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Introducing the All-New Rapid Rewards -- Blog Post

Employee
Employee


Happy New Year, everybody!  Indeed, today is a happy day, both for me personally and for Southwest Airlines, as we are officially unveiling our All-New Rapid Rewards program.  I know many of you have been anxiously waiting for us to announce the details of the new program, and believe me, we have been just as anxious to share our plans with you.  This is, after all, the single biggest new product launch in our Company’s history, and I am so proud to be a part of it.   While the new program will not officially launch until March 1, 2011, we are announcing the details today to give our Members plenty of time to become familiar with the changes.     

Believe it or not, we actually began work on enhancing our Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program several years ago.  While I know that seems like an awfully long time, it is hard to comprehend the magnitude and scope that goes into revamping an entire loyalty program.  If you think about it, our Rapid Rewards program impacts almost every single aspect of our operation and our Company, from our Frontline Employees, to our Customer Support and Services Representatives, to our Customer Relations and Rapid Rewards Employees, to our Technology folks and our Reservations system, to our policies and procedures--not to mention all of the research that goes into hearing what our Members want to see in a new program. 

And that is exactly what the All-New Rapid Rewards program is all about--meeting your needs and the needs of today’s traveler.  We began by asking you, our Customers, and even those who don’t currently fly on Southwest, what is important to them in a loyalty program.  We conducted months of Customer surveys, focus groups, and research to find out what travelers like about our current program, what they don’t like, and what they’d like to see changed.  Best of all – we listened!

You told us that you don’t like blackout dates, seat restrictions, expiring credits, and limited options for earning and redeeming your credits, and that you did want additional ways to redeem, including travel to international destinations.  Well, do I have some good news for you!  In the All-New Rapid Rewards program, Members can redeem their points for every seat, every day, on every flight, with absolutely no blackout dates or seat restrictions.  Simply put, if we are selling the seat, you can redeem points for it.  And points don’t expire as long as you have some earning activity in a 24-month time period.  Members will earn points for every dollar spent, so the amount of points you earn is based on the fare and fare product purchased.  The same is true for redeeming points. 

Another new feature of the enhanced program that we are really excited about is that Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers will not only be able to redeem their points for Southwest flights, but they will also be able to redeem their points for international flights to more than 800 worldwide destinations, for hotel stays, gift cards, and much more. 

The new program is designed to give you, our Customers, more control and flexibility over how and when you earn and redeem your points.  When you buy certain fare products, you earn more points.  And you can get the most out of your points by planning ahead so you can redeem them for the lowest fare possible.  When you can plan ahead, you spend fewer points, and when a flight goes on sale, the number of points needed to redeem for that flight goes on sale, too.  In the new program, you have the flexibility to spend your points as you wish.  After all, this is a program designed for you, and these are your points!

The new program also features enhancements for our A-List Members and includes a new level of status with the A-List Preferred level.  A-List Members will now enjoy new benefits, including a 25 percent earning bonus on flights.  Additionally, the new A-List Preferred level includes all of the benefits of A-List, plus a 100 percent earning bonus on flights in addition to a few other benefits.  And we’re excited to carry our popular Companion Pass program into the All-New Rapid Rewards.     

Of course, Current Rapid Rewards Members will retain their existing Awards and credits, and our A-List and Companion Pass Members will retain their status level in the new program.  All Members will be enrolled in the new program, and there is no need for them to re-enroll.

There are far too many details of our new program for me to mention here, and we’ve developed a whole host of resources and information for you to learn about the All-New Rapid Rewards.  I encourage you to watch the brief videos that accompany this post right here on our blog, as they help explain the crucial elements of the new program.  Additionally, we created a special web site, www.newrapidrewards.com, where you can learn even more.  Plus, existing Rapid Rewards Members should be on the lookout for information that we will send directly to them.

I know our Rapid Rewards program is beloved and has been around for 24 years, and for the most part, we haven’t really changed it that much.  But the time for an upgrade has come, and we truly believe that we have taken an award-winning program and made it even better.  I hope you will agree, and I wish you all the very best throughout the New Year!   

 

204 Comments
Not applicable
Southwest has found a new way to screw us. Get less points for flying the short-hops (eg: LAS to PHX) and lose the flexibility to pick up a last minute free flight because it will cost MORE points than previously. Here's my math: MAX WGA fare: $144*60=8,640 Anytime: $158*100=10,580 Biz Select: $183*120=21,960 Earning ratio (assuming not A list member): 10 1-way flights at max cost for WGA will net you a free flight, so long as you book within the WGA window and chose not to change. It will require 13 1-way flights purchased at MAX WGA to earn a last minute ONE WAY fare. You now need 26 segments just to earn a round trip ticket. While this is an incentive for credit card and partner usage....for the average flier a flight on southwest is now 5 flights further away. Take an EXPENSIVE route, like LAS to LGA and the disparity is even more hilarious. Buy 1, round trip anytime ticket on that route (484 each way), and have enough points (9,680) for a short hop flight, but be miles from reaching that 96,800 points you'll need for a round trip anytime ticket on that route. Right now they're offering a WGA fare for 114 each way. We're better off only flying southwest when we can plan far enough in advance to get a low fare and earning our 'frequent flier' miles elsewhere where 25k can still get you a round trip ticket ANYWHERE in the USA. Hey southwest, how bout a trade. For every flight I take without luggage, I get even a $25 credit off my ridiculously exorbitant fare.....
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>There are far too many details of our new program for me to mention here Definitely. We have posted most of the details and started a lively discussion from the customer's point of view at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/southwest-rapid-rewards/1168741-rapid-rewards-2-0-begins-march-1-2011-a.html nsx at flyertalk.com's Southwest forum
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Those of us in steerage (i.e. not on the A-List or Business travelers) who use a SWA Chase credit card have a few questions: Do we still get 1 credit for every $1200 spent on the card and will 16 credits get us one award still? Also, say we are 5 credits away from our next award, what happens on March 1? Are they as valuable as they were on February 28? Should we bend over now and grab our ankles? Oh wait, we already have to do that before check-in. My bad.
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I'm excited about this and have told all my friends to join. The Cranky Flier is pretty big fan, too, and unlike the commenter above, he likes the way the math rolls out. Here's his post: http://tinyurl.com/2bu9n4g
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I think Anonymous needs a chill pill. The program was just announced. If you find other Airlines have a better program, which you will find they are similar or worse, then please go fly them. This hopefully will accumulate free flights quicker considering 16 round trips was a lot in my opinion. The no blackouts is Huge. Not a real fan of terming a power flyer because unfortunately that is bordering, or right on top of, a "Class" system, which SWA has avoided in the past. Unfortunately this is another step towards "Legacy" status. Atleast they stayed away from the "Gold, Platinum, Diamond" pretentious labels. I wish it luck. Most of the features are a step in the right direction in my opinion. Go SWA!
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I have a RR Award ticket in my account and I am trying to use it to go to NYC in May. However, I can't because there aren't any more award seats available. Under the new program rules rather than having in my account an award ticket and a few left over credits, I would have over 25,000 points which would be more than enough to fly free from Dallas to LaGuardia. I wish the new program was already up and running.
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What a bummer. Southwest was one of my favorite companies and Rapid Rewards was the ONLY rewards program (travel or otherwise) that I participated in and used. The reasons were simple: 1. The old system was simple - no points, just free flights that popped into my account automatically. No calculating and redeeming for me to have to do. I hate AMEX for that reason - I have to mess around with AMEX to figure out what I can get and it's usually disappointing. 2. An award flight was the same so I didn't have to think about how far it could take me. I could use it anywhere Southwest went. Easy. This new system has turned it into something like every other reward point system I find useless and has made free flights harder to get. I'd rather have the blackout dates or limited seats under the old system. The added insult is Southwest telling me why this is new and improved. I wish they'd just say that they can't afford the old system anymore if that's the case (I know - such honesty doesn't exist in these circumstances). Who knows? Maybe another airline will step. As for now, one of my favorite companies is no longer....
Not applicable
Guess its time for a new airline for me! This decision is so bad... reminds me of when Coke changed their formula in the '80's
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For me, it's the opposite of nsx. I need to fly Anytime for business, but I can use WGA for personal stuff. Three $200 anytime trips gets me a $100 WGA flight.
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Explore 46, you need to check out newrapidrweards.com. Starting March 1, the Rapid Rewards Visa will earn one point for every dollar spent and two points for Southwest purchases. Award travel will be priced in points--discounted fares require fewer points. You can convert points to flight credits to complete your award ticket
Not applicable
It's pretty disappointing to learn about the new RR program. I'm not a fan with most of the details and like the previous comment the new "formula" will typically impact me in a negative method. I was excited to travel internationally on the points but was hoping to do that through your Airtran acquisition. I can only hope all the already negative response to this new plan will make you reconsider this program. Due to this plan I will make every effort after March 31st to NOT fly with SWA, SWA costs the same or more then other airlines now, and the RR program was the reason why I kept flying with you. Now I'll fly with AA and have less crowded flights and a more professional flight staff. Lastly, I've put my order in to sell my LUV stock, I don't want to invest with a company that obviously this out of touch with their customers.
Not applicable
Wow is all I can say. I love Southwest and have enjoyed many short hops weekly for work. This new program means I will have to spend more money(business select) to keep the free flight awards coming. Not to mention this new program will be very confusing for most. I guess since they dont charge for bags like other airlines they are going to make their frequent fliers make up the difference. Thanks Gary! I thought Southwest wanted to attract more business frequent flyers, not lose them? :(
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It seems the optimists want to believe this is a better system but in actuality it really screws a core business aspect: the short haul business traveler. I understand the system will be more fair to people who fly longer routes, in fact I should be a A-list preferred and have easier time accumulating points. However, my short haul business flights are devalued quite a bit in terms of earning free tickets. Even though there are non-blackout awards they will still be subject to availability and cost of points, length of travel, no "reasonable" last minute bookings anymore. A-list barely means anything considering there's no first class which I was fine with as long as the credits made up for it. I hate to see Southwest do poorly but this seems like a bad move. Time will tell.
Not applicable
If I am reading this correctly, if you are A-list right now, you will continue to be so, and get the corresponding 25% increase in points. Will Southwest require everyone to requalify for the A-List preferred going forward on 3/1/11? Will very frequent travelers in 2010 (i.e. those who flew more than 50 times in 2010), still start with everyone else in trying to earn the A List preferred, or will the very frequent fliers be given this status on 3/1/11 based on their 2010 flying patterns?
Not applicable
i am disappointed with the changes. Looks like I may have to look at other airlines for my trips to and from Phoenix.
Not applicable
This blog should be re-titled "Southwest is NUTS" In order to run a successful loyalty program, the rewards you offer must have a perceived value. Perception is reality to your customers. And from what it looks like in the social-sphere, your loyal customers see NO VALUE in these changes. You have succeeded at one thing - infuriating your key customer base. Those business travelers you are hoping to woo will never accept SWA as a go-to for their travel needs. They want nonstop flights to the business hub cities. They don't want to hassle with waiting in line to get a "good seat." They are the ones who don't care about bag fees and free drinks, they're not paying for it anyway. You'd have to do a lot more to attract their loyalty.
Not applicable
Ding fares aren't mentioned in any of the FAQ items. Are there no points if you book with a DING fare? Honestly I am not a fan of this new plan. Seems like SW is becoming like any other airline - and I now have no reason to remain brand loyal to SW. For those of you who are happy about the "no blackout dates" policy - just wait a few years. Companies always start programs off this way too make them look better and then change their minds a few years down the road.
Not applicable
While there is an improvement regarding rewards not expiring as long as there is activity within 24 months, the rest of the changes are very disappointing. I was just about to get a SW Visa card, and focus my travel more with SW, specifically because of the ease of earning/redeeming free trips. Now- I guess I'll stay focused with American. Whoever authorized $100mil just to ruin a well-loved program SHOULD be having a bad day today.
Not applicable
Everyone needs to take a chill pill. Yes, the short-hop fliers will lose out a bit, but those who take a few more expensive flights a year (i.e. longer-haul trips) will benefit. The new system is a little bit like a combo of JetBlue's and the European airlines' programs, only better. Like JetBlue, you are rewarded based on revenue to the airline (which makes more sense to me), and like the European airlines, there is more flexibility to combine points and dollars. However, the no blackout dates is a nice perk in exchange for the loss of simplicity. I'm OK with the new program. I'm sure the folks at Corporate figured out it will save the airline money, but better this than switching to American, United, or Delta's approach. Hopefully the rumor that Southwest will switch to assigned seating after they acquire AirTran isn't true, though. I understand Reagan Airport is different, but keep the current open seating everywhere else!
Not applicable
As someone who always looks to Southwest first for both personal and business needs, this change in the program is disappointing to hear as it is going to take longer to earn free flights. The changes regarding blackout dates, points not expiring and being able to fly to other destinations is good, but if you are looking to fly in the US, then the old program should apply to those flights. It's just easier. Maybe keep the old program but have a mechanism to convert the credits into dollars for the international travel. Also, keep the aspect of the credits not expiring and there being no blackout dates. As the program stands now, I will not look to Southwest first for my travel needs and I will not be as inclined to use my Rapid Rewards VISA card.
Not applicable
Not impressed. Sure it appears that there may be some other features and options opening up, but the program is way more complicated. It is no longer decided different from other airlines, but the same complicated mess. Bad move Southwest. You've seriously shaken my loyalty to your airline.
Not applicable
I LOVE Southwest, but this is neither simple nor rapid. You can't say with a straight face that this program will be better for your customers. I can see how you think it's better for you. But when so many of your customers are so upset, you might want to reconsider. We do have a choice of airlines, and we choose Southwest because we know our experience will be better than on other airlines. I'm starting to wonder if that's a priority for you anymore. Just because this program sucks less than other airlines' doesn't make it Southwest caliber.
Not applicable
I'm not yet convinced your new program benefits me. I've flown Southwest for all of my domestic flights for many years, and I never gave your competitors a second look. It may be time for me to look around to see how Virgin America or Jet Blue compare in terms of convenience and price.
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I totally agree with the above post and Southwest should just admit that they could not afford the old program. Please don't insult us with "the program was design to make it easier for you" We all can see that it will take many more flights to achieve what we had in the past. I have been A-list since it came out and still will do about 40+ flights a year, but the benefits will be greatly reduced. I certainly lament the loss of the great benefits I get, but I always had fisth in SWA to be stand up and admit waht they are doing. Come on Southwest be honest with us! You have cut the program back so just admit it.
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anonymous 12:25, DING! fares earn points at the same rate Wanna Get Away fares do=6 times the fare. Sandy 2, honestly, it's a little early to reach that decision. As an A-Lister you will earn points 25 percent faster than other Customers. And, if you only flew 10 more flights and qualified for A-List Preferred, you would earn 100 percent more points.
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Up until today, I have been thrilled with SWA's Rapid Rewards flyer program. I've been using SWA almost exclusively for the past 4 years (along with the credit card), and have been an A-Lister and Companion Pass holder for 3 years... For those of us that do a lot of regional flying, I agree with the first Anonymous post that this new way of computing Awards is a real disappointment. It remains to be seen whether the merger with Airtran will change my attitude about this program because the Airtran routes open many more long-haul cities and options to me in the Southeast that I've been using other carriers for. As for now, however, my immediate reaction is Rapid Rewards 2.0: More choices. More difficult. More expensive. Less rewarding. Welcome to a much more complicated way to move about the country.
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The old program was much simpler and was better for everyone who used SWA a lot and knew how to. The new program is based on dollars spent not trips. Hurts frequent fliers who use lower fares to get around. It looks like the others--blend between credit card programs and competitiors. sorry to see the old program go. I guess they need to do this to make money, reduce the number of free flights, free flyers taking up seats that they can sell. Black outs dont really fit in the formula for me--benefit that doesnt matter. The days of HERB and the unique and simple bite the dust!!!
Not applicable
I don't get all the negativity. This is great news. No blackout dates means no longer having to combine two free tickets to get a Freedom seat. Using their simulator, I have about 220k points in this system and would have earned Companion pass at 110k. In the current system I'm still 32 pts away from earning it. These changes all seem greatly beneficial to me as a business customer.
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I have always strongly opposed airlines points for miles or dollars systems as they can become quite complex and require lots of detailed planning to earn and use a reward. Therefore, I have been a very loyal customer to SW over the years flying them when at all possible. I loved the old SW system as it was easy to follow, and I knew what to expect with each flight I purchased. Now, SW is asking me to calculate more (will I earn 6x or 10x on this flight; my SW CC provided x points this month and with my go anywhere flight I'll earn x) and plan more (if I fly from Phoenix to Chicago before I take my Phoenix to California trip, maybe, just maybe ...depending on price....I could get my CA trip as my free flight). This is such a hassle! If this change is because of $$$, just tell me I have to fly 18 round trips to get a free flight instead of 16. I'm disappointed in the change.
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holy crap this is bad!!!!! way to suck swa. Seems like even the swabiz.com side isn't going to be very helpful anymore.
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So much for last minute free rewards flights. This new program stinks.
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You had a good program. Then you let a bean counter talk you into doing something that your customers hate. That's how other airlines started charging for baggage fees and earned their customers unending contempt. Looks like you're on the path to Delta.
New Arrival
What happens to drink coupons? Will we still receive them at some point threshold?
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I used to be a proud Southwest customer. Now Southwest is just like all the others. I'm canceling my Southwest credit card and finding an airline that actually cares about customer loyalty, not just the bottom line.
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your companies simplicity lead to great customer loyalty... customer loyalty lead to your success. you are moving away from the simplicity.... and your customer loyalty is leaving too Want your customer's LUV back? Don't turn your back on your loyal customers. The ones who have chosen you over the other (and I should point out here FAILING) airlines. Don't go down the path the other airlines picked. It is a slippery slope from complicated rewards programs to baggage fees and on from there. Keep being the (successful) outlier in the airline industry. We LUVed you for your uniqueness.
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This new rapid rewards program is pathetic!! I am a business traveler with a companion pass for the last 7 years, but it is time for me to fly....with someone else. Bye Bye Southwest Airlines!!! It was fun flying with you while it lasted!
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Most of southwest customers are regional hopper flights, unless you are doing consistent long flights with business cost you are loosing "points/credits" when compared to the old program. My purchases from now on will be extremely devalued when compared to the old system. I easily fly once a month in regional flights, but now it's going to take me 1.5 times as long to earn a "free flight" as an early purchaser. Before i could have purchased a seat with the free flight credit, AT ANY TIME, which is especially useful in case of emergencies which i have had to do in more than one occasion. I could care less about blackout dates, the only improvement they could have really done is make sure the points don't expire, the blackout dates would have been an extra. I am not at all happy with the new system and will be looking at other airlines for less expensive flights because the "rewards" value is not longer of value to me. Your goal before was to reward loyal customers, now you just reward based on dollars. I will earn just as many points, in terms of value, with SWA as with other airlines. The new system is not simple, not easy, devaluing, disheartening to loyal regional hoppers and quite frankly not wanted. I was greatly considering the SWA credit card but now i have 3 reasons i will never get a credit card with SWA 1) rewards system, not a fan and will not support it, 2) yearly fee, 3) chase bank (it's like the cherry on top). Great job of deterring frequent regional hoppers to use your airline SW, if that was your goal you've done a great job. Congratulations on becoming like every other airline. Apparently you've worked really hard at it to come up with this convoluted system. BTW, if you were loosing too much money you could have just upped the credits required for a free flight to 18 or 20. That would have been preferred rather than this new system you have come up with. You really need to work on your customer LOYALTY program that you've now screwed up.
Not applicable
since you're going towards being like every other airline does that mean i get bereavement fares and can put credits from my own non chase, non SW credit card towards flight purchases. These are serious questions, i feel like i need to know since SWA has turned into AA, UA, Jet blue, etc. ) do i need to continue the list.
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WOW. I am a TOTALLY devoted SW fan, I ONLY fly SW. However, this new "plan" is so freaking complicated and will be so difficult to comprehend, earn "points" and calculate how many points it will take to get a ticket, then based on what TYPE of ticket you want, and so on. My greatest joy was the simplicity of the old plan, you fly, you get a credit. No math, no calcutating, no comparing points in the bucket versus points needed for a leg on Business, etc. 4 more credits and I get my 3rd Ticket in the past 9 months, then it looks like I'm off to another airline where the money I spend, get's me a guaranteed seat. If I have to pay for fewer airline rewards, I might as well at least have an assigned seat. Sad, CJ
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Wow this change really reduces Southwest's value for me and reduces my confidence in them as a company. I always thought that they really valued ALL of their customers and not just people traveling last minute. I fly for business all the time and have rarely paid extra for my flight below the base fare. I was just raving about the benefits of Southwest the other day because of the RR program. Now that program is significantly less rapid and less rewarding, especially for short flights. Now the only thing keeping me flying Southwest is the bags fly free campaign, so if any other airlines realize the folly of their ways or I need a flight where I don't have to check a bag I will definitely shop around. I regularly fly from DIA to SLC and now it will take roughly double the number of flights to earn a reward that is worthwhile. Too little reward, too much time to figure out what it is. Way to celebrate 5 years in Denver, I guess you love us a little less than we thought. For me this is more hassle than it is worth and I have one less reason to fly Southwest...
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Count me as another disappointed A-list member. I really valued the simplicity of the SW award program. A simple formula for both earning and using awards and no calculations needed. I fly every week on short flights. I stopped participating in other airline award programs because the hassle wasn't worth it -- too slow to accrue miles, too complicated to figure out how many were needed to cash in. I've been a loyal SW flier for many years exactly because they weren't like the other airlines. With this change, they are just blending more and more into the pack.
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A polished cow pie is still a cow pie. The main selling feature of the old program was that it was EASY to understand and use! Now we'll never know when we have a free flight (nor know how much it will cost us) because the points change by the minute depending on market conditions and how many seats have been sold! And Lord forbid that last Wanna Get Away seat is sold before you can hit the "confirm" button. Now your points are worth half as much and you're paying an outrageously more expensive price for the Anytime. You compare it to the other airlines and say how much better it is, but at least I have a much better idea how much that ticket is going to cost me before I log on with the other guys. And those of you saying it's great because there's no blackout dates, just wait until you're trying to get a ticket on a flight where there's nothing left but a $600 Business Select and that Freedom Award that used to cost you two Standard Awards is going to look like flea market prices. You guys were a model for customer loyalty in my college business classes because you were in touch with the common man. You were "fun!" I REALLY appreciate that you "got it" when you held the line on bags fly free, but now with the newest changes to the RR program and unused travel funds not being transferrable anymore, I'm starting to wonder if you really did "get it." I know in business, Loyalty is extremely difficult to put a price tag on in terms of value. But SWA hasn't been profitable almost every year of it's existance from it's smart money managing alone. You offered a stripped down product for cheaper and the people came. You didn't try to nickel and dime us nor rob us blind for short-term profit, and the people have loved you for it. Now with the changes in RR and travel funds, we're seeing something we don't like. If you start losing market share for no explanation in the next couple of years, make sure to consider that you might have underestimated the value of your "Loyal Customers" which can't be bought back nearly as easy or cheaply as they were sold for.
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Folks, Before passing judgment, please go to our web page www.newrapidrewards.com and watch all the videos. I think a lot of you are unnecessarily complicating this. Once the system is in operation, southwest.com will show you how many points you will earn when you are selecting your flights. And unlike today, using points for award travel is much easier. You will be able to look at the purchase page and see the various prices available either in dollars or points. There will be no blackout dates, and as long as seats are available for purchase, you can travel use Award travel. I know change is difficult to accept, but please give it a try.
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I have flown SWA exclusively since 1998. Earned a Companion Pass for several years and now usually earn about 4-5 free flights a years. I have to admit my first reaction to the new program was very negative. I like simple and easy, and that's what the old program was. How many times did Rapids Rewards win the Freddie Award? That should tell you something! However, I trust Southwest and if they believe in it, I'll give it a fair chance. Initially I had doubts about their new boarding system and that has worked out fine. I just hope this doesn't start a trend of being like all the other airlines. The last straw will be baggage fees and assigned seating.
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What I keep seeing people say is "the old program was so simple" or "this new program is so complicated".. go to newrapidrewards.com website and watch the video gallery.. that explains it all simply.. the new program isn't complicated, it's just different. If you're one of the upset people on here.. are you upset because you think Southwest is trying to trick you or something? Because from every angle I've looked at it, it makes sense. Yes those of us who would buy 8 roundtrips at like 100 or 120 dollars and then redeem for a 400 or 500 dollar roundtrip are going to lose that cool perk.. but it was nice while it lasted.. Southwest has to make money to stay in business and not leave us with those other airlines that clearly don't care... don't go running off to those airlines because you're unhappy with Southwest's new program.. you're not going to get anything better! The new program benefits Southwest AND us customers. Quit resisting the change, it's going to happen, and it's going to be GREAT!
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I've recently moved down to San Diego and have been using Southwest exclusively was my airline carrier because of the many short hops that I fly between San Diego and Northern California. However, this change will make me no longer use Southwest exclusively, but just hunt for the lowest fare.
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THIS SUCKS. I have always LUV-ed Southwest and raved about the Rapid Rewards program to friends and family - but will not anymore. I never understood or desired to join any other airline's programs with their stupid, complicated and not-that-rewarding "point systems." Can't believe you guys are doing the points now. You've just lost a previously loyal customer.
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Southwest please do not insult the public by trying to sell this as a better program. Be honest it is simply a way to cut expenses and that is understandable but don't try to sell it as new and improved. I have been Southwest's #1 fan for years. I certainly wish I would have been invited to that focus group. This is a bad move your typically creative marketing department should be reprimanded for this bonehead spin. You can certainly expect to lose market share with the short haul business travelers who do not check bags.
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Just another "screw the customer" move on top of the last one: not being able to use travel funds for other members of your own family! Today's SWA leaders need to re-read "Nuts" to see how Herb built a successful airline!
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I'm pretty sure there's no increased benefit for a Southwest customer, unless you're one of the big-fare business flyers. They are apparently the only customers that Southwest cares about these days.