Measuring loyalty programs separately from overall airline satisfaction for the first time, the market research company J.D. Power devised a 1,000-point scale rating the six largest U.S. carriers on four factors: earning/redeeming rewards, program benefits, account management, and member communication.
JetBlue's TrueBlue program came in first with a score of 800, narrowly beating out Alaska Airlines (at 796) and Southwest Airlines (793).
Next came Delta Air Lines (766), followed by its fellow members in the big three, American Airlines (729) and United Airlines (727).
Researchers found that when it comes to loyalty programs, a major factor in customer satisfaction is how members can earn and redeem rewards. We don't just want to gain miles for flights—we also like getting and using points for meals at restaurants, stays at hotels, and so on.
Overall, customers' favorite airline benefits for loyalty status are low-price guarantees and waived fees for same-day changes.