Sometimes it's nice to know that a company you've been loyal to has earned accolades from industry insiders. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program was recently named program of the year at the 2017 Freddie Awards. This is an impressive achievement because the awards are voted on by 4.2 million travel enthusiasts, frequent travelers and customers.

There's no doubt that perks like free bags for all passengers, transparent fees, waived change fees and on-demand entertainment access for personal devices contributed to the airline's high scores among voters. The biggest award of the night wasn't the only honor the Rapid Rewards program took home at the 29th Freddie Awards in April. The airline also walked away with a collection of awards to reflect its amazing performance with customers.

What Are The Freddie Awards?

The Freddie Awards have been recognizing excellence among loyalty programs in the travel industry since 1988. The Freddie Awards are notable because they rely on votes from actual passengers and customers to determine the winners. The 2017 Freddie Awards took place in Jersey City on April 27.

The awards are becoming increasingly significant as major airlines posture themselves to offer the best perks to customers. In fact, loyalty programs were not nearly as competitive as they are today when the ceremony began decades ago.

The awards offer a great way for customers to measure airline loyalty programs because they are based on the real opinions of actual travelers. The Freddie Awards offer an honest glimpse into airline loyalty programs that cuts through the clutter of marketing campaigns and short-term deals.

Southwest Airlines Took Home Several Freddie Awards

Being named the best overall program was just the beginning for the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. Southwest Rapid Rewards also won the category for having the best loyalty credit card. This won't come as a surprise to customers who have already used to earn points and perks. The card pampers customers with opportunities to earn a limited time offer of 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of being a cardholder. In addition, cardholders receive 6,000 bonus points as an anniversary gift each year.

Southwest Rapid Rewards also took home the award for best airline redemption ability. This is quite a distinction to earn in a market where every airline is posturing to make its points as valuable as possible to travelers.

The final award that the customer-centric Southwest Rapid Rewards walked away with was in the category of best customer service. What's notable is that this is actually the fifth consecutive year that Southwest's loyalty program has snagged the award. This award seems to be proof that Southwest is making serious effort to sustain the personal side of booking travel as technology makes customers more reliant on using online platforms and mobile apps to purchase tickets, convert points or address issues.

The airline's ability to keep customers satisfied is even more impressive when you consider that it is actually the nation's largest carrier based on how many originating domestic passengers board Southwest flights each year.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: