Freddie Awards Wrap-Up
As noted last night, I was very fortunate to be one of 400 attendees at the Freddie Awards ceremony last night. Live-blogging, with a few glitches seemed to work ok on my phone.
Anyway, I wanted to take a quick minute to re-cap who a couple of the big winners were. Probably the biggest (and most surprising winner) was Air Baltic. Their BalticMiles program received awards for Best Redemption Ability, and Best Elite Program, within the Europe and Africa category. I totally called this and have a million miles with them–OK, really very few in the room had even heard of BalticMiles before. Even more impressive for AirBaltic, who is an offshoot from Scandanavian airline SAS, is that these were the very first awards they had ever received. Their representatives seemed genuinely excited to receive such a great honor, and it showed what these awards mean to some of the programs.
Another surprise winner was Marriott Rewards. Yes, the stay 75 nights to top-tier Marriott. Marriott received awards for Best Customer Service, Best Elite Program, Best Promotion for Redemption (PointSavers) and Program of the year, all in the Americas in addition to best Redemption Ability in Europe/Africa. I think this is largely due to the sheer size of Marriott’s footprint–I can think of very few places I have been without at least one Marriott property, which in turn attracts a large number of customers. In fact, I think their program is largely undervalued. Even for those who may reach close to 50 nights, I think there are a lot of benefits to be enjoyed…. Sounds like an upcoming post to me.
An additional shocker given it’s current financial state, was American Airlines taking the Airline Program of the Year in the Americas Award. As celebrity and host Robert Wuhl pointed out, American is also this year’s Chapter 11 award winner. If they were to merge with US Airways as rumored, it would be the Chapter 33 award!
Finally, the other big story of the night was how many awards Starwood Preferred Guest hogged took home. They were awarded Hotel Program of the Year in Europe/Africa, Best Promotion for Redemption (Starwood Preferred Guest Moments–Non stay experiences), Best Promotion for Earning (Getaway Free) in both the Americas and Europe/Africa, and Best Redemption Ability in the Americas.
I almost forgot, I was awarded the Freddie for best blogger–just kidding, but I did get to hold one!