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The Traveler's Choice

Published: 04/12/2017 - Filed under: Home » Archive » » December 2017/January 2018 » Special Reports »

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It’s been nearly three decades since the Best in Business Travel Awards were first presented, and in that time, the business of business travel has undergone seismic changes.  Companies have come and gone, to be sure; but more than the usual ebb and flow of competition, revolutionary technologies have emerged that have brought entirely new ways of thinking about and experiencing travel.

However, through all the transformation, Business Traveler readers have always chosen their favorite travel providers based on timeless qualities of service and value. That’s because these are products and services frequent business travelers must depend on every day to enable and empower their journeys.  

Nobody else in the world knows the business of travel better that the readers of Business Traveler, so who better to identify the best of the best?  From the begnning, the Best in Business Travel Awards have relied on the votes of you, our readers, to select which companies rise to the top, offering the best products in a wide range of travel settings – different regions of the world, different types of travel providers, different classes of service. 

Every nominee came from your picks – every vote was a write-in candidate, no travel provider was pre-selected, and the magazine staff took no part determining which companies were named the winners in any category.  So these truly are our readers’ choices, voted by you and presented to honor excellence in the travel services industry.

This year’s awards name 29 different travel providers in 42 different categories, including the best airlines and the best business hotel chains both by regions and worldwide, as well as luxury and boutique brands.  The awards also recognize readers’ choices in such categories as car rental companies, airports and loyalty programs, plus the top picks for duty free shopping and meetings and events. 

For 2017 the awards have been classified in seven groups: Best Airlines by Region, Best Air Travel Experience, Best Hotel Experience, Best Hotel by Region, Best Loyalty Programs, Best Connections on the Ground and the Best in Global Travel.  Here’s a rundown of those groupings and what the awards mean in each:

Best Airlines by Region 

Certain airlines around the world stand out in their particular geographic areas thanks to their long history and cultural connections.  The Best in Business Travel award winners in this group are those carriers who offer the best combination of value and service in seven major global regions: North America, South America/Latin America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.  The category also includes the top airline in North America for international travel. 

Best Air Travel Experience 

For business travelers, the quality of their trips are measured from end-to-end, from their initial contact with the airline to their arrival at the final destination. So when looking at the overall air travel experience, they judge such factors as groundside support, inflight service, cuisine, amenities, as well as aircraft layout, seating and space. Our readers recognize this group of airlines for consistently providing the best overall air travel experience. It includes the best in business class broken out by regions, the best transoceanic services, plus the top air travel experience in North America. 


Best Hotel Experience

Today’s hotel industry offers new brands, innovative design concepts and revolutionary business models.  But for the business traveler, above everything else it’s all about the experience. With more choices than ever, travelers can find a hotel stay that fits their lifestyle, their business objectives and even their mood. However no matter the décor or technology, the characteristics that stand out for our readers will always be superior service, value, comfort and attention to detail that mark excellence in this group of award winners.

This group represents a wide range of hotel offerings, including luxury brands and boutique hotels, and chains with a business focus. 


Best Hotel by Region

Hospitality is a universal concept, but it’s reflected differently in different cultures and in diverse parts of the world.  So too our Best in Business Travel Awards honor hoteliers across different regions, a recognition by our readers that gracious hospitality may take many distinctive forms depending on where in the world they are, but it speaks a common language – “Welcome!”

This group honors award winners in five regions – North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.


Best Loyalty Programs

To attract and reward frequent customers, travel companies have long recognized the value of loyalty programs. In turn, frequent travelers evaluate these reward programs based on their accessibility, ease of use and great earn-and-burn options.  The award winners in this category are those programs which, year after year, our readers vote as being the most rewarding, offering the most desirable premiums and the greatest flexibility.


Best Connections on the Ground  

Ultimately the aim of any business trip is to get where you’re going to accomplish your mission. Sometimes that means making the next flight; when that’s the case, you want that connection to be as effortless and agreeable as possible – that’s where award-winning airports with top-shelf shopping can make life on the road a lot easier. Once you arrive at your final destination no matter where it is in the world, you want that rental car experience to be smooth.  And when the end goal is a major conference or event, the host city needs to offer an award-winning lineup of exciting venues and attractions.  


Best in Global Travel 

Reaching across the world, the winners of our awards in the Best in Global Travel group are those airlines and alliances which deliver the best air travel experience.  The awards are broken out by class of service – from economy to first – as well as particular areas that add value to air travel such as exceptional customer service and the finest inflight cuisine.  

Based on considerations such as levels of service, route structures, convenience and comfort, these are the industry leaders our readers pick to be the best worldwide at what they do.


Best in Global Travel

Best Overall Airline in the World

Singapore Airlines 


Best Airline in the World for International Travel

Qatar Airways 


Best Airline Alliance



Best First Class Service in the World

Etihad Airways 


Best Business Class Service in the World

Qatar Airways 


Best Premium Economy Class in the World



Best Economy Class Service in the World

Singapore Airlines 


Best Airline Cuisine in Business Class

Turkish Airlines 


Best Overall Inflight Experience in the World

Asiana Airlines 


Airlines with Best Overall Customer Service

Asiana Airlines 


Best Airlines By Region

Best North American Airline for International Travel

Air Canada 


Best Airline for North American Travel



Best Airline in South/Latin America



Best Airline in Western Europe

British Airways 


Best Airline in Eastern Europe

Turkish Airlines  


Best Airline in Africa

South African Airways


Best Airline in the Middle East

Etihad Airways 


Best Airline in Asia

China Southern 


Best Air Travel Experience

Best North American Airline for Business Class Service

Delta Air Lines 


Best North American Airline for Inflight Experience

Air Canada 


Best Airlines for Transatlantic Service

Virgin Atlantic 


Best Airline for Transpacific Service

Singapore Airlines 


Best Business Class to South/Latin America



Best Business Class to the Middle East

Qatar Airways 


Best Business Class to Africa

South African Airways 


Best Business Class to Asia

Singapore Airlines 


Best Business Class to Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific



Best Hotel Experience

Best Business Hotel Chain in the World

Hilton Hotels & Resorts 

Best Luxury Hotel Chain

Ritz Carlton 


Best Boutique Hotel Chain

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 


Best Hotels By Regions

Best Business Hotel Chain in North America



Best Business Hotel Chain in South/Latin America

Sol Melia 


Best Business Hotel Chain in Europe

Hilton Hotels & Resorts 


Best Business Hotel Chain in the Middle East

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts 


Best Business Hotel Chain in Asia

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts 


Best Loyalty Program

Best Frequent-Flier Program

Delta Sky Miles 


Best Hotel Loyalty Program

Marriott Rewards 


Best Connections on the Ground

Best Airport in the World

Singapore Changi Airport 


Airport With Best Duty-Free Shopping

Incheon International Airport 


Best Car Rental Company in North America

National Car Rental 


Best Car Rental Company in the World



Best International Business Meetings Destination


By Dan Booth




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