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Rapid Rewards Followup

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Hey, folks!  We know that there is a lot of buzz out there regarding our announcement of the new Rapid Rewards program.  We have been monitoring Customer feedback on all of our channels, and we know there is some concern about what the new program will mean for our Customers. 

Rest assured, the new Rapid Rewards program is based on what our Customers have been asking us to change over the years, and it was very carefully designed by and responsive to an extensive set of Customer research and feedback from our Members.  With more understanding of the benefits of the new program, we feel that our Customers will ultimately agree that the changes make the program better. 

That said, we realize this is a big change for our Customers.  That is why we have developed a web site specifically designed to help our Members understand the new program and what it will mean for them.  We encourage you to visit www.newrapidrewards.com and see for yourself how the new program works.  You’ll find a wealth of information, along with some videos, that will walk you through the changes.  If you still have specific questions or concerns, please post below, and we’ll find an answer for you!

279 Comments
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Caution: It sounds like from the majority of the comments on this page Southwest will have a seat on every flight for a lot of a@@.........
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I have been a loyal SWA customer since I moved out to California in August 2006. Was I a huge fan of the seating system? Not really. Was I a huge fan that I could never get a direct flight? Not really. Was I a huge fan that there was typically unannounced stops on my route? Not really. However, I was BEYOND impressed with the rapid rewards program. Finally, a frequent flyer program that made sense! No matter where I flew, I got a point, if I booked using my SW credit card, 2! Even when fares were a bit pricier and the route was longer, I still chose SWA because of the quick (rapid!) way I could earn free flights, and while my choice of a bicoastal life style continued, this made seeing my family easy! Fast forward 5 years, and god knows how many flights later, and I find myself planning where I can go before March 1 to use my remaining vouchers so they don't get transferred over to this absurd program that only really rewards those spending the most money on tickets. I also find myself writing my final check to pay off my SWA credit card so I can cancel it, as the annual fee is no longer worth it, I've researched this new program, I've done the math- using approximate ticket prices of what I usually pay, as well as incorporating typical routes that I fly. What the math comes down to- it does not add up! I will now have to spend more money and fly more often in order to receive any kind of reward. This program only is going to be an improvement to those that fly business class, and I'm sorry, for business class prices I will go pay that at an airline with more frills, or at the very least a direct flight. I fully intend to go become a Star Alliance member and enjoy some of the better 'frills' of a different airline with a rewards program that will most definitely reward me sooner. Thanks for keeping the 'customer's interest' at heart...well any customer that doesn't throw down money on the most expensive ticket.
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I FEEL YOU HAVE TAKEN A REWARDING SIMPLE SYSTEM AND CHANGED IT INTO A COMPLICATED SYSTEM WITH MUCH LESS VALUE TO ME. I LIVE IN new york city and fly mainly to the west coast .I flew southwest despite the fact that other airlines fly nonstop which you do not because I like Southwest and I earned free trips faster than on uour competitors. Unfortunately, by my math, now I will earn free flights faster on your competitors, so unless your fares are cheaper which they rarely are anymore, I am better off flying nonstop on another airline. I hope Southwest reconsiders this change and decides to keep Rapid Rewards the way it was. Ithink this would be both in the customers and Southwests best interest. Thanks for reading this comment.. P.S. I also have the Southwest Chase Visa credid card, but I will probably not renew it as I do not think it will offer me good value anymore.
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I think I might have misjudged this program in my earlier comments. If I book $50.00 flights I receive 300 points each way. (600 roundtrip) If I book a reward ticket with a low fare it should cost 6000 points. That means it takes 10 roundtrips @ $50.00 for a free flight. It only gets better with higher priced flights. Why is Southwest not sharing this type of calculation. Am I missing something?
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I spent the day reading about Rapid Rewards 2.0.  Watching the videos, reading the web pages, using the simulators.  There's no two ways about this:  The new program is not nearly as beneficial for me and my family as the old one.  Moreover, if I want it to be as rewarding for me personally, it's going to require that I start spending much more money on my work and family travel.  And the bottom line is that my travel budget is not going to increase.  Not in a non-profit that is weathering the most difficult economic times in 80 years.  Travel budgets have been cut.  We're already being asked to do more with less.  In these tight economic times, it no longer pays to be loyal to SWA.  My exclusive loyalty to SWA is going to have to end as I become loyal simply to the airlines that can stretch my dollar the farthest.  Moreover, my wife and I are likely going to swap the SWA Chase Rewards Visa for a card that offers cash back so that we can start accumulating something we're more readily able to use than the "points" system you've replaced the credit system with. Rapid Rewards 1.0:  Straightforward.  Easy to understand.  Affordable.  Incredibly Rewarding. Rapid Rewards 2.0:  More choices.  More complicated.  More expensive. Less Rewarding.  I'm really disappointed today.  I loved being a Southwest loyal customer.  And I loved feeling appreciated by your company.
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How's this for a solution for anyone reading? Maybe Southwest should just eliminate their frequent flyer program alltogether and follow suit as the other airlines do by nickel and diming for EVERYTHING!! Oh, but wait, then you all would be complaining about that too! Hello people!! Southwest isn't like the other guys and you all seem to be missing the point. This is designed to help you and me, because collectively, over the years, we have complained about how the Rapid Rewards Program wasn't as accommodating as we thought it should be, so Southwest responded by taking the time to revise it. Does anyone watch the news, p.s.? Because I sure do and what I find is that the other carriers, whom most everyone on this blog is so eager to be in favor of, do nickel and dime for ridiculous routine procedures. Southwest doesn't! That is the difference folks. Here's the reality people: no system out there is going to please everyone, as is quite evident by the pessimistic remarks everyone feels the need to make. The bottom line is this. This is indeed a change. Misunderstood by most, I believe. Once the program is in place, though, I believe that folks will start to appreciate how it benefits them. Just be grateful, people, that Southwest ISN'T like the other guys. They don't charge for checked luggage, they don't charge for carryons, and they don't charge for aisle seating. The most recent, and probably one of my favorites, courtesy of Robin Meade on CNN yesterday, is that the other guys are going to start charging to talk to an airport representative. So come on, people...relax a little! Be glad Southwest isn't doing that, nor will they ever! Be grateful Southwest is different. Things like that will never change.
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wow, there are a lot of toys getting thrown out here. I am a regular Southwest flier and will easily make A list preferred. My question is, will my 82 flights in 2010 translate to A list preferred status on March 1 or will I only be able to start earning towards preferred on March 1? I generally fly short haul PHX-SLC . Having sat down and compared the new plan with the old plan and what I could earn on Delta, the calculation came out quite simple. The new Rapid Rewards still provided me more free travel than Delta with less restrictions. Those first class upgrades and 25000 awards are an elusive beast on Delta so I'll be sticking with Southwest. The one area of this roll out that is not at all clear is the changes to the credit card program and these options to cash in points for hotels, cars, international travel etc. I have seen no information at all on how the credit card will change. As the card appears to have a much bigger role in the new rapid rewards I would have expected Southwest and Chase to have simultaneously made the announcements. Left in the dark and wondering about what is happening there. Someone dropped the ball on that one.
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I always considered SW to be an airline that respected all their fliers--not just the high-paying business travelers that all the other airlines cater to! However, little by little you've shown that you're just like all the rest. This recent move only proves it! And if you were trying to make your Rapid Rewards Program as confusing as possible, congratulations! I think you've done it! Shame on Southwest.
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This post is why I'm so frustrated with Southwest right now. Do you think I am an idiot? I totally researched the new program. I did the math (which you have to do a lot of with your new program due to its complexity) It DOES NOT BENEFIT ME. It is a SIGNIFICANT value decline. Unless I spend a TON more money on your airline, this new program hurts on all accounts. I am a short haul business traveler who primarily books Wanna Get Away fares. Southwest, you are becoming more and more an example of a Corporate Blunder. btw--I've been a A-List Member with you since the program began. I fly on average 40-50 flights with you a year. I NEVER received any questionnaire about your program. You do realize you are going to lose about about 80-90% of my business with you on the new program. Remember, I did the math. It makes more sense for me to book on a Star Alliance carrier where I already am 1K on United. I kept my allegiance to you because I liked Rapid Rewards and your customer service. This new program just showed that both of those elements are quickly fading away.
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Am I missing something? I see posts on anothher board that the 737-800s SWA is acquiring will be ETOPS certified. If true, that opens up Hawaii, the Caribbean, and maybe some other possibilities. That would be good news. How did SWA let that news get overshadowed by the Rapid Rewards disaster??
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the reason i choose Southwests frequent flier plan years ago was you could book a trip using a reward for travel same day or next day without paying addition reward points to business traveler that is huge. you could use less points now and make out better if you book everything 6 months in advance with the new program but who wants to do that. i understand fuel is up and passengers are flying and there is less seats available and southwest needs to make a change but the could have just upped the points to earn a reward. for those who don't know every time they make a change its in there favor the program was better 5 years ago then it is now and five years from now it wont be as good as today. that is why new airlines will be created in the future . capital one has better programs now and you can fly any airline and get better reward dollars. i already have a capital reward card have had it for years and there program is better then what southwest will be giving us.
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Although the new system is significantly more complex I appreciate that it rewards more expensive fares with more benefits. It only seems fair that someone spending more on a ticket earns more back than someone booking inexpensive Wanna Get Away fares. I anticipated changes, but didn't anticipate the extension of CP status -- an unexpected bonus that has motivated me to up my earning. I will complete 100 credits toward Companion Pass status this month and appreciate Southwest honoring CPs earned in 2011 through the end of 2012. I look forward to using my awards and $500 in Southwest gift cards earned through the Rapid Rewards Visa. I hope everyone who leaves enjoys the legacy service and regional aircraft from legacy carriers (with any luck existing Companion Pass and A-Listers may be able to get a status match) but as for me I'll still be enjoying Southwest 🙂
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Just simply disappointed. There big push on TV ads etc is "Bags Fly Free" When was Gary Kelly on one of his own plane? I fly like a bus up and down the east coast from Manchester to Orlando at least once a month.... I always sit in an isle seat. the amount of luggage people bring on. I can't tell you the last time I checked a bag. It has nothing to do with the cost Mr Kelly... most of us loyal customers fly for the perks that mean something and th old Rapid Rewards Program meant something. Now you are nothing but another airline. I don't know one other carrier who charges individual points to buy a ticket based on cost. You are treading in new unchartered waters I really think you are going to drowned. See I always could fly for less on other airlines but it was you perks that kept us loyal for all these years. You price of lowest fares from the Boston area to the Orlando area are not the lowest in the market. I think Gary Kelly should come out from under the rock he must be living under lately. You don't burn the people who have been loyal to you ... we promote you busines with free advertising.....word of mouth. I have always suggested on SW to my friends, family and business.
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The great thing about this forum is that you guys can fix this before it ever gets out of hand. DITCH THE "NEW" RAPID REWARDS. The previous posters are correct. Please learn from the coca cola people. This could be one of the biggest marketing blunders in corporate history.
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Brian, My one concern in this transition are the left over credits earned before the switch. I currently have 3.25 credits...and will likely have around 8-11 when the transition happens. If SW feels that 1200 is an appropriate conversion in that we will have to earn 1200 points to finish off a free flight, why not also offer people the option to convert remaining credits to 1200 points each? As for the new program itself...I am not going to hold it against SW for creating a system that rewards people more for their dollars spent. While the new system will not be as useful to me as the old one...I think it is still better (more useful to me) than any FF program offered by the legacy carriers (though having never used a Legacy's FF program before, I will have to investigate). What does bother me though is how long it will likely take me to finish off my last free flight under the old system. I only buy WGA fares for personal travel. Usually from $60-$150 one way from STL-AUS or HOU. Since those routes usually run around $120 its going to take me over 16 flights to finish off the my 16 credits. I am fine that SW is making the switch...I just wish they either would give the option of converting already earned credits to 1200 points or that they would have given more than the less than 2 months notice for people trying to earn that last credit. Also while I'll continue to fly SW under the new program (and keep the SW Chase Visa)... I may stray to other airlines when their fare is cheaper. And if any airline (including SW)starts a non-stop STL-AUS route.
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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!
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Hey, Brian--regarding your answer to me that you can review below where you state "you would have earned 6,840 points". All unused credits should be transferred at the appropriate point conversion. It's unfair that we're each going to lose out on 5,640 points EACH! You're the ones who changed the program so we shouldn't be penalized! Angry doesn't begin to describe how I feel right now. I'm always suspect when a company tries to say they're making changes for their customers' benefits when it really means they're making changes for their own benefit! I don't begrudge SW making money--certainly that's why you're in business--but don't candy coat unwanted and unfair changes to try and make your customers believe you're doing it for us! We know better! "strikeapose, you have hit upon the biggest inequality in the old system. You are right, you would have earned 6,840 points for each of you, due to the amount of money you paid for your recent trip. However under the old system, a flight credit was the same no matter if you paid a $29 one way fare or $465.40 like you did. The 1200 points per flight credit is an average value of the old system. With the new system, you earn based on what you pay. Brian Lusk — Fri, 01/07/2011 - 14:55"
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Are you kidding? I write math textbooks for a living and this exceeds the most complex problems we offer to math students of any age. I predict profound distress among the customers who continue to fly with you
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strikeapose, I musunderstood the intention of your earlier post, and I am sorry. Since you flew under the old system, there is no way to capture that Anytime Fare at the new systems value. It simply didn't track it. Your situation illustrates the lost value in the old system. You paid more than many folkd, but you earned the same as someone on an hour flight with a $29 fare.
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Brian--thanks for your quick comment. You say there's no way to track my flights taken in December and January so I could be given the appropriate number of points, but guess what? I've still got copies of my confirmations from SW showing exactly what dollars were paid and what fare category was paid? So, it could be done! Now what do you say to that?
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P.S. Brian--I do not have a problem with a rewards program based on the frequency of flights versus the dollars spent. That doesn't bother me. What does bother me is the conversion of current unused credits that will be transferred at an unfair rate in some cases. Your rationale doesn't make much sense. Shouldn't I then be very angry about the customer who has a credit for a $29 fare and will get the same 1200 points that I will for an $829 fare?
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The way I see it is a lot of people are upset that they wont be able to book last minute flights without having to spend more points as opposed to the old system they would and it would still spend one standard award. From my experience trying to get a last minute flight with a standard award is almost impossible, all the seats available are always used up if I try to book last minute. with this new program I can buy a rapid rewards ticket the day of travel; sounds good to me at least now I'll have the choice to make last minute flights. Also people asking if there flights from 2010 transfer over to the new rapid rewards the way I understand it, I think they do. Flights from march 1 2010 all the way to march 1 2011 all go towards the new rapid rewards. Not only that if my companion pass expires 3/1/11 its extended to 12/31/11? thats great! I see a lot of positives in this new program! Russell A.
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If its too confusing to understand they have entire groups of people just for answering questions about the new rapid rewards program, give them a call and maybe they can help you they helped me understand it 1-888-792-7823 or call 1-800-445-5764 or even 1-800-435-9792 and press the button for the new rapid rewards program
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I'm trying to calculate if the new Rewards Program is comparable to the old program but I think I may not understand it completely as my calculations are not adding up properly. Currently I purchase a round trip each month for $400 on the Wanna Get Away plan using my RR Credit Card (no hotel or car rental needed). If I understand it correctly, that means I receive 800 points (for the credit card) and 2 credits (for the round trip) each month. Every 3 months I receive 2 credits (2400 points) from the credit card, and 6 credits for the three round trips for a total of 8 credits. Therefore I would need to fly for 6 months to receive 16 credits and then a free round trip. If I read the new plan correctly, with the same monthly $400 flights I would receive 800 points with the card, and 2400 points (6 x $400) for the purchase for a total of 3200 points a month. To purchase a $400 flight I need 24,000 points (60 x $400) so it would take 7.5 months to earn a free round trip. Currently I don't understand how this new Rapids Reward is "better than ever" as I believe am getting fewer points for the same trips, it will take 25% longer to get a new flight, not to mention it costs more points to fly free if rates increase seasonally. Will I be earning points elsewhere that I am forgetting? Currently, I do purchases on the credit card (but not the hotels/cars/vacation items that are newly partnered) but since I am getting the same points on those with both programs I don't see how it is beneficial. If I were to use the mileage program that this comparison video discusses, I would earn 5000 miles per trip, therefore it would take 5 months to reach 25000 but I wouldn't be able to use Southwest whose service I have grown to love. I really hope I am miscalculating this as it really seems like this is detrimental to all of Southwest's customers.
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I am extremely disappointed to see that Southwest airlines continues to move toward becoming just like the other lousy airlines. The things that made Southwest unique are one by one going by the wayside. Southwest has been my immediate and extended family’s top choice (and more recently exclusive choice) for travel for many years. We have consistently gone out of our way to choose Southwest even if the price was higher or even if we had to drive long distances to and from airports in cities served by Southwest. I, and my company, have also chosen Southwest first for business in the past because of the flexibility and simplicity that made Southwest superior. Even as a private pilot, Southwest has always been my number one backup for travel plans when I elect to fly my own plane. Recent changes (just to name a few) such as fewer direct flights, ticketless travel fund expiration date changes to itineraries, persons listed on ticketless travel funds being the only ones able to use the funds, drink coupon expiration, and now the overhaul of the Rapid Reward program are frustrating and unwanted . As a member of all of the other airline reward programs for the past 30 plus years, I have seen and experienced many merged, revised, failed, and ultimately useless programs and worthless miles. Southwest was the one airline that I had come to depend on. Don’t mess with success, or be just another airline like the rest that I may not choose in the future.
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Hey Southwest, here's a "DING" for you: About 5% of these posts favor the new rewards program, about 5% are neutral, and about 90% are strongly negative. Worse, the majority of the negative posts seem to be from your long-time loyal, frequent flying, A-list customers who indicate they will start migrating to other airlines and will cancel their SWA credit cards. It's a happy day for your competitors, as they revel in what may be one of your biggest blunders ever. Why? You're not rewarding us for being frequent fliers anymore. You're not even rewarding us for the distances we travel on your airline. Instead, you have created an incentive system (and a very complicated one) for people to buy higher fares. That's all it is, and your sugar-coating is insulting. And who are all these customers your surveyed? Must have been that 5% submitting the favorable posts. I accept that improvements were needed in the reward system. I accept that you need to control costs wherever possible and remain profitable. I accept that change is necessary and not everyone will like it. But the majority seem to feel, as I, that the new reward system is a very bitter pill to swallow. It's a real slap to the face of loyal frequent customers. I expected better from SWA. Nuts about SWA? Not anymore. There are many things I liked (past tense) about flying Southwest. I liked that SW seemed to really care about me as a person. I liked being appreciated and rewarded for being a loyal frequent Southwest customer. I liked that my A-list status gave me priority boarding and access to the bin space, because as a business traveler, time is valuable (but, I can get priority boarding on other airlines also). But, I have noticed, more and more, your fares arent very competitive anymore. The majority of the time, I find cheaper fares with your major competitors. But, I had continued to fly SW and pay the higher fares, because there were enough other incentives for me to do so. But now, you have changed the equation again, and it doesnt add up in favor of Southwest anymore. There really isnt much left that separates you from the other airlines. It was nice doing business with you all these years, but its not anymore, and now its time for me to move on. Your competitors, even the low frills ones, have a lot of worthwhile perks that you dont provide.
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Yes strikeapose, you are tracking your info, but we would have to do that for the millions of people who flew us last year. Do we just do December, then folks in November would be upset. You have to have a start date at somepoint.
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I'd think if you had a sophisticated program you COULD track past flights. Furthermore, I have a suggestion. Why don't you just scrap the new program since it looks like the majority of your "former" and die hard loyal passengers dislike it and just leave things the way they were? That would alleviate all the problems!!! Again, it's obviously not for our benefit but for Southwest's!
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What I used to love about the Southwest Frequent Flyer Program was the simplicity. The new program requires much calculation. This new program benefits the Business Traveler who spends much more than people, in this economy, looking for a good deal. Regarding getting credits on my Visa account, the old program is $1200 per credit. 16 credits gets a free trip which equals $19,200 of purchases. New system is $1 per point. If I was going to Washington D.C. from Phoenix using "wanna get away" it would cost around 30,000 points which means $30,000 worth of Visa purchases as compared to $19,200 on old plan. Unless Southwest offers more than $1 per point on Visa purchases, this new plan is a great disappointment. Southwest used to be for the "regular guy" now it's all about big business.
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So Brian Lusk says "Herb has told us if you don't change, you die!" Wake up people! It's 2011! If Southwest Airlines doesn't do something to bring that stock price up, they die! Have you flown on those 'other' airlines recently? How many fees have YOU paid? I thought so! Rapid Rewards seems like it will change, whether we want it to or not. Your rent is gonna go up. The price of gas will increase. You're gonna get older! It's gonna happen! So - complain if you want - but I've been on those full flights of Southwest and I pay all different types of fares - so I am probably right in the middle of "points" - but it doesn't matter. Like the web site tells you - the website does the math for you! Who said you need to figure out math - y'all are just doing that because you want to compare the OLD program to the NEW program. I don't even think it's apples-to-apples at this point. So - stop wasting your time! I think Southwest has good intentions - maybe a few tweaks here or there, but then again - I would like to tweak a lot of things in this world! Good job Southwest for remaining fresh, new and different! I would be sad to see everything stay the same year after year. Part of the reason for me flying on you!!!
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I think that we will find that the new program will benefit some and hurt others. It depends upon one's flying profile. The general reaction to something new that replaces something that is already popular is likely to be negative...fear of he unknown, etc. There was a comment that the new program needs to be spelled out more clearly and simply. Nobody can disagree with that. For instance, how is a "tier qualifying point" different from just a plain point? Each of us will have to do the math using our own actual numbers after there is a clearer understanding of how to do that math. Some will cheer; some will howl. The old program had it high points and injustices as well. If the new program works out, then great. If enough people think it's awful and take monetary action to speak with their wallets, then changes will likely be made. Until then, Southwest has mostly done right by its customers and is due a little leaway in the trust department. Just remember the attitudes of most of the other airlines compared to SW. The facts will speak for themselves when we all understand them.
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Please keep posting - Southwest needs to hear from you - and - it's a sad day for Southwest on March 1st - the first day towards their filing for chapter 11 and going under, like other airlines. On March 1st, I’m no longer committed to Southwest. Sorry. And Brian, I’m not hiding or being anonymous - Eric Gale - Strafford NH
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yea Jeorge @ 1937 - blah blah blah. I see you must fly anytime fares all the time. Good for you! Is your head in the sand? Southwest is going to be in trouble.
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Is it true that agents that answer the 1-800 line are graded on their talk time? And they get in trouble if their time is higher than the average? I have noticed that you are changing who can use credits (funds) at the end of the month, you are changing the RR program and now I find out that your phone reps have to limit their time on the phone if they talk to long?? You really are like the other airlines, I think things went down hill when Herb retired.
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I hate to join the chorus of Boo's for the new program but join it I will. My A list membership is set to expire in April 2011. I just completed my 32nd flight since April 2010 which is supposed to qualify me for another year on the A list. As I read the rules of the new program, I've just wasted 32 flights as I will be treated as if my A list membership expires in 2011. Thanks a heap. . . . It is a bait and switch unless I'm missing something.
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I have been loyal to Southwest for 15 years. Regarding this new and exciting frequent flyer program.....I will be canceling my SW credit card and look elsewhere for flights. This exciting new program has blown my loyalty.
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Up until now, Southwest was the ONLY airline I flew for both business and pleasure travel. I am now seriously considering other carriers. Your fares are creeping upward and you are no longer the least expensive option in many of the markets you serve. And now, by changing the terms of the Rapid Rewards program, you are doing your loyal customers an injustice. Hello, Marketing folks: There is still time to cancel this nonsense and keep folks like myself from making the switch.
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I am also highly disappointed with the new Rapid Rewards program. The new system requires all passengers to fly more flights than the current system in order to earn a rewards ticket (for instance, assuming the ticket price is the same for each flight it would take 10 round trips to earn a free ticket, rather then 8 round trips under the current system). Also, the new system penalizes passengers for booking reward tickets at the last minute (even United does not penalize passengers for this). For example, United Airlines will always charge me 25000 miles for a free domestic round trip, regardless of the actual price of the ticket. Southwest, on the other hand, will probably charge me extra miles if I redeem points for a flight at the last minute. This is because Southwest fares (like other airlines) usually increase for last minute purchases. In turn, a flight from Denver to Seattle might cost 12240 points if purchased in advance, up to 60000 points if purchased at the last minute. Unfortunately, only Southwest benefits from the new Rapid Rewards program. While Southwest is "Dedicated to Denver", these changes make United's mileage program a much better deal for business travelers.
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I think Southwest missed the mark in a lot of ways on this change. (1) Too complicated (2) Not addressing some obvious elite benefits which other airlines have - preferred boarding for companions, and free same day stand by. (3) Killing last minute redemption - even on flights that may be half empty. The loss of any reasonably priced redemption within 7 days of the flight is the killer for me. I have been A-List of Southwest and Premier Executive on United for the past couple years, but based on this it looks like there is no choice but to move all my business to United and become a 1K there. Adios Southwest ....
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hey southwest, what were you thinking? i have read through these comments (the good, the bad and the ugly) and i think it's pretty obvious that the vast majority of your customers think you really screwed this up. i, too, am a casual flier...2 or 3 trips per year. i also have a sw visa card that i rely on for my rr points. when i receive a free trip i am thrilled! mainly because it JUST HAPPENS!!! i don't need a master's degree to figure it out. it's simple and straightforward and, with everything else going on in my life, i don't want to have to calculate my award. so here are my main suggestions: 1) please do not insult me by saying that you know what is best for me in the long run. your new program may benefit YOU but i'll be looking elsewhere. 2) as you are aiming to entice more bu$ine$$ (not a typo) travelers, you will lose your loyal casual travelers. you will become just like all the other airlines, not the one that has always stood out in the crowd. 3) you say you are making these changes in response to what customers have been asking for for years. doubtful. read these responses. PEOPLE LIKE WHAT THEY KNOW. 4) if it aint broke, don't fix it.
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I think southwest is forgetting its roots. By making flights affordable for everyone they changed the game for everyone. Changes to the RR program really cater to the bigger spenders. All us loyal peons who fly infrequently on lower fares will never qualify for much. RR was the only program that anyone could qualify for perks. It had to happen, now we have another legacy carrier, catering to business travelers and treating the rest of us like freight to fill up the plane.
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to Anonymous 2:19 thats not true, the agents are not graded or even given average talk times they are on the phone as long as the customer still has questions and or concerns. I'm sure what it is, is that the company doesnt want people having hour long conversations about the customers thirds sisters wifes uncles nephews marrital problems. But as long as theres a real question they'll help as long as it takes. Also if you call the 1 800 line they have reps thats are dedicated to just answering questions about this new program if somethings too confusing give them a call and they can help you out. I dont think any other airling would dedicate entire groups of people just to anwer questions about a change!
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I feel like I'm breaking up with my best friend. I have NO brand loyalty to ANYTHING except for Southwest for the last 5 years. I paid more, dealt with multiple stops or layovers, I didn't complain when you canceled flights or anything. But now I'm trying to complain and feel like no one cares and Southwest is not listening.
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As a Wanna Get Away (WGA) flight taker I am punished with the new system. I fly both long and short flights exclusively with SWA. I KNOW that WGA fares can go up and down, sometimes a $59 sells quickly and becomes a $89 flight. I UNDERSTAND that RR program as is might have been too "Rich" with benefits, but no I have no benefit, as while I might be able to get WGA flights cheap, Phx to LGA and Phx to Den, if I want to to redeem Phx to San there is a good chance it will cost me as much if not more because those flights are rarely as discounted as Phx to Den! So even though I flew LONGER flights I will pay more in airfare to get the Phx to San RR ticket. Plus the value of my RR ticket will change Day by Day. You say DING fares will apply, do DING also apply to RR tickets? What happens if I buy a RR ticket a one rate then it goes on a DING? Do I get those credits back? I just HATE the game. I never had to play a game with SW, unless it was to get the cheapest fare, and I always flew you without looking at your competitors, because of RR. Now, I have no loyalty. I will fly whatever airline has the cheapest price, and I guess that is what many of us are most upset about, before we were rewarded for our loyalty, and now, if we don't fly B.S. you don't care about us. Many people have brought up the "abuse" of the system before, well Do you think B.S. folks are going to use their RR tickets to buy B.S. seats? Heck no, they will use their credits earned at twice the rate to buy the WGA fares under RR. I understand their had to be a change, so make it 10 RT flights to get a Free one... but why make it SO complicated???
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Pam Stuart, I can't tell exactly from what you write, but if you have the one A-list about to expire in April but have enough credits for the second one, you will get an additional A-List. Our Marketing Folks tell me that they will review your travel history, which will help determine the type of expiration you would receive on the new pass.
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Brian, What many of us are upset about is you trying to sugar coat everything and make it seem like this new program is going to be great for EVERYONE. You have got to know that your core base is like myself. I mostly travel relatively short business trips two or three times a month. I also have to book the cheapest available fair. At least admit that for those like me, these changes are going to mean less free flights for me. We all know the hard core business traveler is not flying Southwest. They are traveling airlines where they can get to sit in first class, and typically fly longer routes. Yes, you are rewarding the people that fly longer flights and pay more money, but those are not your core customer base. Those are people that fly for vacation once or twice a year. These are not people that are racking up flights. I think Southwest came up with this new program because most of their rapid reward members were racking up a lot of free flights from flying short trips they wore paying as low as $50 each way for, and it was starting to hurt you on the bottom line. You see, I could understand that kind of explanation. It is insulting for you to try to tell me this system is better than the old one. As far as being able to use your points anytime, it's really a moot point. The cost of the last minute flight will be so expensive, you probably won't have enough points to buy the ticket anyway. I never had a problem redeeming my flights under the old system. My Grandmother recently passed away. She died on a Saturday, I was able to use a rapid reward to fly out the very next day. The ticket would have cost me $360 dollars. If I'm not mistaken, that would now cost me 3600 points to use that same rapid reward. The conversion for a current reward is 1200 points. That doesn't sound like change for the better for me. All a lot of us are asking is to just be more up front about why you changed the system. Don't insult us by telling us it is going to be better for everyone.
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I, too, am a very disappointed loyal SW customer. Exclusively flown SW since 1993, Chase RR user, A-List, Companion pass holder for 8 years. Have six kids that are SW flyers also. We use your airline for everything--weddings, graduations, grandchildren, etc. These trips, made possible by RR flights, will simply not be possible in the future. You are stopping the use of RR tickets for last minute flights to be of service to other people. I beg you to re-consider and at least tweak some of the issues that people are concerned about. I have a masters degree and this is way too complicated!! I own SW stock and have loved the books NUTS. It does really feel like you have lost your way recently. Don't try to be like the other airlines. The freedom you so boldly say you give to people to move about the country is being lost!!
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so frustrating first no American Express partnership and now the changes to the RR program. I am taking my frequent flights between PHX and BWI to Delta through AMEX
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I knew from the second I saw the PR campaign of how EXCITED Southwest was to announce this and what a GREAT improvement it was that I was in trouble. This has taken a simple program and completely ignored what made it so successful. Anyone can see that there were valid inefficiencies for length of flight - OK so address that. Give rewards based on flight length. But to lay out this crazy analytical system of divide by this, multiply by that, times1.4, divide by 1200??? And to think a hundred millions dollars could convince southwest that this was a good thing? A company that has lost sight of their reason for success - their Customers. The biggest loss I see is in point redemption. Yes they say no blackout times BUT by making you redeem a ridiculous amount of points for a seat is in effect - blackout by a different name! I often would use my reward tickets to buy a last minute ticket when the price had gone through the roof. I assume Southwest had that ticket available because the flight was not sold out - win/win. Now to get that same seat I will have to redeem a crazy amount of points. So from a person who is dubbed the Southwest Queen by family and friends, you have done what I did not think possible. Lost my loyalty. I just checked travelocity for my future flights and guess what! They are exactly equal to SW in cost. I did not know because I was so blindly loyal I never checked. Adios!
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There's an old book called 'How to Lie with Statistics'. I think someone from SW must have read it. I, like so many others, am really frustrated and mad at the 'spin' being given this. But when I punch the numbers, it's simply worse for me. I'm not so surprised that different flights, costs, etc. will now have different values. It's the multipliers and dividers that means it will take me LONGER to get free flights. So here's some straightforward statistics. I like to fly from MDW to ABQ and back. Wanna Get Away fare is generally around $300 and I always plan ahead. So let's assume that's the only place I fly and that I always use a Wanna Get Away ticket. So under the old system, I fly 8 round trips and then get a 9th trip for free. Under the new system I would earn 1,800 points per round trip. I would need 18,000 points to get a free round trip. That's 10 round trips to get a free flight. And this is without planning to pay for cheaper flights and using free round trips on more expensive flights. I can actually understand you changing rewards to reflect different costs. But you did so in a way that is WORSE than before. (I thought it pretty hysterical that the explanation videos always talked about buying an Anytime fare but redeeming on a Wanna Get Away fare...'How to Lie with Statistics'.) I'm waiting to see what the actual conditions will be for my Chase Rapid Rewards Card. I fully expect that to have less value as well. At the end of the day, while I'm not going to boycott Southwest or anything, I'm no longer a fan. I will be shopping around...whereas now I never even bother. Southwest has been my default choice. I also fully expect to cancel my Visa card and find a different and better program once I see the new program. Sadly the LUV is gone. Keith Scherer