight 3 days prior to departure Available on any flight 4 days prior to departure
Free checked bags for each flight 1 2 2 3
Complimentary Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats At Check-in At booking At booking At booking

Learn more about signing up for AAdvantage

MileagePlus

As part of the Star Alliance, United Airlines offers MileagePlus members the ability to collect miles from over 35 other airlines. Since United Airlines flies almost everywhere in the US (more than most other US companies), this is a great option for the States-bound traveler who also flies internationally. There are also 900+ retailers to collect 1 mile per dollar spent.

Partner Airlines:

  • United Airlines
  • Adria
  • Aegean
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • CopaAirlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Eva Air
  • Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss Airlines
  • AirPortugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromar
  • AirDolomiti
  • Azul
  • Boutique Air
  • Cape Air
  • Edelweiss
  • Eurowings
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Olympic Air
  • Silver Airways

Top Partnering Companies

  • Several Chase Credit Cards
  • Le Club AccorHotels
  • Groupon
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • New Balance
  • Elizabeth Arden
  • Zales
  • CVS

Tiers & Benefits

Tiers are based on Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs), which are simply the number of qualifying miles flown, and not a complex percentage calculation as with the AAdvantage program.

Tier Names Mileage Plus Premier Silver Premier Gold Premier Platinum Premier 1k
Qualifications 25,000 miles or 30 segments 50,000 miles or 60 segments 75,000 miles or 90 segments 100,000 miles or 120 segments
No blackout dates Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply Some blackout dates apply
Earning points 7 miles for every dollar spent 8 miles for every dollar spent 9 miles for every dollar spent 11 miles for every dollar spent
Complimentary access to Economy Plus At check-in At booking At booking At booking
Complimentary access to Preferred Seating At booking At booking At booking At booking
Complimentary Premier Upgrades Available on the day of departure Available 2 days prior to departure Available 3 days prior to departure Available 4 days prior to departure
Instant Upgrades on Y- or B-class full-fare economy tickets
Instant Upgrades on M-class full-fare economy tickets
Priority waitlist and standby
Priority check-in
Priority security access
Priority boarding
International lounge access
Complimentary checked bags 1 2 3 3

Learn more about signing up for MileagePlus

HawaiianMiles

This program is great for Pacific Coast or Hawaiian-located travelers who fly often from the islands to the mainland or from either place to Asia. With their signature motto “a mile flown is a mile earned,” we’ll leave it to you to guess how you earn miles. 😉

Partner Airlines:

  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • China Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Korean Air
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

Top Partner Companies:

  • Hilton
  • Wyndham
  • Marriott
  • Hyatt Aston
  • IHG
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Payless Car Rental
  • Old Navy
  • Papa John’s
  • 76

Tiers & Benefits

The higher tiers are some of the easier ones to access versus other plans. Fly round-trip between SFO and HNL four times in one year and you’ll almost reach Pualani Gold. A few partner hotel stays should get you to the 20,000 mile requirement.

Tier Names HawaiianMiles Pualani Gold Pualani Platinum
Qualifications Fly 30 segments or 20,000 miles in a calendar year Fly 60 segments or 40,000 miles in a calendar year
No blackout dates
Earning miles Earn 1 mile for every mile flown (ex: Honolulu to Hilo gives you 216 miles each way, while Honolulu to San Francisco gives you 2,397 miles each way regardless of your ticket price)
More seats available for selection
First Class check-In
Premier Club Access (Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului, Lihue)
Priority Security Lines (in select airports)
Complimentary checked bags 2 3
Earn 500 HawaiianMiles on any Neighbor Island flight
Neighbor Island Same Day Standby for an earlier flight with no additional fee
Complimentary First Class Upgrade based on availability 50% discount
Complimentary Preferred Seat Upgrade based on availability

Learn more about signing up for HawaiianMiles

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