Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

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
I finally earned my first free trip in December 2010 with 8 round trips in 18 months. I always flew short to medium distance flights on WGA fares-7 Chicago to Long Island round trips, 1round trip Chicago to Pittsburgh-because that's where my business took me. Now I have lost all incentive to continue flying Southwest. I went from feeling that I was a valued customer to being a third-tier customer. If Southwest was worried about the financial bottom line or shorter distance customers like myself taking a longer distance free round trip, why couldn't they have done something like limiting the distance one could fly on the free flight? I'd be satisfied with another free round trip to Long Island. I hope Southwest will reconsider their Rapid Rewards revamp. It should look less like a corporate decision to drive loyal customers away and more like the company they have always been to the flying public. So much for that big heart logo!
Not applicable
I'm so disappointed in Southwest for this decision and will likely now switch most of my flights to another airline. I'm 1K with United and have been an A-List member with Southwest since the start of the program averaging 40-50 flights a year on SW. I use SW as short haul flights for my business with primarily wanna get away fares. I use my Award Tickets primarily as a last minute booking or to fly a family member to my home in Phoenix. This past spring, my award ticket allowed me to visit my cousins and their new baby in the hospital after the baby arrived early, With the new method, I wouldn't be able to afford the ticket. A few MAJOR problems I notice with the new program: 1) I'll have 8 Orphan credits when the program switches over. In order to get the 9,600 points to complete that Award, I'll need to fly about 18-22 more of my average flights. 2) Obviously the new math (if you mainly book Wanna Get Away fares) is 20 flights to an "Award" ticket (assuming that ticket is the same price or costs less than your average ticket price). With the bonus points I get as a United 1K member, I can basically already earn this on a Star Alliance carrier, get a airport lounge, get a TV on my flight, and likely also get upgrades to first. I am a business flyer--but my other program rewards me on the FREQUENCY and/or DISTANCE of my flights--not the amount of money I spend. 3) Loss of simplicity. I may be 1K with United, but I remained loyal to Southwest because I liked the simplicity and ease of the program. It was easy for me to earn rewards and to use them. I was able to book last second trips to visit family and friends. The new program requires a calculator and creates doubt. 4) The change in message and relationship from Southwest. This is my major problem. I LOVED LOVED LOVED how Southwest was different than other carriers. I loved how it was playful and fun and how it treated all the same (I'll admit that I did love that I could get A-List based on flying with them so much). This new model shows me A) they care more about what I spend than how much I fly, B) while they might not charge "fees" they care more about what I spend than how much I fly, C) while I've been a loyal customer with them for well over a decade, they care more about what I spend than how much I fly. See a theme? For me the trigger was when Kelly said, "the new program will get people to spend more on flights." That quote is insane and goes against everything I loved about Southwest. I'm 1K on United, but I NEVER book a higher fare unless i have to do a last second booking. The same is true on Southwest. The difference--United now rewards my loyalty, while Southwest rewards only my dollar. I've done the math. Before the change Southwest rewarded me so much better (it's one of the reasons I flew with them so much). Now, United gives me a better ROI and greater flexibility with awards. I'll still fly Southwest a few times a year when they might be the only connection that works between two business engagements, but they will no longer be my primary short haul carrier out of Phoenix. This makes me sad. Southwest changed this week and they failed. I'm going to start using them as my anecdote in business presentations about organizations that lost the core elements of what made them thrive. You may have recruited a fickle business traveler willing to spend more, but you lost a loyal client this week
Not applicable
Simply put - SWA you blew it. Herb would NEVER have done this. Continential, here I come!
Not applicable
The new program awards those that spend more ( or CAN spend more) of their companies Money. SWA organially started growing because of flying families. The lower fares allowed families to travel. Now that they have a larger portion of the air travel, they are turning to the business traveler to spend not their own money, but business money to pay for the fight. In these cases, who cares how much it costs? I fly exclusively with my family, I have no business travel. I put on over $150,000 on my SW visa each year and look forward to the free flights I get from using the visa card and beleive me, SW makes a lot of money off the visa card to cover any airfare reward I get. As a business owner, why would I spend more money on a ticket just to earn points faster, no matter how you slice it over an long period of time you still pay the same, but enjoy less flights. If you have $1000 to spend on any flight, and you have the option to pay $100 or $200 for the same thing, why spend $200? On SW did you get anything different then the $100 person???? This is not for the family traveler any more, good luck business traveler and good luck SWA.
Not applicable
In a word, Mr. Green, horsesh*t. Southwest is taking what was a very easy and straight forward RR system and turning it into the same convoluted mess every other airline has. Southwest's program was always nice because you didn't have to worry about distances, price tiers, etc. A reward = a ticket anywhere. If the program is no longer tenable, that's one thing. But if you're going to continue to lie and claim there is more value where clearly there is less, please stop.
Not applicable
January 6, 2011 Hello Mr. Kelly, I have read your awesome magazine commentary so many times, I feel as though I know you. Now for the bad part. UNBELIEVABLE! Words can't even describe how I feel. YOUR EXECUTIVE TEAM CANNOT BE SERIOUS! I hate to say it, because I luv your airline and have flown it everyweek for the last 20+ years. YOU HAVE NOW CAVED TO THE INDUSTRY NORM, WITH THE SO CALLED "NEW RAPID REWARDS". when I saw the email and the particulars, I thought it was a saturday night live skit. Flight rewards and redemption have always been so easy, fair and uncomplicated and the other "majors" hated it. You have not only ruined the benefits that I have seen for so many years of flying regionally in the southwest, but you have thrown up a softball for rebuttal from your competitors. You guys have done such a nice job at combatting the "bag fee wars", but i can only imagine the humor and ridicule from the other carriers once their marketing departments get a hold of your website, emails, and the vanna white explanation of points, credits, and multipliers. Truly comical! I have always gone out of my way to defend SWA and fly it no matter what, but I guess all good things must change. I feel like I lost a member of my family after all these years. Please reconsider this huge mistake, Southwest is a grassroots airline and thousands and thousands of fliers like myself have built it! Because of the benefits of your original rapid rewards program, I have stopped in many cities that i never intended, flown coast to coast on 737's when i could have flown larger aircraft, never had an assigned seat, much less first class. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! NOT ANY MORE! What a shame!
Not applicable
What a way to start of the year. I just converted all personal and business cards to southwest, then only to learn about this program and how southwest converted to a program like the rest. Simplicity was the reason i converted. Off to cancel all my corporate cards and personal card. Sorry southwest out goes your 5% credit card earnings on my annual spend.
Not applicable
Wow. Wow. Wow. It looks like his Brian Lusk guy is going to be looking for a new job soon. Dude, just because the new program has consumed your life for the last few years doesn't make it a good program. People will have their opinions. We will express them with our dollars. Do not sit on your high horse and tell us how great this program is or will be. We are smart enough as consumers to realize all SW is interested in now is the bottom line. Knowing that I'll just take my dollars elsewhere. The airport is full of other airlines to choose from and now I have a reason to try some of the others.
Not applicable
"Where have you gone Herb Kelleher? A nation of loyal SW customers turns its lonely eyes to you (woo woo woo) What's that you say, Mr. Customer? Herb has left and gone away - and new management is killing the airline he built today ... (hey hey hey)" Southwest was (deliberate past tense) an American icon in the airline industry. It differentiated itself on the basis of price and efficiency. And it rewarded all those little guys, the customers, who made it the airline that it became, our Greyhound in the sky. But as the major airlines have consolidated - American, Delta, United, US Airways - Southwest is able to be #5, equal the majors on pricing as they don't have to price cheaply to get customers anymore, and rather than continue to be the scrappy innovator Herb built, they can be a "me too" competitor. What next, Southwest? Customer service in India and the Phillipines? (Just for the WGA tickets...) We - the customers who built you - see through the marketing veneer and recognize this change for what it is: customers don't matter anymore and giving us less is okay. By telling us the new program is better, you're not being honest with us either. Just what we need - a frequent flyer program with the complexities and rewards of a cell phone plan. You've lost that LUVin' feeling SW. Help us, Obi-Wan Kelleher - you're our only hope ...
Not applicable
I moved to a Southwest city earlier this year from a Delta hub. I was so happy to be done with Delta. I currently need 4 more credits for my 1st rapid reward. I was planning on dumping my Delta AMEX card before paying the annual fee again in April and signing up instead for the Chase Southwest Card. My question is: do I rush and get the Chase Southwest Card right now? Will I get credits if I join before March 1st? It sounds like I'd rather have credits because I want to use my awards on coast to coast flights. How will the free flight work if I apply for the card after March 1st - will I be able to use it anywhere Southwest flies? I'm very confused.
Not applicable
I have been a SWA RR member for a long time. But as an old man, I have learned to look at life from both sides (sometime multiple sides). As the customer, I think that SWA must have known that this was going to disappoint people who have been members for a long time and take the time to study what information is available online at this time. The cost for the vast majority of flights is many times higher than the old program. Having said that looking at it from the SWA side, it must have been clear to the "bean counters" in Texas that the old program was costing way too much. So, we must have been getting a fantastic deal. No business can be successful if the plan "gives the farm away instead of selling the farm". So, to the person who "is selling their stock" ... I say you are not making a very wise choice but one from emotion. If LUV is going to become a more profitable company they will be sharing those profits with the stockholders. My guess is that you aren't one, just angry, hurt and mad at them right now. But with all of the changes to the program that will certainly result in a huge cost savings to SWA, ask yourself, why have flight attendants been very happy to tell me.... " I am getting a big raise because of the Air Tran deal". I am sure that SWA is not happy to hear that the information is being shared. Many travelers can still put 2 and 2 together and get the correct answer. I am not saying the workers are not worthy of an increase, but is it that they have to match pay at Air Tran? Does this mean that they were working for "peanuts" before? (pun intended) You know of course where the money for these raises will have to come from... That's right the US Post Office... all of those air mail letters they carry. They would never ask the paying public to cover the pay raises, right? The airline business is very tough and has been for years. I flew from Indianapolis, IN to Orlando, FL in 1967 for $150.00 one way, that year school teachers were earning around $4,000.00 a year. Today in south Florida, starting teachers earn $40,000 a year. Picking a random day in March of 2011 you can go to from Indy to Orlando for $77.00. (Hmm 10 times increase in teacher pay, almost 50%cut in cost of flight ) I know not all of the flights come out the same. For example, Nashville to Fort Lauderdale is 166.00 same time in 2011 and it is much shorter than IND to MCO but over double the cost. But, for those of you who like puzzles check this out. Fly FLL to BNA March 10. $166.00. Book FLL to DTW (Detroit) pick the flight with one stop and a change of plane in Nashville. $89.00. A second plane much longer trip, more fuel almost half the price, what is wrong with this picture? I guess I should not check bags and skip the connector. But there is probably some FAA rule or something that will get me in dutch with someone. I don't like the new program but remember the saying... "all good things must come to an end." Keep smiling and try to keep an open mind. Of course, if you don't like the radio station hit the scan button, if you are not happy on the plane; they tell us at the end of most flights "we know you have a choice...." Southwest has the problem that most companies have. Scaling the business and keeping it the customer experience at the same level as when they were much smaller. Easy to say in a quarterly / yearly meeting but very, very hard to do. I have been watching Southwest take a downward slide for the last 10 years in many areas. Some of them I feel are dollar driven some of them are people driven. It has been slow but steady. In contrast look at the other airlines, they have not been moving up the ladder. SWA is just sliding down to meet them. I don't intend to place fault it is just a matter of what happens in a business when you grow it so much. Any one of you who run a business know that getting an keeping quality people is the number one challenge in the this country right now. Southwest is not immune to this. Lastly, (if anyone is still reading this novel), if the people who have the job of selling this "all-new" program where under the "Pinocchio" spell, I think their noses would be around 5 foot long by now. Mr. Green Senior Director writes 1/6/11 "best of all we listened" and " and we truly believe that we have taken an award-winning program and made it even better". Sorry Mr Green really ... made it better..... that dog just won't hunt with long time members. I wonder if Mr. Green is still listening. I bet he is and I will also bet that he could have written all of these posts ahead of time, weeks ago. (of course this one he would have punched out in 50 words) Lawyers don't ask questions in court that they don't know the answer to and senior staff at large corporations know where the weaknesses are and where they can sell the strengths. SWA will be tracking the data carefully and consider changes but don't expect the new baby to be thrown out with the bath water here. It is a scientific fact that if you put 10 beautiful women in a line, one of them is the ugliest. Line up 10 airlines each of you pick the best one. Good luck. If you are wondering, (I doubt that anyone is) look for me on board SWA for now. The slide has not gotten down the the others level yet. I am not as happy as I once was but everything changes nothing stays the same... for very long. Back in the 90's SWA made fares low enough that a school teacher and a nurse were able to take their two daughters on flights to many destinations and made it possible for the girls to have visited the lower 48 before either graduated high school. And for that I am very thankful and will remain loyal to them. Best wishes to all for a "happy landing" where ever and with whom ever you fly. Tom of Sunny South Florida and places where I am allowed to park my camper.
New Arrival
As a SWA RR member for business every monday and friday; I will benefit from this new program ONLY because I fly so often in Business Select. However; If you must go forward with this transition I urge the following: 1) at least allow those RR members who are between the 0-16 points needed in the old system for a free flight to select whether or not they want to have those credits they have on March 1 transitioned to points in the new system; or continue on the old system til they reach 16. Example: I have 1.25 RR credits from one flight and don't fly anymore between now and March 1 because I don't like the new program. On March1; you give me the option to keep that 1.25 credits and earn 14.75 more for a free flight; or allow me to get the point equivilation on the new system when it starts since it will take a while before i get those 14.75 RR credits. 2) I hope you will learn from all of this feedback that before you make a change in any program relating to your customers; you send out an email or survey to all of your RR members so they can give feedback instead of basing your changes on what you think or what only a few of your RR members think will be good for them. 3) I have worked on getting a Companion pass for my wife and currently under the old program I have until July to get to 100 RR points. I have 56 currently. There is NO WAY i will get 44 credits between now and March 1; but I would have been able to easily by July. So why take this away from current RR members? Give them until their current time expires; even if it's after the launch date of the new program. Do the same with A-list. Many of us would probably live with the new program; not love it but live with it; if you would make these simple changes to what you have announced. I have always LOVED SWA. however; now you make me want to go back to flying other companies because you are becoming just like them!
Not applicable
It is disappointing that Southwest chose to insult their customers by pretending that you can earn flights faster under the new RR program. While I support changing the system from credits to points, the conversion rate is not equitable (the former system earned a free round trip after 16 flights, the new system earns a free round trip after 20 flights). It is probably too late to change this program, but I hope that Southwest will offer a one-time opportunity for passengers to convert their credits into points (rather than only allowing them to convert points into credits). In the meantime, I have already booked my next flight to Denver on Frontier.
Not applicable
The last two comments have this issue dead on. Honestly if you are going to worsen the program the least you could do is give us an option to shift old credits into the new points. Future customers will know the program ahead of time, but those of us who have been loyal fans through the many changes over the past few years are at an end of our optimism. You honestly are treating current regional flyers (your bread and butter) like crap!
Not applicable
Anonymous 16:10 WELL PUT!!!! People seem to have this huge problem with something they HAVEN'T even tried yet... If you think another airline will treat you the same as SWA... you're wrong.. so go ahead.. try UA, AA, Delta. etc... then come back and tell me how that went for you.. Loyal Customers??? Who?? apparently not anyone who has made a negative comment and those of you who have said you're going to another airline.. LOYAL CUSTOMERS dont abandon the airline they LUV just because they are making a change and you're unsure about whether it will benefit you... LOYAL customers stick it out and be apart of the change... I am a LOYAL customer and even though the new RR program HAS NOT started yet.. I still plan on flying SWA because I have flown it for over 10 years and I'm not about to go somewhere else and get treated like trash just because SWA is changing!!!
Not applicable
I've been flying SWA since they gave you cash register receipts as your boarding pass and since there were two ticket prices: one price for a day flight and another for a night flight (1977). I never remember being treated like we are now. How can they possibly say they have taken a great rewards program and made it even better? For who? Certainly not their loyal passengers! Only their bottom line. I deeply resent SWA thinking I must be stupid enough to believe their propaganda. Herb, we need you!
Not applicable
CREDITS currently in RR members accounts will remain credits until their expiration date... AWARDS currently in RR members accounts will remain in the account until their expiration date. and you will have a one time fee of $50 to extend that award for another year from the re-issue date. Credits will not and cannot convert into points, but points can convert into credits. and technically the new program will be faster and easier because to earn the A-List before it was 32 flights and with the new program its only 25 flights.. thats 7 flights LESS.... obviously some people dont know their math..
Not applicable
For those of us who generate our "free" travel with the SW Visa this appears to be a bad deal. I have tried looking at this from every angle and it just does not add up in any way. I was flying "free" back before the blackout dates and limited RR seats. You wanted to fly, you simply called them up and booked the flight. Now you have BLACK OUT dates and LIMITED seats available. I lived thru all of that and now they are changing the "game" plan again. It simply looks like it is going to cost more points/credits to do the same amount of travel. When I first started flying Southwest I felt as though it was the best airline and as the old saying goes. All good things must come to an end at some time. Well I do believe the time has come. Attn: Southwest my demographics are w/m age 54 married 3 children.
Not applicable
After a lot of searching on the web and time on the phone I finally found a blog that summarizes the new rapid rewards program really well in two articles (who will luv the new program) and (old vs. new SWA program) http://www.marsfrequentflyer.blogspot.com/ . It helped me figure out the future, the transition, and the key pluses and minuses of the new program. Removing the 24 month cut off is a huge one as all the kids in our family can slowly earn points and we can now use towards tickets. The new program does away with the buy $1000 in short haul tickets 8 round trips and get a $300 to $400 ticket WGA ticket deal, this sucks but the new program is still better for domestic travel than just any other airline. Flyer 11
Not applicable
Yet another screw job by SWA in less than a year! When will the bean-counting MBA morons who have overrun this formerly cutting edge company get FIRED?! It was NOT BROKEN, so why fix it?! In the race to try to squeeze a few extra cents from your loyal customers, you'll lose dollars when we LEAVE, or at least treat you on par with any other crappy airline. Why do all of the idiots running this company think that it is GOOD to be MORE LIKE THE BANKRUPT idiot airlines when it was that DIFFERENCE that made you so successful in the first place? I GET INFURIATINGLY DISGUSTED by the constant "this is industry-standard" rhetoric - WHO LOST THEIR MIND AT SWA?! DID ALL OF THE SENISBLE FOLKS RETIRE AND DIE?!?! STOP COMPARING yourselves to the BANKRUPT AIRLINE INDUSTRY!!! GO back thinking OUTSIDE of that destitute box like you used to do, not trying to get locked into it!!! Why do I want this moving target and 50% loss of value change? I DO NOT! You do, so that you can screw a few pennies out of us and dismantle a once great up-and-coming airline to be a bloated PoS like all the rest. The biggest insult is that your marketing idiots also think that we are all completely moronic enough to will eat-up the obvious LIE that this is some kind of "ENHANCEMENT" - I know from those spam emails hawking other "enhancements" that this is no less of a screw job and bad news in my INBOX. First you screw us out of our drink coupons, then you screw us out of being able to share our credits with others in our family or anyone, and now you screw us all truly royally with this total and complete dismantling, and the utter ruination, of an historic and award-winning airline rewards program. Good luck on being United, UA, Delta and all of the rest of the losers. I'll simply find the lowest fare and not care if it's SWA or some other idiot airline the likes of which you have now officially joined. In fact, I just canceled my next flight and booked it with Delta for $100 less - at least I know that they'll treat me as well as you seem to want to treat me these days, and my seat is confirmed. Good luck on your upcoming bankruptcy, which is another industry standard that you'll be seeing soon now that you've become just like the other big airlines. Your lack of bag fees will go next, but even if not, you're so much like the others, and the others have ways of avoiding same that it won't mean a damn thing. I've been using my SWA card like crazy for years, but I'll get my 16th point and bid you and your card a good riddance and spend as much, if not more, time on Orbitz and Hotwire as I do on southwest.com. You've lost your way with being DIFFERENT and by alienating your core, historical regional flyers. I sure hope there's lots of pharmaceutical employees who need to fly from Newark to SFO and LAX to keep you afloat. Somehow, I tend to doubt it, but good luck on courting them at the expense of your entire history and existing customer base of regional flyers, who now get a 50% markup on trying to earn rewards. Congrats to your useless executive team on a crew job well done and may you reap what you sow.
Not applicable
I love everyone who keeps saying that this steaming pile of trash is still as good as or slightly better than some other programs. Guess what? SWA used to be MUCH BETTER, not just a little. If they are only a little better, then I will only try a little harder to visit SWA instead of Orbitz, and my main motivator will be price alone, just like it has come to be for SWA. Loyalty to us is gone, so my loyalty to them goes liekwise Get real. This is a screwjob in its entirety and SWA STILL keeps LYING about it. If that's the company you think SWA should be, then you haven't flown them for more than 10 years and deserve what you get. The rest of us KNOW and will be LEAVING, just like Herb and Colleen and all of the others that made SWA what it *was* and which the MBA accountant idiots have RUINED FOREVER, in a just the last 7 months of horrible changes. Sad, but true...
Not applicable
At first glance, I'm truly disappointed with the new program. It's going to take ALOT more points for me to get from the Northeast to South Florida. I travel 4-5 times a year to the same place. Rarely have luggage beyond a small carry on for my laptop. Points are earned primarily via the three Rapid Reward Visa cards we have: mine, my spouse, and a business card. My travel dates are restricted to the busy school vacation weeks so even the cheapest seats are generally over $250 each way....even when I attempt to book flights mere seconds after SWA opens those particular dates up...the lower cost fares are taken. I almost always use a Reward Ticket (unless I score a cheap ticket- if that's the case, then it's better to pay cash for the flight and save the free ticket towards a more expensive flight). Now that I think about it: often times I have to double up from a Standard Reward to a Freedom Reward which essentially doubles my cost (in terms of points)- so maybe I should look at it from this perspective. 19,200 for one Standard Reward ticket, 38,400 for a Freedom Reward. My typical fare (each way) is at least $260...but usually $300+. That means I need 26,000 points for a one way ticket (assuming the middle, Anytime category and $260 fare). The return is another 26,000 points....grand total: 52,000 points under the new program vs. 38,400 Freedom ticket under the old program: I need 13,600 add'l points under the new program! Of course, I'll save 6,680 points if I'm able to book under the Wanna Get Away...and I'll definitely to try to book that way everytime from now on. But highly unlikely given the super busy travel dates I'm forced to travel on. Obviously I need to do more research and seek out ways to maximize the new program to the fullest extent possible. For now though, it doesn't look good for me.
Not applicable
Please clarify the companion pass rule for people who are currently close to earning a reward. I have worked hard to get almost 85 credits since last April. I am definitely on track to earn another 15 by April of this year. Under the new rules, must I earn those 15 credits before March 1? Or will I lose the credits for my loyalty last year?
Not applicable
I just came across a rewards calculator for the new RR 2.0 that is really easy to use, once you enter in the money you plan on spending on each ticket type, it lets you toggle back and forth between membership levels and ticket types to determine your reward value. http://www.marsfrequentflyer.com/Southwest.html Its very cool and worth a bookmark. Flyer 11
Not applicable
I would describe myself as cautiously pessimistic. From this presentation it looks like the number of points I would have to redeem to get a ticket would depend on the cost of that ticket. If so, I might need over 43,000 points to get a roundtrip ticket from Love Field to San Diego. Even considering the benefits of no blackout dates and the ability to travel in any seat, that seems excessive (although not bad compared to American's 70,000 miles to fly at any time.) Since most of my points come from using credit cards I'll wait awhile and see whether it makes sense to swtich from using my SWA card to my AA card for most purchases--although I do prefer Southwest and that counts for something too.
Not applicable
Clearly the new program will be most favorable to long-haul business travelers, and will actually have a negative impact on budget travelers. Southwest is steering away from an egalitarian approach to customer appreciation, but then the purpose of a business is to make money and this should draw in more customers who have more of it.
Not applicable
So I need 84,000 points to fly to Las Vegas from Love Field? ($840 x 100) Do I understand that correctly? Holy Cow!
Not applicable
I use the SWA credit card to earn my Rapid Reward awards. Currently, I have to spend $19,200 to earn a round-tip ticket (16 credits at 1 credit per $1,200 spent). I am using one of those awards to fly to Las Vegas next month. Under the new system it appears I will need to spend $34,000 - $84,000 to make that same trip (1 point per dollar spent, roundtrip fare $340-$840 x 100 points per dollar). Hmm.... I think I'll start using my American Airlines credit card again.
Not applicable
Time to step up to the plate and REALLY listen to your customers. DON'T MAKE THESE CHANGES!
Not applicable
this is so retarded. I can just imagine right now a bunch of second-tier MBA graduates at Southwest high-fiving each other over this.
Not applicable
i agree with the majority of the users. The biggest reason I have used SWA almost exclusively over the last few years is because of the easy to understand frequent flier program, and the fact that I could get a free flight within a reasonable amount of time. Now, I will go with whoever has the most convenient schedule with the least number of stops. The short trips I take frequently are not going to be worth what they used to be. Flying round trip ABQ to DEN I could get 2 credits (which appear to be worth 2400 points now). For those flights now, I'll get way less than 2400 points, because i always book far in advance to take advantage of SWA's excellent WGA fares. This new system doesn't give me any advantage over any other system anymore.
Not applicable
Hi Loyal Customer- Yes, you will receive Companion Qualifying Points for credits earned through Partners for the time period of January 1, 2011 through February 28, 2011 at the following rates: .25 (quarter) credit = 300 Companion Qualifying Points .5 (half) credit = 600 Companion Qualifying Points 1 (whole) credit = 1,200 Companion Qualifying Points Hope that helps!
Not applicable
Hi Anon, No, that isn't correct. Based on our current fares, you'd need 18,120 points to fly from LAS to DAL. You might want to check out our point simulator, which will show you where your points can take you across the nation. Check that out here and click on the red tab on the right: http://www.southwest.com/newRR/programOverview.do. Hope that helps!
Not applicable
The new program clearly has several good benefits like points never expire and no blackouts. That said, as a very frequent flyer with a Companion Pass for the last two years, I can honestly say that obtaining the same level of benefits, like the Companion Pass, will be impossible under the new program. SWA built so much of its legacy and loyalty with commuter passengers, like those that travel just within the state of CA from city to city. But it is clear that SWA is turning their back on this class of customers now. Sure there will still be rewards, but not to the same magnitude and scope as before. For example, my last two flights were essentially $150 Wanna Get Away rountrips. Under the new program, that is 900 points, but would be 2400 points (1200*2 rewards using the existing credit conversion) under the old program. Essentially, I need to fly three roundtrip flights now to earn the same "value" as the old program. SWA please remember who your most loyal customers are and make sure the new program does not adversely impact them. Working for a Fortune 100 company, a lot of us are struggling to find the true benefits of this new program. This just stinks of cost cutting!
Not applicable
I'm not happy about this. I just used the point simulator and this new program hurts short route flyers.....have you guys & girls at Southwest forgotten who made you so successful over the years? It was the short hop business and leisure traveler, not the long haul cross country flyer that prefers "full service" carriers. Now, you're going to take away the one program that was a big benefit to us...that was really easy and now you've made it difficult and unattractive. Who were the people you were talking to in your focus groups? Who conducted these market studies? Probably some consulting firm that was out to make millions of dollars off of changing and migrating the existing program. Who benefits from this change? Business & IT Consultants who will charge hundreds of dollars per hour to "help" you migrate your existing program over.....provide change management ideas.....and then tell you to hire a Marketing Agency to help you get the new message out and manage your Brand. It's too bad you didn't realize that the decision to make this change is HURTING your brand! Please tell me why I should fly you over Jet Blue, Allegiant, or US Air? You've turned off this flyer......I'm an A-List member for 2 yrs running and have flown over 80 times in the past 24 months......good bye.
Not applicable
For the last few years I have been telling everyone that SW is the last airline that treats you right. No fee for changing a ticket. Banking your funds for a year. No bag fees. Fun employees who really seem to like their job and appreciate your business. Then you take away the ability for me to give the funds from an unused ticket in my name to another family member or friend. "The government made us do it." Now you make it more expensive for us to earn a free ticket "because we asked you to change the Rapid Rewards program." What will be next? Bag fees? A fee for changing your travel plans? No refunds or banking of funds? Those of us in the sandwich generation [many of us are now retired and on a lesser income] who are helping take care of aging parents have been loyal to SW especially for the flexibility with our bookings. We have also been loyal because whether we flew from OH to TX or OH to Chicago we earned the same credit. A trip was a trip and we could earn a free trip without having to be a road warrior or spending a fortune. Now all that changes. The people being hurt with the new RR program are those of us who routinely fly on Wanna Get Away fares. It will cost us at least twice as much money to get the same free trip. I remember --- rear facing seats; your 30th birthday for which I wrote a song; using www.iflyswa.com and a phone number to match [that's how I call you all the time]; Set LUV Free campaign; 10 minute turns and getting there early so I could be first in line. You did a good thing regarding 'getting in line'. Thank you. Unfortunately, SW is becoming more like the other airlines bit by bit. If there is no difference, we might as well forget loyalty and just shop the price and take the non-stop airline rather than the connection with SW. If the bottom line is that you cannot afford to let us have the free ticket as often, then just say so and we can accept that you have to tighten your expenses just as we do. But do not insult our intelligence by telling this that it will be better for us. We do not believe you and we will leave.
Not applicable
As has already been pointed out by several commenters, the ones who lose out here are the short haul business travelers. I make 60+ trips a year back forth between Oakland and LA and I've been rewarded handsomely by Southwest for my loyalty. That's all about to change. The new system will halve my rewards. (On top of that, the number of daily flights has been cut dramatically. Perhaps that's what's allowed SW to keep fares high for the last couple months.) All in all, the new business model no longer caters to customers like me. (And based on the number of familiar faces I see on my flights, I'm far from alone.)
Not applicable
I've gone from denial to anger to depression and finally now to acceptance. I knew that SWA would need to change the Rapid Rewards program in some way once it went international, otherwise I could make 8 roundtrips from Dallas to Austin and then get a free flight to London or Paris! The new program will make it more difficult for me to get a free flight (in some cases much more difficult) and initially seems fairly complicated--perhaps easier to understand as a 10% credit dollarwise against a future flight, if you stay in the same tier. But with no black-out dates and no seats held back, plus no baggage fees, etc, I think that Rapid Rewards will still have advantages over other airline programs in most cases. And I would still rather fly Southwest.
Not applicable
Smart management would only have to look at the percentage of negitivity in these 150 blogs to reconsider this "improvement". I agree that the old system was far from "broke" the new system is not a "fix".
Not applicable
Thank you Southwest....and goodbye. I wish you all the best. But since you are just as expensive or even more expensive than the legacies, why should I continue to fly you when you just devalued my travel but something like 75%? I travel for business and never check a bag....stop throwing that "perk" up to me. I travel short hops on the west coast, it will take me years to get a free flight with your new scheme. I hear Virgin is nice.
Not applicable
As a frequent flyer, (weekly commuter for 5+ years), I feel these program changes are a very distinct change of direction as to the types of customers SW is looking for.  It is a dissapointment as the SW brand equity is diminished and as a frequent flyer I will look elsewhere when in the past SW was an automatic selection for me.  Already today I booked AA instead of SW as they were cheaper by over half on a KC to Phx flight.
Not applicable
Amazing post, do you have contact details ? I need a writer for my blog.
Not applicable
I AM NOT MAD, but I have some important comments. I am an avid elite traveler on SWA and AA. While I remain personally optomistic about the new program, SWA has gone from the most simple, to the most complex of frequent flier programs in the industry. Complex calculations are involved in both earnind and redeeming. While I don't mind this, I will say I fear the casual SWA traveler will be lost. THE BIG DOWNER? Under the old 1.0 RR, redeeming for last minute or within a few days of travel was easy. If ample empty seats were unsold, SWA was great to make the seats available with just a "standard award."...a good thing for both customer and SWA! Since these seats will now be available based on the available fare.....we all know these seats will be priced higher since it is less than 7 days prior to departure.....no "get away" fares, and thus no lower-point-redemption inventory. With only premium fare seats available, they will be a premium price in points to acquire. The result? Waste. We will not be able to obtain likely empty seats at a good rate, and this, will be a lose/lose for both SWA and Customer! This is the one part of the new program I feel is terribly wasteful. And I think it merits a modifation to the 2.0 plan.
Not applicable
This new program is an absolute disaster. I find that I am likely to save money under the new program - so I am probably in the target demographic - but it makes it impossible to predict when you'll be eligible for a free flight, so it does away with the best thing about the old program: simplicity. If they needed to make more money, they could have changed the number of flights necessary for a free trip - and if they were worried about long-haul vs. short-haul flights, I suppose they could offer double rewards for anything over a certain distance - but this new system is not more fair, it is just more complicated and less user-friendly. I am actually willing to pay more for cheerfulness and ease of use. I hate the new system with a passion.
Not applicable
The more rewards program from what I can tell stinks really bad. On other cards I can fly from Reno to Hawaii for 40k points. Southwest 104k. I used to fly to Ft. Lauderdale for 19200 points now 32K What a ripoff. My AA card let me fly around the world for 75K points. Reno to Rome 175K Are they kidding?
Not applicable
I have been a loyal customer / consumer of SWA for ten years. I frequently travel from PDX to LAS. Previously I needed 8 round trips for an award ticket, now I'll need almost 14 round trips...effectively a 74% tax. In addition, I was one flight away from re-qualifying for A-List (on March 4th), now I'll miss that benchmark because it will take me 74% more flights to gain my status! I will fly SWA exactly four more times; my return trip home, and three one way awards. Hello Alaska Air, here I come! Signed, Discontented
Not applicable
Bad move SW. Your RRs and A-Listers are your loyal base. You don't mess with your loyal base.
Not applicable
Have been a LOYAL SWA rapid rewards customer since the program's inception. The new system is a mess - there are no point totals- just a list of 'standard awards' (16) and another list says I have zero points. It's 10:30 pm and there is a 25 minute wait for to speak to someone. I have always been one of SWA biggest cheerleaders. Their system was fabulously easy to use but no more. They’ve decided to replace it with the new system which is nothing more than a thinly disguised shell game. I need a straightforward booking system and if I'm to continue using the RR credit card I need value; I don't see the value any or SWA’s trademark ease-of-use simplicity. They treat us like fools that have days to sit around figuring out what ‘shell’ the points are under, then another shell has the flight hidden underneath it. Forget it. I haven't flown ANY OTHER AIRLINE in 25 years. If they didn't appreciate our loyalty why should we continue to be loyal? I just booked another airline for an upcoming May flight. Maybe they are trying to get rid of some of us? Well SWA it worked in my case. I’m ditching the RR credit card as well. What good is it? Change is good but did you need to create an unworkable mess for us?
Not applicable
Shame on Southwest. All this deceptive, in fact totally false, advertising about the new Rewards program when, in fact, you can no longer use your reward tickets even though a seat is available. I just tried and got the "sold out" screen when neither flight was sold out and, if I had just over 66,000 points available, I could have booked it. So in other words, my free tickets, some of which expire May 2011, will probably go unused (surely SWA didn't anticipate this!!!). How can SWA continue to expound "unlimited reward seats" and "no blackout dates" when it clearly is not true! I am so disappointed in what was once a special airline. I will go out of my way to fly other airlines now.
Not applicable
This new program is a scam for sure. A flight from Nashville to Albany that use to cost a standard award of 16 credits now runs over 60,000 points. That would equal 50 credits based on the points I earn on my SWVisa Card. Sure you can get the super discounts where it may only cost you 30-40 thousand but you better be prepared to take the one flight at 6am or be willing to make 2 or three stops to get there. As soon as my last free ticket is used I will be canceling the VISA and never use SWA again!! Not feeling the "Luv"