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Southwest Airlines Community

All-New Rapid Rewards Update

cmainz
Employee
Employee

I wanted to provide you all with an update on how things are going since we launched the All-New Rapid Rewards program last week.  To say it’s been a crazy past week and a half is an understatement, and I know you all have experienced and expressed your frustrations with the launch of the new program and the challenges we have faced with the rollout. 

 

If we were a sports team, you could say that we’ve been in a slump the last week and a half.  It happens to even the best teams, and when it comes to Customer Service and meeting and exceeding our Customers’ expectations, I feel that Southwest is the best in the game.  Like a slumping sports team, we have heard all about it from our fans, which is to be expected and certainly fair.  The truth is we haven’t lived up to our standards or expectations for delivering Customer Service this past week and a half.  For that, we sincerely apologize.  I can tell you that we have been working around the clock to recover and get back to our winning ways.  We are seeing improvements, and each day is better than the one before.   

 

One of the biggest challenges we have experienced, that we know has a bigger impact on you, is our higher than normal call volumes, as well as unusually high e-mail inquiries.  Unfortunately, that has meant that your wait time to speak to someone has been longer than normal, and at times, you have been unable to get through.  Likewise, it has taken us longer to respond to your e-mails.  Fortunately, we have seen steady improvements since the launch, and we are hoping to be back to the level of Customer Service you expect from us soon.  Please trust me when I tell you that we do have all hands on deck working around the clock to answer your calls and e-mails.  Combined, our Customer Service Representatives have worked thousands of hours of overtime, and we have brought in temporary Employees to help. 

 

Additionally, as with anything new, there is a learning curve to becoming familiar with the changes on the web site, so our Members naturally have questions about where to find certain features and how to navigate the site, which can be frustrating.  We know there is opportunity for making the new account screens more intuitive so you can more easily find your information.  A few of these have already been implemented, and we continue to work on further enhancements.  Last week, we posted a blog and video with answers to some frequently asked questions about how to navigate the web site, so I encourage you to check that out if you haven’t already.

 

With regard to functionality on southwest.com, most all functionality is working as designed.  Yes, we are still experiencing a few bugs here and there, and we have only one main outstanding issue we are working diligently to address.  Members who are using Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) are unable to login to their account.  We are aware of this issue and are working to fix it as soon as we possibly can.  I’m including a link to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 if you are interested in upgrading:  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/worldwide-sites.aspx, and again, we are working to fix this on our end as quickly as we can so that those with IE6 can login to their accounts. 

 

            Again, we are seeing improvements across all fronts, and we are working as hard and fast as we can to get back on track.  We know you expect a lot from Southwest Airlines, and we’re sorry we haven’t been able to live up to your (or our) expectations.        

125 Comments
Shar1
Not applicable
Southwest I just want to say THANK YOU for getting me from Point A to Point B safely for years, which is more important to me than anything. I see that people have previously commented below saying that they have been loyal customers for over 20 years, so what about all the traveling people have done previously? Some people are quick to forget how awesome things have been and when they come across what is inconvenient to them, it is easier to complain than be grateful for the reliability and safe travels from the past. Our society has shifted and act like spoiled brats at times. People are quick to complain and are forgetting about being grateful. What about thinking about how good we have it? Some people in other countries would be excited to use the internet or have a computer, or even have running water for that matter. In the grand scheme of things we really have it good. So complaining about the website being “harder to navigate” or wait times are really long, don’t forget about our luxuries and remember that some people will never be able to get on a plane and travel. I am sorry that people are complaining about the program before their questions are resolved for them or complaining about minor inconveniences. Some stories even seem like they could be fabricated. My credits are still there (I am not starting over) and I will receive a reward on my next flight just like I would have before the changeover happened. I have full confidence that Southwest will make it through this. I hope more positivity comes your way. I will continue to travel with Southwest. Thank you again.
Tim_and_Cindy_R
Not applicable
If I want to transfer a credit card balance to my SW Visa, how do points accrue? Thanks.
ChrisWN
Not applicable
Chris, you still did not address the #1 thing your fans are complaining about. You traded away the quarterback we all loved, and brought a player on from another team that had all the glitz and glitter. Yes, you took Rapid Rewards away from us and brought something in that you thought was "smarter". OK, bad analogy, but I was trying to return your sports metaphor. Give us back the Rapid Rewards we all love. As I write, I'm literally sitting on V X right now from SEA to LAX. I would have normally taken the 1-stop just because I love W N, but I'm not feeling y'all today. I'm also writing this from my wireless connection. I'll spare you from delving into that topic, as I know you have enough to deal with right now.
Daisy_Simmons
Not applicable
I appreciate this post, but none of the technical improvements or shortened call wait times ease the fact that I--like many of your loyal, long-standing customers--am still really disappointed in the new rapid rewards system. For years now, you have been my go-to for many reasons--a primary one being that I loved the simplicity and actual perks of the rapid rewards program. This big change makes the SWA I've known and loved much more like all the other airlines it's so long stood apart from.
Siobhan_Greator
Not applicable
I have been a loyal customer for years, but Southwest will no longer be my go-to airline. It will now take me 48 one-way flights to earn a reward, as compared to 16 in the old system, which at least made it worthwhile for me to pay a higher fare on Southwest to earn a free flight more often. I generally fly at least once per month, but I will now book by price rather than preferencing Southwest. Even booking on short-notice, Southwest seldomly has the best price. And lately, EVERY flight I'm on is delayed. Last Sunday, my 1-hour flight home was delayed 3 hours. No longer worth it for me -- even with bag fees. -Siobhan
berniehauder
Not applicable
LONG TIME LOYAL SWA CUSTOMER HORRIBLE NEW SYSTEM AND WEBSITE ON 3-10-11 I TRIED TO BOOK 2 TICKETS ON SWA FROM DALLAS LOVE TO BOSTON FOR 4-27 TO 5-1. NO AVAILABILITY ON REWARD TICKETS. I WENT TO AA.COM AND AMERICAN HAD DIRECT FLIGHTS WITH BETTER TIMES AND WAS $350 CHEAPER!!!!! EVEN IF I SPEND $140 (ROUND TRIP) ON BAG FEES, IT IS CHEAPER ON AMERICAN. SOUTHWEST WILL LOSE MORE AND MORE CUSTOMERS. PLEASE CHANGE THE SYSTEM BACK AND FIRE THE NEW WEB DESIGNER/PROGRAMMER.
James_Connors
Not applicable
The new RR program is not an improvement. The whole program is now complicted and resembles what the legacy airlines have. What was a simple rewards program has turned into a complicated and less rewarding program. I am a frequent traveler on SW from Hartford & Tampa...I never even looked at other carriers due to the fantastic RR program but now i will look at other airlines..ie JetBlue. The new program sucks!!! Change it back before your loyal customers leave. No amount of marketing can hide the fact that this new program is just a way to make more money and make reward travel harder to acheive. NOT HAPPY AT ALL.
James_Connors
Not applicable
SW you have ruined a great program and made a complicted mess for a rewards program. No amount of marketing can hide that the new program sucks and is nothing more than a way to make reward travel harder to acheive. Go back to the old program before you loose your loyal customers.
Bonnie_Gibson
Not applicable
I understand the need for some changes in the RR system if it was unprofitable. However, I resent having you pretend this is an "improvement". Please don't insult our intelligence. People fly with SW because it saves them money via lower fares or RR tickets. Now it's very difficult to earn a RR ticket unless you are a full time business traveler. Plus, your tickets are NOT the most reasonably priced either. Even paying for 2 bags both ways, it's cheaper for me to fly on on other airlines. I'm also cancelling my credit card. I can no longer see the advantage of flying SW.
john_mani
Not applicable
I am absolutely disappointed and angry at your customer support. (your new rewards program sucks, but my complaint here is not about that). I had two expired rapid-rewards and an active rapid-reward. I attempted to renew the expired ones thru website a few days back. I saw the two expired rewards listed, so I payed $100 to renew both. Renewal worked, and I got emails confirming it. I didn't find my current award listed anywhere, so I attempted to call up customer support to clarify. After 4-5 days of 30+ mins wait, I finally get thru. And then I'm told: 'sorry sir, but you actually renewed your current reward'. Eh?! How did that happen? I sure as hell would be crazy to pay $50 to renew an award that won't expire till THIS NOV. Well, the agent finally admitted that it was something screwed up in the SWA website, but claims that SHE CANNOT EVEN CREDIT BACK my $50. Say WHAT? It's your mistake that you listed the wrong reward for renewal, and now you won't even give my money back? Heck, even my cable and phone companies are better than that 😞 This, sir, is robbery. Disappointed, disgusted and pissed off .. -john
john_mani
Not applicable
I am absolutely disappointed and angry at your customer support. (your new rewards program sucks, but my complaint here is not about that). I had two expired rapid-rewards and an active rapid-reward. I attempted to renew the expired ones thru website a few days back. I saw the two expired rewards listed, so I payed $100 to renew both. Renewal worked, and I got emails confirming it. I didn't find my current award listed anywhere, so I attempted to call up customer support to clarify. After 4-5 days of 30+ mins wait, I finally get thru. And then I'm told: 'sorry sir, but you actually renewed your current reward'. Eh?! How did that happen? I sure as hell would be crazy to pay $50 to renew an award that won't expire till THIS NOV. Well, the agent finally admitted that it was something screwed up in the SWA website, but claims that SHE CANNOT EVEN CREDIT BACK my $50. Say WHAT? It's your mistake that you listed the wrong reward for renewal, and now you won't even give my money back? Heck, even my cable and phone companies are better than that 😞 This, sir, is robbery. Disappointed, disgusted and pissed off .. -john
john_mani
Not applicable
why is every comment being rejected as spam? Yet another website update gone haywire?
Danielle_Walrat
Not applicable
First of all I would like to say that I have loved Southwest for many years. I do not like the new system but it's business and if that is what Southwest as a company wants to do, so be it. My frustration comes in a very personal matter for me. My father went into the hospital last Thursday (3/3) and had to have emergency surgery. He is in the foothills of Calif, I am in Phoenix. I had to immediately get on a plane and get up there for fear he would not make it. I was on the road when I got the news, so I first started calling Southwest...I could not get anyone to answer...by the time I got home, I was still on hold and then suddenly I was disconnected, I called back while I got on the computer, could not book anything on the computer, got all the way to the purchase page and it just kept giving me an error msg. So, while I was still on hold, I packed my suitcase and made the 30 minute trip to the airport where I now had to wait in line...someone finally answered before I got to the counter and I literally had 40 mins to get my bag checked, get through security and board my plane...I made it but unfortunately it was very, very stressful and added to the stress of my Father's sudden illness, did not help one bit! I was so disgusted with the lack of customer service and lack of compassion when I was told the representative what was going on that I almost got in the US Air line... I do not think the airline was ready to roll out this new program and a lot of people have suffered because of it. You say you have reps working overtime and temps coming in to help but I will tell you, when I had to call a week later to try and get home for a few days, I experienced the same long wait time...I drove from San Andreas, CA to the Sacramento Airport (approx 1 hr 20 mins) and did not get an answer on the phone from Southwest. I always knew that living in another state away from my family would be tough, but I also knew that I was only a 2 hr flight with Southwest away, but there have been so many cuts and direct flights taken out it almost just isn't worth it anymore and the fact that I couldn't get through on the phone and the website was down in my hour of need really was a blow to my "luv" of Southwest. I definitely expected more from a leader in the travel industry. I have flown 3 round trips in the past month and have had delays on at least one leg of each flight...That just isn't the Southwest way and I really hope you get your act together or US Air will be my airline of choice back and forth to the Bay Area!
William8
Not applicable
It's not just a matter of technical difficulties. Your changes to the Rewards program has significantly decreased the value of flying on Southwest. Combined with the price increases that started last year (before problems in the Middle East that affected fuel prices), this change just makes you as expensive as any legacy carrier and removes any reason I have to fly SWA. Congratulations. You're one of the big boys now.
William_Hits
Not applicable
I think I am one of those business travelers that Southwest covets. I have had a companion pass for over 10 years. My schedule is very chaotic and I fly at least twice per week, typically paying full fare. Southwest in many instances is the only carrier that flies the routes between S Cal and N Cal that work for me. I really never considered flying another airline. My criticism is more basic. How do you book a f**king companion pass ticket on the new website???!!! My wife doesn't travel with me all that often, but when she does It was super easy to just book her ticket on the website with mine....NOW I CAN'T.....!!! Given the recent mess with the transition to the new rewards plan calling has been a disaster ....F** You Southwest!!. For people like me, TIME IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY....don't make me waste time....this was a key tenet for Southwest and seems to be lost in this new program.
Bill_Wright
Not applicable
I've flown about 80-100 flights a year over the last 5 years with Southwest. The new rewards program is unnecessarily complicated and a major reduction in benefit to me now and I am already planning to stop using SW as my commuter and business flight provider. The mailer that introduced the program to me clearly states my Companion Pass will expire 12/31/2012 if the old-program Companion Pass expires 1/1/2012 or later. My pass expires 1/2012 and the new on-line account incorrectly states my pass expires 12/31/2011. The only good thing about this for travelers is that there will be more seating room on SW flights. C'mon man - what were you thinking?
William_Ross_Wi
Not applicable
And the downward spiral begins. I've always wondered why people are so determined to fix things that were not broken, which almost always ends in disaster. I am a multi million mile flyer who finally decided to try SW about a year ago. I had just gotten to where I was looking forward to being a very loyal and high volume passenger. I don't know who decided to hand the controls to some student pilot with an MBA, but this "Great Idea" of someone's is a multi faceted screw up. The web page obfuscated data for even the most experienced web browser and even the ticket agents cant find the information needed. There is now way to find any future bookings. WE TRIED. The only people who have access to this information are the reservation agents and even they can't find it. If you have booked several flights into the future, you better have saved your emails or you wont know the flights are coming until too late. SW may claim this is temporary but I have instructed the 14 different frequent flyers in my company to get off SW until they get this fixed. If jerking the customers around to this magnitude is now OK, it is scary to think what the ripple down is going to look like. Jet Blue here we come.
Dianne_Davis
Not applicable
Chris - I would update my resume if I were you. Someone is going to have to be thrown under the bus for this incredible service failure that is the new RR program. My money says it's going to be you! I actually feel sorry for you! You can't win. Because if you haven't noticed, everything you say pretty much is only making things worse. It's insulting to your loyal FF's for you to say "things are improving." Wait - - really!?!? Are you just saying that to make yourself feel better!? Here's the deal, Chris - I am a long term SWA flyer. I will fly fiive, round trip SWA flights this month with many more on track for the year. Not your most traveled passenger but not bad from a loyalty standpoint. But this week I contacted Jet Blue personally and asked them to PLEASE consider opening in my home city, Tulsa. What is interesting is that they responded immediately with incrediblly aggressive customer service. You can't believe how hard they are working to get your FF's business. Hmmmm - it sadly reminds me of a sharp little carrier I once knew. We are all sorely disappointed in your response or lack thereof. We spend a lot of time with you. And you aren't listening. We are telling you exactly what we want to continue to do business with you. And alll you want to do is give YOUR POV about how much you are working to improve things. They may seem better to YOU, but have you looked at your FB and Twiitter pages lately? I still can't figure out how to book a flight and get credit. I also can't seem to use any points as you have pretty much made our program useless with a lack of flight availability. And I don't have the time to hold long enough to get a live person to help me. Chris - your airline was once the American dream. But now we have all woken up in a Southwest nightmare. What happened to the LUV!??!!
J_Harlow
Not applicable
The insults to your most loyal customers continues...despite the efforts of the PR department to put a positive spin on things. I got a package in the mail today from SWA. It provided me with another A-List card. Interestingly, I am supposed to be A-List Preferred. I tried twice to call and inquire about my status...am I A-List as the promotion said or A-List Preferred as the web site notes? IAgain I tried twice and twice I guess I timed out as the call was terminated after waiting and waiting. Nothing like hanging up on your loyal customers Gary Kelly to build brand loyalty. I suggest you admit your screw-up and return the old programs. Coke did this and saved their brand. Take a lesson from them before you bring this airline to the ground. This is going to be one of the WORST marketing decisions in history. Mr. Kelly will be remembered as the guy that ruined this brand.
Ken_Pereira
Not applicable
I think it is important to acknowledge that there are still big problems with the new website. For example, when you book award tickets for others using your own rewards, these reservations do not showup in your account as they did before - you lose total track of them. Also, companion flights booked before the conversion do not show up on your account. One more - flights booked using your account before the conversion for others ( non member like sons, daughters, friends) do not show up in your account like they used to. Southwest - please tell me this was not done by design - it is a mjor trust issue for rr members who have relied on your airline and website and I am concerned I can never trust it or rely on it for my family travel site.
JMorgan
Not applicable
Been a loyal customer for a long while. I have a business and personal SWA Visa card. I have personally persuaded a lot of friends to become SWA fans. But that's all gone. Something serious has changed at SWA HQ. First, about half of the website was redesigned maybe a year ago. I did not like the change, it madet things more confusing. Then I noticed for the first time SWA fares were often higher than legacy airlines. On a ski trip from SAN to DEN, I took Frontier and it was very nice and half the price of SWA. Trying to book my RR credits became more difficult. I also fly SAN to LAS and usually book 30 days in advance. I started noticing all sorts of strategic pricing; my usual 8am flight that used to be $59 was now $139 one way. Last week i went to book a flight 30days in advance from SAN to LAS and the quoted price was $179 one way! I noticed also that prices were literally creeping up $10-20/day on some flights. Then, of course, the pathetic change to this new RR program. I have little to add to all the other complaints on this blog and especially on the SWA Facebook page other than to say it is absolutely a joke. In the past I have trusted SWA as one of the very few companies that could be trusted, even told my kids that. Boy was I wrong. It seems like the pro customer culture has just evaporated overnight, it really is amazing in a bad way. So for me, I will use what I have left in the program and SWA becomes like all the other airlines, just another choice. The only thing left that i like is the ability to cancel and change tickets easily without heavy fees. So, SWA, if you really want to be like all the others, that's the only thing left, start charging those $150-175 change fees, your revenue will go up and you'll be indistinguishable from all the rest. Adios!
GJCGY
Not applicable
So disappointed in your Southwest. Your poor rollout is compounded by your failure to educate and communicate in advance of the roll out. as a loyal customer who switched from United when they started palying games, I am now shopping for a new airline. My points have been lost in the internet Neverland and I do not have 2 hours to dedicate to your mess. There are far better carriers out there now and lets face it since your on time status continues to fall especailly at Midway and you continue to raiseyour prices, your no frills no longer are worth it. I encourage you to take a second look at what has made you successful. this isn't it
swabikedude
New Arrival
Thank you Chris for the update! I am glad we are doing everything we can for our Customers. I know most of our Employees read these comments as well and we understand and apologize for the frustrations. We are doing our best. Although the program has changed, it was necessary, and will become much more rewarding for everyone, our airline and Employees have NOT changed and we will continue to become the LEADING carrier y'all expect! Give the RR Program a chance and try it out! It will prove to become valuable in no time!!!
Brad_Ewald
Not applicable
I HATE YOUR NEW PROGRAM Why on earth would you take something so simple and make it the quagmire that is now the Rapid Rewards program? It is more complicated then the other airlines point systems, the website is a navigational nightmare, and seeing anything other thant total points is near impossible. To top it off, when i called to find out where all my missing companion pass point detail can be found i waited for over 23 minutes on hold, and gave up. This is not the Southwest customer service i have bragged about to all my friends and family. You need to Fix it ASAP or I will move my customer equity eslewhere. Brad East to West coast FF of at least 20 flights a year, current companion pass holder.
Eric7
Not applicable
It still continues to be a bad day for Southwest - As we approach the start of week 3 of this so called improvement to Rapid Rewards, I'm still confused. My point totals on the tier level don’t match up or make any sense? I can’t view my points earned prior to March 1st? (It's hard for me to trust Southwest at this point that all of my points will ever be there - I knew that I should have printed a hard copy of my account prior to the startup of the new program) My future trips don’t all show up - ??? Some do, some don’t?? I sent an email to Southwest over 1 week ago - yea - still no response to my questions?? As Chris wrote above, Southwest is like a slumping sports team - well I have to say that my favorite "sports" team will soon no longer be that to me. I am trying to be patient, but it's soon running out. Southwest please step up to the plate and fix these problems fast. I am truly disappointed in Southwest!
Brandon_brown
Not applicable
You stole $50.00 from me and when I call the customer service number it is busy. The website made me reactivate an award that was to expire on 12/04/2011. After waiting on hold for 45 min with the 1-800 number they told me to call the 214 number that is busy at all times. Tell me why I should fly with you again? I ensure you that all business travel will be going to phx based usair.
Danielle_Walrat
Not applicable
My frustration comes in a very personal matter for me. My father went into the hospital last Thursday (3/3) and had to have emergency surgery. He is in the foothills of Calif, I am in Phoenix. I had to immediately get on a plane and get up there for fear he would not make it. I was on the road when I got the news, so I first started calling Southwest...I could not get anyone to answer...by the time I got home, I was still on hold and then suddenly I was disconnected, I called back while I got on the computer, could not book anything on the computer, got all the way to the purchase page and it just kept giving me an error msg. So, while I was still on hold, I packed my suitcase and made the 30 minute trip to the airport where I now had to wait in line...someone finally answered before I got to the counter and I literally had 40 mins to get my bag checked, get through security and board my plane...I made it but unfortunately it was very, very stressful and added to the stress of my Father's sudden illness, did not help one bit! I was so disgusted with the lack of customer service and lack of compassion when I was told the representative what was going on that I almost got in the US Air line...
Greg_Chapman
Not applicable
I certainly have become a loyal SW customer over the past several years, in large part due to the RR program. Southwest is advertising "FREE FLIGHTS FASTER" which seems to be the furthest thing from the truth. I LUV'D the old program, I may not totally give up on Southwest but the new program does dilute that loyalty.
Kathy8
Not applicable
I agree with all of the comments. Southwest is definitely going "South" with their new Point programs requirements and deviation from their core focus on the customer with the great program they had. I am a frequent flier for business - flying 1x month at least and Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Priceline.com here I come!!! Major Major Major loss of LUV here!!! Your comical flight attendants and no cost for bags certainly do not make up for what you have done!!! BYE BYE Southwest -- Hello JetBlue
nmd
Not applicable
As a longtime Southwest flier, I can understand the need to move to a more flexible points based frequent flier program -- you want and should reward those who pay more with more rewards. Yes, those who have enjoyed the very generous system of the past may not like it, but something had to be adjusted. As someone who has an advanced degree in Marketing, I can also say you guys screwed up big time in the implementation! I knew when you first announced this change that you were going to have issues -- in creating a flexible program, you created an overly complicated system. Perhaps you should have kept it simple -- earn 10 point for every dollar you spend on a flight. For any flight, a redemption in points equal to 100 x the fare will get you a seat. You could still have run promotions for Business Select (or any fare class) where during certain periods, you get a percentage bonus (e.g. 50% more point on flights taken during December). Same on redemptions: (Book a flight for only 75 x the fare this month). As for the old system, the ability to convert new points (earned or bought) into the old system to top out and get a free flight was welcome... but it was hard to find. You shouldn't need to call in or read an FAQ to figure it out -- it should have been front and center. Feel free to contact me and I can consult on further aspects of the program. 🙂 Good luck.
Sharlene_Thomas
Not applicable
I absolutely hate the new rewards program. I fly approximately every other week and I fly Southwest because of the friendly staff and the easy rewards program. They made it worth not having assigned seats and having to wait in line. If you have to send out a booklet to explain how the rewards work, that says everything- IT IS TOO COMPLICATED and you are right up the with United and American. So if I can fly them and get first class upgrades, tell my why I would stay with Southwest? I agree with everyone else on this blog - bad move Southwest 😞
Steve_Paschang
Not applicable
My Grandma used to say, "We become what we sneer at." In many ways it would appear that this has happened to this wonderful carrier. A few years back, I recall one of Southwest's on-hold messages making fun of airlines who forced their customers to count points in order to earn an award ticket. And now look where we are. Like many loyal Rapid Rewards members, I thought the old system was beautiful in its simplicity. I used to make day/weekend trips between OMA-MDW and could earn a reward ticket with just eight trips and by spending between $600 and $800. Now that it seems $49 fares are a thing of the past—I do understand about the cost of fuel—I'll have to make nearly FOUR TIMES the number of MDW trips in order to earn an award. Sadly, I think these changes are just a sign of the time, but I sure do miss the old Southwest of just a few months ago. I feel it does no good to huff and snort about taking my modest business to another carrier, as one change in my travel plans would wipe away pretty much the entire price of the ticket, thanks to the stringent policies of the legacy carriers, and thebags-fly-free remains an attractive selling point. (Southwest has made fun of both of these in recent TV commercials, could this be an omen?) I will just be making fewer trips. Southwest, as a loyal customer for more than 15 years, I plead with you to reverse this new policy. Can't you give 1/4 or even 1/8 of a credit to things like car rentals and hotel stays?
Brad11
Not applicable
I am a companion fare rapid rewards member with 8 accrued tickets from the old program and 160,000 miles on another major airline. I am the type of flyer that SW has targetted for the new program. That said, I am dissappointed with the new program. It was not a slump, it was failure to make the cut. I have already changed my flying behavior on domestic flights to split my time between SWA and another major airline that has real business flyer benefits benefits such as wifi, more direct flights and business lounges. That has cost SWA $800 this month alone. This will continue. The old program was simple and predictable, much like SWA's brand promise. That is no longer the case. Also, while I was happy to hear that I did not lose my previous awards, there are little to no spaces availalbe 4-5 months out, they are worthless! On a positive note - the new RR phone option is great - and has been a lifesaver during the implementation of the new program. However, I feel for the agents who valiantly tried to convince me how good the new program is. Unfortunately, the new program speaks for itself.
Brad11
Not applicable
I am a companion fare rapid rewards member with 8 accrued tickets from the old program and 160,000 miles on another major airline. I am the type of flyer that SW has targetted for the new program. That said, I am dissappointed with the new program. It was not a slump, it was failure to make the cut. I have already changed my flying behavior on domestic flights to split my time between SWA and another major airline that has real business flyer benefits benefits such as wifi, more direct flights and business lounges. That has cost SWA $800 this month alone. This will continue. The old program was simple and predictable, much like SWA's brand promise. That is no longer the case. Also, while I was happy to hear that I did not lose my previous awards, there are little to no spaces availalbe 4-5 months out, they are worthless! On a positive note - the new RR phone option is great - and has been a lifesaver during the implementation of the new program. However, I feel for the agents who valiantly tried to convince me how good the new program is. Unfortunately, the new program speaks for itself.
bama
Not applicable
The new reward program isa SHAM! Its a shell game pure and simple. Once people figure it out, it willbe the kiss of death for the airline. Why? The old reward program is what made paying for a higher fare over its cometitors acceptable. Many a time I, and others, would eat the fare difference (often sometimes quite significantly higher) because we knew it would pay off for us in the end. Now...its cheapest fare wins, whoever it may be (and I can tell from experience right now it isn't going to be Southwest 9 times out of 10). Southwest used to be a great airline, renown for affordable fares and superior customer service. It was an airline that valued it's customers and showed it in everything theu did. This was the reason for it's phenomenal success. Now it's customer service is non-existent and it's no better than any other airline. Wait....I take the latter back...it's worse. Southwest never used tp turn their backs on loyal customers that made them what they are.The other airlines did, but then again they were always like that. Southwest can run itself into extinction for all I care. I'll never fly ingrates again! NEVER EVER NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WOULD HAVE SAVED!!!! (Add any number of combination and explieives here....I am).
kathleen_travis
Not applicable
I hate your new rewards program. Where are our old credits and trips? We can't find our old trips so we can let you know you are cheating us out of our earned points!! How can you do this to your very loyal customers? Is southwest getting so big that they are forgetting what they used to be all about- which is customer service? Waiting on hold is at least 20 minutes. WHY DID YOU FIX SOMETHING THAT WASN'T BROKEN? VERY DISGUSTED WITH YOUR NEW PROGRAM. WILL LOSE MY BUSINESS. ACTUALLY, YOU ALREADY HAVE. I HAVE STARTED BOOKING ON AMERICAN WHICH IS THE SAME PRICE AS YOU.
Steven_Grate
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i have the same situation as the rest of the people that have left comments and it is THANKS FOR SCREWING ME. I travel every week and it is obvious that southwest believes we don't have any choices but you are wrong. your fares have lost their competitive edge. i have found better fares with better programs. i hope the reduction in passengers gives you a clue to how bad you have missed the mark with these changes.
Kandace
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A-lister for years here: I have to agree with the concensus on the blog. The new program is far from an improvement. I got online today with the plan to book my business travel and realized I would be coerced to book a more expensive flight in order to get these stupid "points". It feels like a game, not a rewards program. As a side note: the upper column "10x", "6x" etc. points designations are way too much like those casino ads to be taken seriously. Listing the points near the toggle for the flight is adequate. Since I am based in KC and there are not many options here, I don't expect to switch my loyalties. But if I could, I would consider it. Suffice to say, my high opinion of SW has been quite damaged and I can't recommend you as I usually do.
Greg_Chapman
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Not feeling the LUV with the new RR. I was spoiled by the old system and find the advertising statement "Fly Free Faster" to be far from the truth.
Eric7
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It still continues to be a bad day for Southwest - As we approach the start of week 3 of this so called improvement to Rapid Rewards, I'm still confused. My point totals on the tier level don’t match up or make any sense? I can’t view my points earned prior to March 1st? (It's hard for me to trust Southwest at this point that all of my points will ever be there - I knew that I should have printed a hard copy of my account prior to the startup of the new program) My future trips don’t all show up - ??? Some do, some don’t?? I sent an email to Southwest over 1 week ago - yea - still no response to my questions?? As Chris wrote above, Southwest is like a slumping sports team - well I have to say that my favorite "sports" team will soon no longer be that to me. I am trying to be patient, but it's soon running out. Southwest please step up to the plate and fix these problems fast. I am truly disappointed in Southwest!
Doug14
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The message below is from a letter I sent SW 2 weeks ago. I got a reply with a promise of A-list last Friday. Didn't happen. On the other points I was told because that's the way the program is designed. I"ve started buying tickets on Frontier. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Please allow me to explain why I will be switching from Southwest Airlines to another airlines for my Albuquerque (ABQ) to Nashville (BNA) commute each week, as soon as I have used all of my future Southwest flights that I can’t get a refund on. Reason #1 After the first of this year Southwest eliminated the best flights between ABQ and Denver. These flights allowed an approximate 5 hour travel time to BNA. Since then I have had to fly through Phoenix or Las Vegas, a 7 to 9 hour travel time flight. Sometimes I can arrange a flight through Houston or Dallas but they are at such odd hours for a business traveler I can’t make them. Reason #2 Last week I should have made A-List under the old rewards system. Under the new system that went into affect last week I won’t make A-List until mid April. The reason I am told for this is that none of my flights from 2010 count toward the new Southwest loyalty program. I should make A-List just about the time I stop flying Southwest. Reason #3 Now I can’t use my past flight rewards to get home from Las Vegas. This weekend is the first time I’ve tried to use my rewards flights. I have 10 rewards flights available. My wife and I have tickets to a show in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 30th. I bought the tickets to the show because I thought I would be able to use my rewards for the flights. Before last week I could have used my rewards for this trip. Now I can only use them to get to Las Vegas on Friday, April 29th. Now it cost us $513.40 to come home on Sunday, May 1st. And of course I had to have a customer service agent help arrange these flights because the “easy to use” Southwest rewards program couldn’t handle it. The real burn here is that all flights on Sunday, May 1st are available under the new reward system, just like under the old system before last week. Reason #4 Southwest’s technological incompetence! - They can’t send me receipts for online purchases. I’ve brought this issue up through the Southwest Web site where my issue was referred to their technical experts. Their reply each time is that they can’t correct the problem and to please contact a customer service agent to have them email a receipt. I spent quite a few hours yesterday (Saturday, March 5th) trying to get a receipt for my flight last week. I couldn’t get through on the regular line so I used the Spanish line. The agent there tried 3 times to send a receipt and none came through. I even drove to the airport only to find out that the agents there are not allowed to access the system to print out receipts. Why not? Is there something secret about receipts? - This week’s computer system debacle. Southwest desperately needs to hire some experienced professionals to run their computer systems. - I mistakenly reissued a reward flight. It cost me $50. From their Web site there is no explanation on what the purpose is of “reissuing” a reward. I thought it might mean that it would update my reward to the new points so I could book my flight from Las Vegas. When I asked a customer service agent to reverse my mistake I was politely told that in their systems they can’t do that. Once Southwest has your money there is no way to correct customer mistakes. So Southwest gets away with scamming me for $50. Your bags might fly free but they will weasel your money some other way. By the way the free bag thing is not that big a deal for a business traveler. My overhead bag holds a suit, 4 dress shirts and two pairs of dress slacks with all my other personal gear. I, like all the business travelers I know, don’t check bags. Thank you for reading my message. Southwest may have burned me for about $600 this weekend, but they're going to lose a lot more than that when I don’t buy any more of their tickets. And, as long as I have to start over with a new Southwest rewards program why not try a different, cheaper and more efficient airline that has not burned me yet?
Cheryl_Hornberg
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There was rarely a flight that I wasn't A16. With the new system, I am A20! I buy 8 tickets a month and consistently book least expensive ticket because schedule predictable. New system penalizes me for being frequent and consistent passenger.
John_M1
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I've tried to use my old Rapid Rewards three times in the past few weeks, and each time no RR availability, even though seats were available to purchase. This has never been a problem up until now. SWA has changed and it just isn't good old SWA anymore. I always flew SWA even when it wasn't the lowest fare or best flight, but I no longer see a reason.
Maverick_Jim
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AS A LOYAL CUSTOMER for over 30 YEARS. It is a sad year for me to see the start of the downfall of Southwest Airlines. I watched some small changes overs the years like the ticket keos and line up systems that have improved SWA. All of those were new or first time trend-setting moves that inproved the industry and made SWA the successful leader that it was. Unfortunately, what changes that are occurring now seem to make SWA more like the other airlines who have been failing all of these years. This is another example of when you hire the wrong management who have egos rather than brains and want to change a working system so they can pat themselves on their back. With all of there bad moves, expanding purchases like airtran (which I thought would give more hubs and some carribean flights but I figure management will screw this up before it is all done), new rewards system, 150% price fare increase and partners system that destroys the concept of rewarding true loyal customers which had appreciated the basic foundation of SWA to be dedicated to giving the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit, I give SWA "NEW" management two years to run this great airlines into the ground. My grandfather and I would think Herb would have said the same, "If it ain't broke don"t fix it!" This is a truely sad year and I know these guys are not Herb: Herb listened to his customers .... this management is too smart to listen to their clients. Just ask them.
Mary_--_San_Die
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Dear Southwest, Put very simply, your new rewards program sucks. I used to only fly Southwest unless the airline did not service my destination. As of today, I will avoid flying Southwest. Virgin, Jet Blue, and United will now be my first three choices for travel. Before this new program launched, I think it was fair to say that Southwest was not like the other airlines. I really don’t think that’s true anymore. You are well on your way to becoming the next Delta airlines. You spent 100 million dollars on the new program and seriously think 90 out of 100 passengers will like it--Ha. Honestly, I really thought you guys were the only ones that actually saw that customer loyalty and good customer service paid off in the long run. I don’t know how many people I convinced to fly southwest because of my previous good experience, but I will do my best to convince them otherwise starting today. Why would you change something that was working-the very thing that helped you have a profit when the other airlines did not. Why would spending a 100 million dollars force you to change something that was not broken? Well, what you have done is something that will cost you customer loyalty and my respect for Southwest Airlines. You should take a lesson from Coca-Cola and it’s failed and costly attempt to change it’s formula. You might as well start charging for luggage because as of today, your are nothing more than a “me too” airline.
Patricia_Cummin
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Just finished another frustrating phone call with their "customer service" department trying to retrieve the awards that they took out of my account during their conversion. Their conversion was just a way of cleaning house and cutting their liabilities in half. Should have kept every one of their misleading emails - won't make that mistake again!
James_Horn
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The most frustrating change (and still not clear that it is a change) is that A list and companion pass status are now calendar-year based rather than within a 12 month period. As such, rather than achieving the companion pass that I was so close to earning, I am now 80 segments away... Why punish those customers that have been the best to you?
Don_Phin
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This is hideous. I have flown SWA from day 1 and am also a stockholder thru thick and thin. Well, this is about as thin as it gets! Poor planning an execution on this one. Free bags aren't much help when you can't even login to the site...and I refuse to wait on hold for very long. I'd be flat out of business if I treated my customers this way. Can't login and requires me to us a new name that it won't accept. Then as mentioned 20 min on hold? Who's brainstorm was this? Why monkey with a system we loved? Now you are getting like everyone else and losing the mojo. I just sold my stock and I'm pissed!
Brad11
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I am a companion fare owner, currently 8 free tickets accrued from the old program. I also have over 160,000 miles on another airline. It is accurate to say that I am the type of program that the new program is targetted at. Unfortunately, somebody misread what I want. I want the simplicity and pragmatic approach that I am used to with SWA and is a part of SWAs brand promise. This program is not that. It is complicated and takes more time than the benefi that I receivet. I used to be able to predict when I would get a SWA award and how I could spend it. I can no longer do that and certainly will not be planning family vacations around it. Plus, the left over tickets that are still left in my account from the previous program are useless as I cannot find any seats available at reasonable times for months in advance! They are in my account, but they are useless. How is this not a take away? I am voting with my pocket book and have already shifted 1/2 of my flights to another major airline. For the first two weeks of March that has cost SWA $800.00. On a positive note - the new RR call line is great and has been a lifesaver during this transition. I do feel sorry for the agents however as they try and convince and educate me about why the new program is better for me. Unfortunately, the new program speaks for itself.
Joe_Saldivar
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Well, it's now March 15th and still no way to access my account (personal or SWABIZ)! I have downloaded different versions of IE and still nothing! I received a call yesterday from a "reservations" customer service rep who apologized but said she couldn't help me. (What else is new?!) This "NEW WEBSITE" rollout is a disaster! Poorly Executed and Poorly Planned! In any other service company, this Project Leader would have been fired! It would be nice if "loyal customers" would at least get an email blast discussing progress! Instead we get "nothing" but an old "March 11th" post from a "Public Relations" person who has apparently disappeared! Oh Well! Nothing to do but "hurry up and wait!"