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Business travel veterans - advice please

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Hello all!

Its looking like I am about to get a new position with my company which will involve travel to various company sites in the U.S.

I currently don't travel for my company and so, am not terribly familiar with our travel policies or how flexible they are for planning. I do know there is a little flexibility with hotel selection.

What I'd like to know from the road warriors out there is:

Is there an airline with a consensus 'best' frequent flyer' program?

What are some key things to look for in those plans?

Same questions for hotels too - is there a 'best' frequent stay program and what do you look for?

One specific thing - my wife and I generally prefer to take the 'big' vacations abroad - especially Europe - so I'm thinking it would be good to find an airline/hotel with benefits which extend to the continent.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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