Free flights and upgrades make travel rewards schemes awesome. The only problem? Some airlines aren't very flexible with them. They put limitations on when you can book reward travel, and that can be a huge let down. Here are the best and worst airlines for using travel rewards.
In its Switchfly Reward Seat Availability survey, IdeaWorks researched the availability of rewards flights for 25 different frequent flier programs. They made over 7000 queries on 280 specific dates for each airline. The percentage in the chart is the "availability rate", which represents the percentage of dates rewards travel was possible.
You can read more about their methodology here, but in the meantime, here's what they found. Here are the top 10 best airlines for travel rewards flexibility:
Note the two Australian airlines on the list. (On the Qantas front, it's not clear whether the research covered both the Classic Awards and Points Plus Pay schemes.) The good news is, airlines are improving overall:
The average for all airlines for 2010 was 66.1%, which increased to 74% this year. Second, global network airlines are improving their rankings for longhaul reward seat availability
To check out the full results, head to the link below.