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Here are the best hotel and airline rewards programs of 2019

U.S. News & World Report released its annual ranking of the best travel rewards programs for hotels and airlines.

U.S. News & World Report has released its ranking of the best travel rewards programs, and Marriott and Alaska Airlines top the list.

The Marriott Bonvoy (formerly Marriott Rewards) program came in first place for the third year running, while Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan was the best airline program for the fifth consecutive year.

"Choosing among the countless travel rewards options available can seem like a challenge, but the financial benefits outweigh this potential drawback," Christine Smith, travel editor at U.S. News & World Report, said in a statement. "The top-ranked rewards programs offer all travelers the opportunity to earn valuable rewards by simply signing up for a program and taking a trip."

TheMarriott Bonvoy program's key feature is its large network of hotels in popular vacation destinations across the United States, Asia and Europe. Members can also earn rewards points when staying at affiliate brands like St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton hotels.

Fire in the sky
Sorting through endless travel rewards programs can seem overwhelming, "but the financial benefits outweigh this potential drawback," U.S. News and World Report travel editor Christine Smith said. Getty Images stock

Wyndham Rewards, which allows members to qualify for a free night's stay faster than other chains, and the World of Hyatt program, which offers low redemption requirements, also got high marks.

Among airlines, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan ranked favorably because of its high award choice availability and large network of flight to popular destinations. Passengers can also earn and redeem miles on Alaska's eighteen partner airlines, which include Emirates and American Airlines. Points can also be used on stays with partnering hotels, magazine subscriptions or charitable donations.

Delta SkyMiles came in in second place for the third straight year. Lots of benefits, a large network of flight destinations, and a high volume of daily flights kept it popular among travelers.

Best Hotel Reward Programs for 2019-2020

  1. Marriott Bonvoy

  2. Wyndham Rewards

  3. World of Hyatt

  4. Choice Privileges

  5. Best Western Rewards

  6. IHG Rewards Club

  7. Radisson Rewards

  8. Invited (Small Luxury Hotels of the World)

  9. Sonesta Travel Pass

  10. Hilton Honors

  11. Stash Hotel Rewards

  12. Leaders Club

  13. Omni Select Guest

  14. Le Club AccorHotels

  15. I Prefer Hotel Rewards

Best Airline Rewards Programs for 2019-2020

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

  2. Delta SkyMiles

  3. JetBlue TrueBlue

  4. United MileagePlus

  5. American Airlines AAdvantage

  6. Southwest Rapid Rewards

  7. Frontier Miles

  8. HawaiianMiles

  9. Free Spirit