Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

United’s MileagePlus Rated the World’s Best Airline Loyalty Program

With a wide range of ways to redeem points, huge number of global destinations, and generous business class legroom, MileagePlus has been ranked as the best frequent flyer scheme in the world

by Fergus Cole

June 2, 2023

Photo: United Airlines. Courtesy of Denver International Airport.

United’s MileagePlus frequent flyer program has been recognized as the top airline loyalty scheme in a recently released list by a leading business travel management firm.

Good Travel Management, a U.K.-based business travel management company, analyzed various data points from airline loyalty schemes, from average monthly Google searches and points expiry time ranges to airport lounge reviews and the total number of destinations served.

Amid the backdrop of rapidly rebounding demand for air travel across the globe, which has seen around 47% more air passengers in 2022 compared to 2021, Good Travel Management has analyzed frequent flyer programs from airlines around the world to see what kind of perks and benefits they are offering their customers to entice them back to travel with them.

A total of 59 loyalty schemes were analyzed, with each program being given a score out of 10 based on the data provided.

With a total score of 7.85 out of 10, United’s MileagePlus scheme was rated as the best of the lot, with particular praise for its wide range of options for redeeming miles, its lack of expiry dates on loyalty points, the number of destinations the airline serves (342), and its generous legroom on long-haul business class flights.

Photo: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Vancouver. Courtesy of Air Canada.

MileagePlus was followed in second place by Air Canada‘s Aeroplan, which has recently partnered with Uber to allow passengers to earn points on Uber and Uber Eats purchases. The Aeroplan program also had more than 368,000 Google searches per month, one of the highest of any airline loyalty scheme. At the same time, the carrier was also praised for positive public reviews of its airport lounges.

Coming in third place was Turkish Airlines’ Miles & Smiles, which received the best score for its lounge reviews, although it dropped points due to its relative lack of legroom and its loyalty points expiring after only 36 months.

Here are the top ten airline loyalty schemes in the world, according to Good Travel Management:

Ranking Airline Loyalty Scheme Score
1 United Airlines MileagePlus 7.85
2 Air Canada Aeroplan 6.53
3 Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles 6.23
4 American Airlines AAdvantage 6.15
5 Lufthansa Miles & More 5.82
6 China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles 5.3
7 Air China/Shenzhen Airlines/Shandong Airlines/Air Macau/Beijing Airlines PhonixMiles 5.03
8 British Airways Executive Club 5.01
9 British Airways/Iberia/Aer Lingus/Vueling IAG Avios 4.98
10 Delta Air Lines Skymiles 4.71

“It is positive to see the travel industry starting to recover from the impact of the global pandemic and interesting to observe what airlines are offering to entice more members to join their loyalty schemes,” said Richard Quelch, Group CMO of Good Travel Management.

“We hope to see lots of exciting innovations and extras added to these programs in the coming months, which will hopefully make flying even more memorable and pleasurable for travelers, whether they are on a business trip or heading off on vacation.”