A commitment to producing quality products and services is a prerequisite to a company’s developing a strong position and competitive advantage. Premium quality is all the more important when a company enters international markets. ISO certification, which is earned without a great deal of difficulty, is the most common confirmation of high quality. Companies which represent superior quality standards may apply for the distinctions and prizes awarded by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), the most prestigious one being the European Quality Award. EFQM’s recognition leads to a number of benefits, including increased customer satisfaction, increased sales volume and profitability, an improved corporate image, greater confidence in company operations and cost reductions. EFQM’s distinctions and awards are also effective tools for promoting companies and creating a positive image. Also, the application process itself is beneficial for the company, as it becomes acquainted with quality management and TQM policy implementation procedures, enabling the company to evaluate the actual status of its quality management systems. The paper describes the major policies adopted by the European Quality Award and its Polish counterpart and evaluates the progress made by Polish companies in their efforts to meet award winning requirements.