The Best in Business Travel Awards are celebrating 32 years of honoring the star performers in the industry, making it one of the longest-running readers’ choice awards in travel. In years past, these awards have generally been a reflection of steady, incremental improvements that the industry’s leaders have developed – innovative products, added routes, new thinking in service levels and technology, all the steps that travel providers take to make life on the road easier for you, the readers of Business Traveler.  

In many ways, 2020 has been a year like no other. The challenges of COVID-19 have caused wrenching changes throughout the travel industry. The weight of cross-border bans, countrywide lockdowns and pure fear that crushed global travel at the beginning of March continues now and into the foreseeable future. This has left our readers with a dilemma: When I cast my vote for the Best in Business Travel, do I choose those providers who were doing a great job before the pandemic, or the ones who have really picked up the ball since?

However, the present circumstances are not so very different from crises in the past, and the way the top performers are responding is much as they always have responded to challenges. In fact, there’s no better time for the stars of travel to shine than when they are put to the test. When the gauntlet is thrown down, it’s these industry leaders who pick it up and respond with creativity and drive. That’s the hallmark of the Best in Business Travel Award winners.

And that’s the kind of innovative thinking we find throughout this year’s selections. As always, the categories include the best in class in global travel, the best airlines and business hotel chains by regions, as well as the best meetings destinations, car rental, leisure experiences, services and products. A total of 54 categories in all – representing an increase of eight new categories over last year’s awards. We see this broadening interest as good omen for the future of travel, as more of our readers explore ways to enrich their travel experiences. Again this year, the lists include the top three vote-getters in each category, highlighting both winners and finalists.

Since 1988, Business Traveler has been asking our readers to cast their votes for who does travel better than anybody else in the world. Today, in a year of almost unimaginable tumult, the 2020 Best in Business Travel Awards are sounding a powerful note of confidence in the future of this industry, and in the ability of its leading companies to rise above all the challenges and changes this crisis – or any other – can produce, and provide the best of the best the world of travel has to offer.


AIRLINES 

BEST IN GLOBAL TRAVEL
Best Overall Airline in the World
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Qatar Airways
Emirates

Best Airline in the World for International Travel
Winner
Etihad Airways

Finalists
Singapore Airlines
Delta Air Lines

Best Airline Alliance
Winner
oneworld

Finalists
Star Alliance
SkyTeam

Airline with Best First Class Service in the World
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Emirates
Etihad Airways

Airline with Best Business Class Service in the World
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Qatar Airways
Emirates

Airline with Best Premium Economy Service in the World
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Cathay Pacific Airways
Air Canada

Airline with Best Economy Class Service in the World
Winner
Delta Air Lines

Finalists
Singapore Airlines
Turkish Airlines

Best Airline Cuisine in Business Class
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
Qatar Airways

Best Overall Inflight Experience in the World
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
Qatar Airways

Airline with Best Overall Customer Service
Winner
Delta Air Lines

Finalists
Singapore Airlines
Southwest Airlines

Best Airline Corporate Program
Winner
Turkish Airlines

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
Alaska Airlines/Virgin America

Best Airlines By Region
Best North American Airline for International Travel
Winner
Air Canada

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
United Airlines

Best Airline for North American Travel
Winner
JetBlue

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
Alaska Airlines/Virgin America

Best Airline in Africa
Winner
Ethiopian Airlines

Finalists
South African Airways
Kenya Airways

Best Airline in Asia
Winner
Cathay Pacific Airways

Finalists
Singapore Airlines
EVA Air

Best Airline in the Middle East
Winner
Emirates

Finalists
Qatar Airways
Etihad Airways

Best Airline in South/Latin America
Winner
LATAM

Finalists
Avianca
Aerolineas Argentinas

Best Airline in Western Europe
Winner
British Airways

Finalists
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Lufthansa

Best Airline in Central & Eastern Europe
Winner
LOT Polish Airlines

Finalists
Turkish Airlines
Lufthansa

BEST AIR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Best North American Airline for Business Class Service
Winner
United Airlines

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
American Airlines

Best North American Airline for Premium Economy Service
Winner
Delta Air Lines

Finalists
United Airlines
American Airlines

Best Business Class to Africa
Winner
South African Airways

Finalists
Qatar Airways
Turkish Airlines

Best Business Class to Asia
Winner
Singapore Airlines

Finalists
Cathay Pacific Airways
Korean Air

Best Business Class to Western Europe
Winner
British Airways

Finalists
Lufthansa
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Best Business Class to Central and Eastern Europe
Winner
Lufthansa

Finalists
Turkish Airlines
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Best Business Class to the Middle East
Winner
Emirates

Finalists
Qatar Airways
Etihad Airways

Best Business Class to South/Latin America
Winner
LATAM

Finalists
Delta Air Lines
COPA Panama

Best Business Class to Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific
Winner
Qantas

Finalists
Air New Zealand
Singapore Airlines

Best North American Airline for Inflight Experience
Winner
Air Canada

Finalists
JetBlue
Delta Air Lines

Best Airline for Transpacific Service
Winner
Cathay Pacific Airways

Finalists
Singapore Airlines
ANA (All Nippon Airways)

Best Airlines for Transatlantic Service
Winner
British Airways

Finalists
Virgin Atlantic
Lufthansa


HOTELS

BEST HOTEL EXPERIENCE

Best Luxury Hotel Brand
Winner
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Finalists
The Ritz-Carlton
The Peninsula Hotels

Best Boutique Hotel Brand
Winner
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Finalists
Autograph Collection Hotels
Leading Hotels of the World

Best Business Hotel Brand in the World
Winner
Marriott International

Finalists
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
IHG

BEST HOTELS BY REGION
Best Business Hotel Brand in Asia
Winner
Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Finalists
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
The Peninsula Hotels

Best Business Hotel Brand in Europe
Winner
Hilton Hotels and Resorts

Finalists
Marriott International
IHG

Best Business Hotel Brand in the Middle East
Winner
Jumeirah Group

Finalists
Marriott International
Hyatt

Best Business Hotel Brand in North America
Winner
Marriott International

Finalists
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Hyatt

Best Business Hotel Brand in South/Latin America
Winner
Marriott International

Finalists
Hyatt
IHG


LOYALTY

BEST LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Best Frequent Flyer Program
Winner
Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles

Finalists
United Airlines – MileagePlus
Southwest – Rapid Rewards

Best Hotel Loyalty Program
Winner
Marriott Bonvoy

Finalists
Hilton Honors
World of Hyatt

Best Credit Card Rewards Program
Winner
American Express

Finalist
Capital One


ON THE GROUND

BEST CONNECTIONS ON THE GROUND
Best US Meeting Destination
Winner
Las Vegas

Finalists
New York City
San Diego

Best International Meeting Destination
Winner
Seoul

Finalists
London
Paris

Best Airport in the World
Winner
Singapore Changi (SIN)

Finalists
Seoul Incheon International (ICN)
Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

Airport with Best Duty-Free Shopping
Winner
Seoul Incheon International (ICN)

Finalists
Dubai International (DXB)
Singapore Changi (SIN)

Best Car Rental Company in North America
Winner
National

Finalists
Hertz
Avis

Best Car Rental Company in the World
Winner
Hertz

Finalists
Enterprise
Sixt

Best Credit Card
Winner
American Express

Finalists
Chase Sapphire
Visa

Best Travel App
Winner
Trip Advisor

Finalists
Expedia
Kayak

Best Luggage Brand
Winner
Tumi

Finalists
Travel Pro
Briggs & Riley


LEISURE

BEST LEISURE EXPERIENCES
Best Luxury Cruise Line
Winner
Celebrity Cruises

Finalists
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Crystal Cruises

Best Luxury Resort
Winner
The Brando (Tahiti)

Finalists
Two Farms (Vermont)
Four Seasons (Maldives)

Best Golf Resort
Winner
Pebble Beach Golf Resort (US)

Finalists
Cape Wickham Links (Tasmania)
Bandon Dunes / Trails Resort (US)

Lets Go There
Best in Business Travel Award Winners provide vital leadership in the effort to inspire America’s travelers

The US Travel Association and an industrywide collaboration of 75 travel companies have launched a major advertising campaign, Let’s Go There. The campaign is designed to encourage Americans to dream about, plan for and – eventually – return to traveling for both business and pleasure.

It’s no coincidence that among the participants in the coalition are over a dozen winners or finalists in the 2020 Best of Business Travel Awards; it highlights once again the importance of the leadership, innovation and creative thinking these organizations bring, not only to their own businesses, but to the travel community globally. Let’s Go There Coalition supporting organizations that have also been recognized by Business Traveler readers in this year’s awards include:
• American Airlines
• American Express
• Chase
• Delta Air Lines
• Enterprise
• Expedia
• Hilton Hotels and Resorts
• Hyatt
• IHG Hotels and Resorts
• JetBlue
• Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
• Marriott International
• Marriott Bonvoy
• United Airlines
• Visa

These travel industry stars are joined by other leading companies such as Disney, Pepsico, Google, Amazon and Sabre, organizations like the US Chamber of Commerce, Brand USA, the American Society of Travel Advisors and Airlines for America, and dozens of city and state convention and tourism authorities.

Restoring Optimism 
The Let’s Go There campaign is based on recent research that shows people gain an emotional benefit when they plan travel, or even when they just think about future trips. The poll conducted by Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, found 97 percent of respondents said that having a trip planned makes them happier, while 71 percent said they felt greater levels of energy when they had a trip planned in the next six months.

Indeed, despite the pandemic, there are early signs that travelers are beginning to feel confident about traveling again. Inmarsat’s recent ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ survey of 9,500 airline passengers found that nearly half of those polled worldwide (47 percent) say they expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months. Among US travelers, that number jumps to 60 percent. Perhaps more telling, the percentage of Americans who say they won’t fly again until there’s a vaccine falls to just 8 percent.

The message is clear: Americans are looking forward to getting back on the road. So the aim of the Let’s Go There campaign is to encourage travelers to go ahead and make their plans to travel now, and through that endeavor, to lift spirits and take the first steps toward restoring optimism – both about travel and about the future. Then as the momentum builds, travelers and would-be travelers can be confident that the industry is prepared to welcome them back.

The Let’s Go There Coalition spans practically every segment of the American travel industry. These leaders recognized the need to come together "as colleagues, not competitors," with a united message, says Roger Dow, CEO of US Travel.

The organizations have come together to address the precipitous drop in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, initially with a safety-first message in the #TravelConfidently campaign. Now the time has come to reinvigorate travel and renew the sense of adventure and discovery that only travel can deliver.

The direct consumer campaign will include digital, broadcast, video and social platforms, as well as providing campaign-themed material for distribution by individual industry organizations across their own channels.

The message of Let’s Go There will:
• Trigger the emotional connection to travel that Americans are missing and inspire them to look forward again to the joy of travel
• Remind Americans of the restorative power of optimism and anticipation of travel
• Encourage Americans to take the first step and make travel plans
• Take an active role in the country’s recovery.

“There is pleasure in planning travel, and when the moment is right, the industry is committed to being well-prepared for the safe return of travelers,” Dow says. “When it's time for you, we'll be ready.”