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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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Hi, I'm a southwest customer, and I agree with those who don't agree with the new changes. I travel to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Arizona and Seattle all the time, and I work for a major clothing company. Because of these constant business it allows me to earn free flights that I can use for leisure or business. This is one of the only reasons I prefer southwest over other airlines! I've read several posts and I agree with some about the research and the customers who agreed to this research..wher are they? who are they? I think all of us who are registered frequent flyers should be surveyed and you'll get the real perspective. I hope you really conisder and not change your program. Otherwise, I'll have to choose JetBlue or other airlines....
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I love all the comments like, "I am going to sell all my stock." "I will never fly with them again." "I will have to dust off my United card." Seriously? Most of the complaints seem to be those who spend 600-1000 for 8 tickets and then want a 400 ticket for free. It was good while it lasted, but really your going to run off ina a huff? Please do then there will be less of your type to sit next too on the plane. True the new program was great, but clearly they cannot keep giving away based on short flyers. If they raised the short flight prices to compensate and kept the program you would complain about that too. Get a Chase Visa Card charge everything and then get your tickets easy as that. I fly shorter routes so less points to be used. I like the new program
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I won't bother repeating the countless problems already mentioned... I have been a RR member for so many years I have lost count. I have earned numerous companion passes and am an A-list customer. Yes, it is important to grow and change, but a company should never lose sight of its core values. Southwest's core values have always been service, simplicity and value. One has to wonder why a company wants to pursue the same market segment (business travelers) as its competitors who are perpetually loosing money. Seems strange to me. Especially when that segment is decreasing as technology advances and eliminates the need for business travel (ie; webex, gotomeetings.com). Now, throw into the mix a younger generation of business people who are more comfortable with technology and less dependent on "face to face". Top it off with a new economy, based on budget consciousness and streamlined operations for businesses. This seems like a dangerous course of action for SWA. That said, I was looking at flights from Phx to New Orleans yesterday and, after checking out SWA I did something I NEVER would have done before the change to RR2.0 - I went to Expedia and checked out other airlines fares and, guess what, they were the same price or cheaper with more nonstop options. I used to book on SWA automatically to get my credits for the free flight, but I don't think that will be a consideration moving forward with the new system. Never step on the back of the people who got you where you are today.
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I won't bother repeating the countless problems already mentioned... I have been a RR member for so many years I have lost count. I have earned numerous companion passes and am an A-list customer. Yes, it is important to grow and change, but a company should never lose sight of its core values. Southwest's core values have always been service, simplicity and value. One has to wonder why a company wants to pursue the same market segment (business travelers) as its competitors who are perpetually loosing money. Seems strange to me. Especially when that segment is decreasing as technology advances and eliminates the need for business travel (ie; webex, gotomeetings.com). Now, throw into the mix a younger generation of business people who are more comfortable with technology and less dependent on "face to face". Top it off with a new economy, based on budget consciousness and streamlined operations for businesses. This seems like a dangerous course of action for SWA. That said, I was looking at flights from Phx to New Orleans yesterday and, after checking out SWA I did something I NEVER would have done before the change to RR2.0 - I went to Expedia and checked out other airlines fares and, guess what, they were the same price or cheaper with more nonstop options. I used to book on SWA automatically to get my credits for the free flight, but I don't think that will be a consideration moving forward with the new system. Never step on the back of the people who got you where you are today.
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The only way that I will continue to fly Southwest is if they expand the $19 fares that they have been offering between LAX and LAS. It seems that more frequent flyer tickets with restrictions on them makes more business sense than practically giving away seats. What a way to run an airline!
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As I told a SW rep in a letter recently, "I'm all in". Like many others on this thread, I'm a stock holder, rapid reward member, rapid reward VISA card holder and LOYAL Southwest traveler. My first thought after reviewing the new policy, which is being introduced very shorty before it's being put into play by the way, is take your free bags and shove them. Southwest is caving in, I guess this may have something to do with a smoother merger with the Air-Tran reward program, but I wouldn't even know if AirTran has such a program b/c I fly LUV 98% of the time. This is a blow to the "little guy", the normal person who travels occasionally, plans ahead and flies regionally. You were different and now you will be just like the other clutter of American and Us Air, were customers complaining that JoeBlow#1 got as many RR credits for going to San Antonio from Houston as JoeBlow#2 did going from Albany to San Diego? I Believe not !!! It was easy and simple end of story. Besides needing a calculator and CPA to figure all the new numbers and algorithms needed, it's easy to see you are squeezing out the regular traveler and trying to create first class seats on your fleet when you will never really have them. Your regulars know how to play the Southwest game. You have the Business guys lined up in A1-A5 all ready to go grab those "perfect economy seats" , but when their plane arrives at the gate 22 passengers are flying through and are allowed to change seats after the crew gets an accurate head count and before A1-A5 and rest of new passengers are allowed to board. HA so when they come on and are amazed that their emergency row and rows 1-3 are filled they realize why we all love or should I say LOVED Southwest. I guess you guys will change this practice next !!!
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A small point, perhaps, but the "All-New Rapid Rewards" isn't really "all new." Calling it "All-New" makes it sound as if Southwest is trying to sell it, and sell it hard. The revised Southwest Rapid Rewards program is different than the old one but it's not "All New". If you have to sell it that hard maybe there's something wrong with what you're trying to sell. The old Rapid Rewards practically sold itself.
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Southwest, you blew it and you will be losing my business.
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Me in a nutshell - I'm just shy of age 50, male, diabetic, and I have a STRONG aversion (dislike) to anything overly complex (like taxes). I really liked Southwest's Rapid Rewards program because it was EASY TO UNDERSTAND. Fly 16 times, earn a free flight - simple. Now, I will need a calculator to determine where (or indeed if) I qualify for a Southwest Award. Gives me a headache thinking about it. I have to agree with everyone else - Southwest blew it on this one. I call it Business Rewards - it will just cost me more, andf make me angry while trying to determine if I qualify for an award. Southwest has just become like all the other airlines. Miles suck - big time. Look, if Southwest needs to get more profits under the table (by not rasing fares), they should just increase the award qualification level to 18 flights. This would keep the Rapid Rewards program simple, and it would be more honest than hiding rewards level increases behind a bunch of mathmatical calculations. Shame on Southwest. Shame !
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This thought just popped into my mind - What is going to happen when these big-game business travellers (that Southwest lusts after) enter a Southwest jet for the first time ? I would think the reaction would be - horror. "We have to sit in THOSE seats ? Where's the business class seating with the oversized chairs ? Where are the AC outlets ? You serve THAT as an in-flight meal ? OMG, I should have taken United !" Business travellers have high expections. We will see if they can lower their expectations to Southwest standards for long. My bet - they run screaming back to their huge leather chairs, hot meals, and power taps of the legacy carriers. Since the company's paying for it, why should they suffer in Southwest's so called "business class" ? Maybe Southwest plans on using Airtran's jets instead ? They have the big comfy chairs up front, but no hot meals. It will be an interesting social experiment, this new Business Rewards (ahem), I mean Rapid Rewards program..
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Southwest's reaction to the uproar over the changes to the Rapid Rewards program seems to be similar to the President's when he was confronted with overwhelming opposition to his health care takeover. Obama's reaction was to repeatedly say things like "we have to do a better job informing the people about this plan." which was laughable. The more people learned about the details to the plan, the more they hated it. For 15 years I have sought to fly Southwest everywhere I went and I have used the Chase RR card for all of my purchases. I did it because it was in my interest and because SW was a different kind of company to do business with. Neither of those seem so sure after these changes go into effect and no amount of PR spin is going to change that.
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Goodbye Southwest! Thanks for a wonderful 8 years. It is all but inevitable that sooner or later every business feels the need to adopt the practices of its competitors. We may yet meet again occasionally, should your pricing or scheduling be more convenient for a particular trip. For now though, you have spoken and I have heard. Remember, once you were great!
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Since my last comment was never posted I would assume that alot of the really negative comments are being screened out! What would this forum look like if if was not being manipulated by Southwest?
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Well, I haven't flown anything but southwest in maybe 8 years, but perhaps it's time to try a new airline? If my math is correct, my Wanna Get Away flights (which are within my budget) give me a horrible return compared to now. How did Southwest not anticipate us, the customers, not doing math to figure things out? Was the assumption that we are really so dumb (and apparently, now, rich) to just miss this? Oh well. I guess good things can't last forever. If you defended it by saying you are having money problems and need more revenue to sustain yourself, that'd be one thing... but claiming that this is what WE wanted? Well... that's just insulting and condescending. Last month I finally subscribed to the Chase card, and I guarantee it will be canceled within this month.
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Hi Anon, As long as the post doesn't violate the terms and conditions (like having vulgar language in it), we've been posting all of the comments here.
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Hi Anon, The feedback we received on changes our Members would like to see came from folks who use our frequent flyer program for many reasons (A-Listers, Companion Pass holders, Customers who only use our Partners, Customers who only earn credits by flying, etc.).
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Boo to Southwest on this one. Remember the glory days, like this headline and press release from April 2009? -------------------------- "Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards Program Wins Best Award Redemption at the 21st Annual Freddie Awards" DALLAS, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines' frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, won first place for Best Award Redemption and placed in the top five in five other award categories at Inside Flyer magazine's 21st annual Freddie Awards ceremony last week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. This is the 11th consecutive year for Southwest Airlines to win Best Award Redemption (every year since the award was created in 1998). Southwest Airlines also placed in the top five in five other categories, including: Program of the Year, Best Web Site for southwest.com, Best Member Communications, Best Bonus Promotion, and Best Customer Service. "Once again, frequent flyers have spoken loud and clear - Rapid Rewards is one of the best frequent flyer programs out there," said Ryan Green, Southwest Airlines' Director of Customer Loyalty. "Our Rapid Rewards program is designed to bring value to our most frequent and loyal Customers, and we are honored to be recognized with this prestigious Freddie Award." Each year, InsideFlyer magazine invites members of all frequent traveler programs to vote for the programs they feel deliver the best combination of benefits, awards, and returns on loyalty from the traveler's point of view. Winners are determined not only by how many votes a program receives, but by the overall merits of each program as reflected in "value voting," where voters rate their favorite programs on a scale of one to ten. More than 700,000 frequent flyers submitted ballots to Freddie Awards organizers, casting votes for programs worldwide. --------------------- Note that it won the award for 11 consecutive years. So Southwest... want to try this whole thing again and be honest this time? Also, I get the feeling that this is part of some bait and switch-type PR plan. Step 1) Start out by announcing the "launch" of an apparently poorly devised and confusing program with way more changes than were actually necessary or desired and that no one would realistically like. Step 2) Allow everyone to react negatively and wait for the unfavorable momentum to build to a crescendo. Step 3) Before too much damage is done, hold another press conference stating that you've listened to the concerns of your loyal customers and are now scaling back the changes to make it simpler and less dramatic of a change (strategically retaining the few core changes that you initially wanted to begin with). Step 4) Begin reaping customer and industry praise as a feel-good company success story for listening and reacting to your loyal customers' concerns (while still getting the modifications that you actually wanted). Step 5) A vast majority of customers are relieved the compromise isn't AS bad as it "could have been", the company retains its favorable image, and the rewards program is updated as originally desired. There SWA, I would have only charged you $50 million for that one.
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I am second generation rapid rewards member. I have flown Southwest loyally for years. I have convinced numerous friends, relatives, and even my company, to join the rapid rewards program. In light of the new changes I am sorry that I did so. The new point system defeats the primary purpose of having a rapid rewards account - flexibility. I no longer have the ability to schedule trips on short notice or make changes to my flights without a severe penalty. Further, it appears to be very deceptive when Southwest says that we will "still earn rewards at the same rate." I have a SW Visa card. I fly OKC to PDX several times a year. Before, we received a travel award for every $19,200 we spent on the card. Now, with 19,200 points, I can barely get a "wanna get away" roundtrip ticket, if I'm lucky. If heaven forbid I wanted any type of flexibility in my travel, "anytime" or "business select" fares would run me close to 80,000 points (or $80k spent on my Visa card), more than FOUR TIMES the amount under the old Rapid Rewards system. Our family has sung the praises of Southwest for years. This feels like an unwarranted betrayal. I would LOVE to meet even one customer who actually likes the new system. Sadly, Southwest has taken one more step towards becoming like all the other airlines we have grown to despise. Please bring back the old system! All of us "old" customers will come back with it!
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As a long time Southwest customer and SWA biz customer, southwest lost my loyalty from my business when you changed the rules for buying and canceling tickets that must be in original purchasers' name. For a small business this is a deal breaker, as our needs change for travel SWA's previous policy allowed for flexibility and most of all, loyalty despite the price. Since that has change we have moved our business trip purchases elsewhere. Now as customer who flies LAS to HOU as least once a month and LAS to BUR once a month among other trips, during the month, the new policy is a losing program for me. I enjoyed earning my Rapid Rewards to bring my children on trips. Simple put y'all broke a system that worked. You had a loyal customer due to the flexibility, despite cost.
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Wow! I live in Vegas but I am from Dayton, Ohio. When I found out about your soon to be old rewards progam, I became a very loyal customer to Southwest (have only flown a non Sothwest flight once in 3 years, due to work). I would take all of my flights to see family and friends back at home to Ohio only on Southwest (even though the Columbus airport is an extra hour and a half away from the Dayton airport). I also got my family and friends to buy into using Southwest because of the rewards program even with the extra drive. Now with the new rewards program all of us will be switching to other operators at the DAY airport because of the new change. I also want to say that I feel bad for not flying with you because all of your employees (pilots to bagagge handlers) are some of the best in the business, but in these economic times I can flnd cheaper flights closer to home (with better rewards programs) and that right now trumps the excellent serivce those employees provide. I am sure with all of these negative comments, I will recieve only the canned response of we appreciate your comments, but I just needed to vent my frustrations with this change. Hope you reconsider your decision, Sincerly, Potential Lost Loyal Member.
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Memo to Southwest: The long haul business travelers you're hoping to attract will not help you more than the losses from the loyal customers who have supported you for so many years. Good luck.
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I am a loyal customer and a stockholder. I'm really disappointed in SWA for this move. Do yourself a favor, admit your mistake and change it back before it's too late. You're starting to look like everyone else in the industry and your motives seem transparent. What do you mean that you asked your loyal customers? No-one asked me.
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As one who fly's your airline every week i think you now have just become another airline and destroyed your culture as putting passenger first. Your explaintion of we have listened to our customers is one i take great exception too. I have never heard ONE person suggest that southwest should change their policy on rapid rewards. The last three years I have flown over 130 roundtrips on your airline. I have meet and talked to many passengers concerning your services and people. Again NOT one has ever suggested to change rapid rewards. You are becoming just another airline and I am sure within time you will start to charge for bags and change fees. This action has done nothing other to look more favorably on taking trips on other airlines. I early await the next time i receive a request to judge your company.
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How is this even an answer? It's a regurgitation of the previous blog post---Oh, we had to make changes, we talked to customers (clearly you didn't talk to the hundreds posting on this blog), look at the website, see it works, do the math. We're not confused. We've done the math. It doesn't work out well for us. With the couple posting about their Ontario flight (old credits earning 1200 when it was a longer flight)... you answer was that the new system is better because if they had flown on the new system they'd be earning much more toward a free flight. WHAT? If you hadn't changed the system on them, they'd also still be earning just as much toward that free flight! The grandfathering is too simplistic (all credits worth 1200 points) to mesh at all with the complex new system. The Ontario couple, and everyone else who was loyal to you and had earned credits, are being left out in the cold. What a cruel loyalty program, to not only hurt its customers but to tell them its better for them. This whole scenario could easily be avoided if Southwest were actually rewarding frequent fliers--a system of miles or frequency. Rewarding dollars spent isn't even a frequent flier program anymore. It's a percentage cash back program, and the percentage is terrible. If I just wanted cash back to spend toward tickets I'd use ebates with another airline (and still get rewarded for my loyalty through miles). As for the new program being more straightforward... REALLY?!, or why would we need a 'points simulator' at all? I have grown up on your airline. I have flown with you since I was 3 weeks old. My mother worked for you, I worked for you, I sent you birthday cards showing you how I was getting older on your planes. You had my loyalty with or without Rapid Rewards. Now I just feel like I'm perpetually having wool pulled over my eyes--your response to the feedback you received is actually embarrassing to me as a student of marketing, and you bury the real issues people have with the program beneath kitsch and feel-good stories. You don't even spend any advertising dollars on the new Rapid Rewards because you know it won't help your campaign. Focus on those fees, Brian Lusk, it's all you have left. As for what I have left after flying with you since before I could speak? I have a bad taste in my mouth, and I have a harder decision to make when flying. I also have a blog, and lots of followers. 🙂
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Many changes have been made though out the years, It used to be you would fly 4 trips from online bookings to get one free, then it went to 6. Many complained especially those who didnt have online access who had to fly all 8. Everyone complained when SWA went from 3 bags free to 2 bags, the blog was full of hate comments about that but everyone adjusted and calmed down when they saw the other airlines. Many complained when the beer prices went to 5 bucks but calmed down when they saw what the other airline charge. Many complaints on the UM prices but again calmed down when they saw what the other airlines charge, same with pet fees. Of course no one complains when they cancel their reservation and can use the whole amount for another trip when other airlines take out a fee. Every business has to change. Gas prices go up so instead of making every single passenger pay they adjust the RR to help keep the flight prices down. No one is looking at it that way. Everyone wants something for nothing. This will be fair to many customers, why get the same 1 point if you travel farther on a more expensive ticket then a short flight on a cheap fare? The only ones who complain are the one who buy the cheap seats and want the same as those who buy the higher prices. You cant make everyone happy all the time, even the President of the United States cant make everyone happy all the time.
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This new point system stinks!!!! I have been with SWA for years and am now very dissapointed. You bill this new system as something good however after close examination it is far much worse. Please SWA Execs; re-think this one. This system totally penalizes the short hop flyer. The flight = 1 credit in the existing system is much better. This was the best and most important part of the program and you are changing this!!! I am very dissapointed the SWA execs would even do such a thing without perhaps sending out a survey to see what people think. I know a flight attendent and she told me they were doing it to match the AirTran system. If that is true ; Why!!!! You are clearly doing this so flyers don't earn flights as fast!! SWA has taken a Hugh step backwards on this one. If y'all feel the same way I do blast the "Contact Us" section on the SWA website. Even better would be to call 214-932-0333 customer support and complain about this thing. I'm going to drop my SWA Visa card and look for another airline.
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I've been flying SWA for 10 years. The simple rapid rewards program was the thing I liked best about Southwest. I was so excited about it, I even got the Southwest credit card (the only card I pay for). It was also the main reason I continued to chose Southwest over JetBlue. With these changes, I am going to cancel my Southwest credit card. I'll also be choosing other airlines more often. Too bad.
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Been reviewing your proposed new Frequent flyer plan. It is quite disapointing you are attempting to move away form a so simple I can keep track of it myself plan to a WHAT PLAN? Keep looking at ways to see how this is actually good for the normal every day flyer or your typical young student or your family traveler and i come to the conclusion that is is NOT good for us. We are Smart Clientele, I would say SW flyers tend to be more computer literate. After all we can only purchase your tickets on your website. If I am goin to have my Mother fly I have to book it for her as she does not use the internet. You are really allienating your customer base. You did so Great on the latest Round of comercials dealing wih the other Airlines Greed and CHANGE fees! Then You come around and Show this showing your Greed.... Please re consider or at least do a Poll between your Frequent flyers. It will tell you a lot. Good Luck.
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I have been a loyal Southwest flyer for well over 10 years. I appreciate the ease and simplicity of your Rapid Reward program. I fly only Southwest, use only Southwest credit cards and partners. What use to take $19,200.00 in purchases to earn one flight, under your new program will only pay for $320.00 towards a Wanna Get Away ticket. Needless to say, being a loyal Southwest flyer and using Rapid Reward partners will not be as beneficial. I am very dissappointed. Your claim of earning flights faster is totally false. The new program will benefit the airline only. So much for caring about loyal customers.
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I like most of the prior posts am disgusted with the changes. You have taken the best and simplest program and trashed it. I have had a CP since 1996 and fly a combination of long and short hauls. However, I do travel extensively in the Texas area which is where this Airline began. Due to the problems with security and other delays at the airport, I will start driving as the only reason I have continued to fly is the incentive of the RR Program. That is no longer valid. I can pretty much drive from Dallas to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City in the same amount of time considering the drive to the airports, security, and parking. By driving at the same cost, I can better estimate the time of arrival due to common delays. I have owned stock in this Company for many years and have always flown SWA even though I live closer to DFW and have always encouraged friends and associates to fly them. I will now instruct my travel department to require all flights consider other airlines and remove the recommendation to fly SWA.
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This is lousy and a waste of $100 Million. As a long time disappointed stockholder, I can now see why earnings have lagged for many years. A suggestion. Why not give your newly disgruntled customers a choice? They can opt out of the new program and remain in the current on. That way you have satisfied everyone. Those who like the current program and those who wanted these changes.
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After spending a good portion of Christmas day defending your airline to my father, a former airline pilot and constant business traveller, I feel completely let down. You have taken a rewards program that works for the general traveller, the personal traveller, and the business traveller and skewed it so that it really only benefits the big budget business traveller. Well done! I travel monthly, and while I will admit, I don't always fly, when I do, it is almost exclusively with Southwest Airlines. (I can't say it is exclusive, since you don't fly overseas.) I have been a Rapid Rewards member for a long time, and I can't tell you how many times I have flown on your airline. I love the fact you are generally on time, you don't charge for luggage and your staff is ALWAYS friendly. The rapid rewards were just a straight-forward perk that I sometimes indulged in, and sometimes didn't. But this point system is going to screw all your customers with patience and planning who need or want to save some money. Honestly, I am truly disappointed in you. What's next, you're going to start charging us to check our bags? Sincerly, Shannon McS.
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I am a loyal SWA customer and typically a short haul flyer. I would recommend all who are worried take a wait and see attitude and trust that Southwest might actually be greatly improving the system. I've done the analysis and I actually think most will benefit from the new system and I expect you'll find many ways (beyond the Chase credit card) to earn more points in the future. Adapt and move forward loyal southwesters! Reserve judgement for 6 months and then see what you think. Let's also keep it all in perspective, SWA has low fares, no change fees, no bag fees, a companion pass, and is adding new airports and merging to create even more options for us loyal flyers. I would humbly suggest we keep all of that in perspective. I commend them for reforming the system, finding new ways to make money, and keep the fares and fees and culture intact. I don't totally understand how I'll accumulate points in the next year but I'm hopeful that I might be pleasantly surprised that this works to my advantage.
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Let me be the contrarian here. One of the things I always hated about American/United/Delta etc., in addition to the lousy service, was that I'd get exactly the same mileage credit for my last minute flight that cost $600 as the person who paid $179 next to me. I think a frequent flier program based on revenue is fairer. While I'm disappointed that it takes, on average, 10 round trips to get a free ticket as opposed to 8, the elimination of the blackout dates and expiration has a cost. I'm sure the new system can be tweaked over time (e.g. raising the number of points per dollar awarded on wanna get away fares, adding a pay with cash+points system) to make it better at little or no cost to the company. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people who swore off Southwest come back once they experience the other airlines again. There are plenty of reasons why I don't fly the "legacy" carriers except when I have to. My only suggestion for tweaking it right now is to add a real cash+points system. IOW, if I need 12,000 points for my $200 round trip, or 15,000 for a $250 round trip, make an option where I can pay 12,000 points plus $50 for that $250 flight. I don't like the standard "buying points" system that New RR has adopted. They are usually a bad deal.
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Ok seriously. I come on here to articulate my worries of the new system to you (math doesn't lie, you're cheating average people like me) and then today I get a Rapid Rewards Update? All excited, I open to see if you actually DID listen to us, but the answer was NO, you DIDN'T. Instead you restated your ability to listen to me, and said that you are implementing this system you know I've been asking for and will love. Please don't mock me. I have an education. I can crunch numbers. The fact that I HAVE to now shows how horrible your new system is. I don't mind if you need more money. You're a business. Every business needs more money. I only mind that you say this is what I wanted, when it clearly isn't. Get those marketers you're paying to convince me I want this to instead convince me that this is necessary for your profits, because I'd feel a lot better about that one.
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I love Southwest and had been a loyal customer for 15 years. Yes, had been. I can't think of a single other company that I felt this strongly about. I would somewhat frequently tell friends about what a great company Southwest was. I used to tout that I could change flights the same day with no penalty, but you took that away.I used to tout the fantastic Rapid Reward program. I still touted the lack of a baggage fee or change fee. I fly Southwest10-20 round trips per year. My typical flight is less than 500 miles, with two or three longer trips per year. If Southwest flies to a location, I never even look at another airline's prices because of the previously outstanding Rapid Reward program. I have always touted Southwest's business acumen and celebrated your company for being the largest airline not to blame 9/11 for poor business decisions. Southwest received no bailout from the government and thrived on the wits of its excellent management. With these changes to Rapid Rewards, you are just another company to me. I will check your prices alongside every other airline's before I book. And I am ditching my Southwest credit card. I kept the Southwest credit card and used it as my primary card because of the Rapid Rewards credits. Now I will switch to a better card. I am so sorry you abandoned your most loyal customers with these changes to Rapid Rewards. T.H. in Las Vegas
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I am a huge southwest fan and I boast about your airline to everyone I know! I even ruled out moving to a city that SW didn't fly to. One of my favorite aspects about SW was its RR program. Simple, easy, NO POINTS! I've had my SW credit card for years now and I'm really upset b/c I don't think I'll be participating in the program any more. Now you're just like all the other airlines that have complicated, convoluted rules.
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I don't understand what all the fuss is about. We have become a whiny little country that loves everything for free. I think this new program is great, it benefits you more if you travel more. The rewards are consistent for the amount you travel. I don't think it is fair that people that travel from Reno to Vegas get the same exact reward as people that fly from Chicago to Vegas. If you pay more for your ticket you get more points. It's that simple. Yes, a person that travels farther more often will earn a cheaper ticket quicker, but that is just it, it is a cheaper ticket. Why do you feel you should get the same thing as someone who spends more money? I don't agree with the 1200 point conversion for each flight taken, but I am willing to bet that 1200 was the average that was spent on flights. You can thank all your people flying from Reno to Vegas for this, yes the same ones that are bitching because things are becoming more fair.
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This new program is a disaster and will be worse for the frequent short hop low fare traveler. One large stupid decision. The old 1 credit for each flight flown was much better!!!!! SWA is not ahead of the pack anymore and has lost the voice of the customer.
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I've looked at the new website. I've made all the calculations and none of it adds up. My reasons for choosing Southwest included: 1) reasonable fares, 2) convenient flights, 3) easy to understand rewards program and easy to earn rewards, 4) a company that championed the little guy, 5) a company that made travel fun again, and 6) friendly staff. So far all you have left is friendly staff and convenient flights. Under the new system, I will now have to spend a lot more money to earn my rewards flight voucher and that means seeing my kids less often. At this point, I may have to go back to driving and that certainly cuts into the time I can spend with them. Thanks for caring, Southwest. And thanks for proving once again that corporate math is far different from the Average Joe math.
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These are not improvements! Tell your marketing department we aren't buying the spin. I think you underestimate the number of customers you are going to lose on this. I will no longer make the long haul to Midway when I can fly out of Ohare. It used to be I would go down to MDW because after a handful of flights aorund the Midwest and east coast, I could fly home to California for free. Now after MORE flights around the midwest and east coast I can....take one flight in the east coast or midwest for free, assuming it doesn't cost more than the previous flights. And forget last minute travel. This new program stinks. Yes, you spent $100M, but you'll lose more than that if it rolls out.. Change course before you lose a ton of customers, including this one. Rapid Rewards card to be closed in 5.4.3.2....1
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I am extremely dissatisfied with your "new" RR program. If your goal was to emulate the legacy carriers you have suceeded. If your goal was to "earn rewards faster" you have failed miserably. You have rewarded your buisness travelers at the expense of your original customer base. As a member who endured the old line up for boarding passes then line up in boarding lines I'm extremely dissapointed in your luv.
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Horrible change. Feel like I've been bait and switched right when my satisfaction and loyalty to Southwest was at its highest. I held up my end of the deal and would have qualified for a reward due to my loyalty, but I'll probably never receive any benefit from being a member of the new program despite frequent travel with Southwest. I've touted great tavel experiences and the fact that Southwest is my preferred airline to countless friends and family. The simple reward program was a big factor in selecting Southwest vs others.I understand Southwest needs to make money, but I don't understand how you think this change is going to be beneficial. You're NOT going to garner more business travelers with this change, and you WILL lose non-business travelers. Business travelers don't care about baggage fees, they don't want to deal with the Southwest boarding procedure, they don't want an airline with no realistic business class service, business travel planners wnat airlines with a complete destination list. Looks like it's back to orbitz and treating air travel as a commodity and being treated as a "revenue stream". Thanks for disappointing all of us by forgetting where you came from, and then treating us like we're ignorant to the negative impact of the change to most of us.
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So will Southwest win the Freddie award this year for best frequent flyer program? Even Brian Lusk and Gary Kelly know the answer to that question. Congrats for breaking your streak. BTW, I'm sitting in a hotel near Love Field because your home airport still has not cleared ice from the taxiway. Your own employees told me that today as my flight was canceled twice. DFW had no trouble today; perhaps I should have flown home to Phoenix on my hometown carrier USAirways. It's so sad to think the old Southwest is gone. Perhaps Herb will start a new, low cost carrier since we have none left. Your failed us Southwest.
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Well I know why I left the other airlines. Points program. Now with this new plan they are looking better. Having read through the information it is clear that flying United again will provide comfort and points. It was fun flying SWA while it lasted, but recent changes really have me ready to move and not look back. I usually travel full fare and often Business. On United my dollars should go further and the points will be what you offer ... points. McDonalds wonders where their customers went.
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Okay - what am I missing. I'm a stockholder and you'd think I'd be the first person to celebrate a change that might bring in more business (given the stagnant nature of the stock for the last 13+ years). But I'm not. I fly a lot and I can't find ANYONE who thinks this is new system is a good idea. I'm not a "short" hop person and yes - although some people game the system most do not. I've been flying SW primarily even when the price was higher out of loyalty. It's the only airline I use to fly my daughters (now teens and in college). But I just looked at an upcoming roundtrip I'm planning. Business travelers will earn 8400 points per roundtrip. Leisure travelers will earn 1500 at the lowest price. To "buy" the flight with points at the wanna get away price - the leisure traveler will have to fly 10 times while the business traveler (whose ticket is more often paid by a corporation) will fly three times. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the points accumulated by corporate travelers will be used to buy up the capacity at the lower price point subsequently choking off the companies core business. I don't know any marketing course on earth that looks at elasticities of demand and suggests throwing core customers under the bus to chase a theoretical new business model. I have enough stress in my life without "calculating points." Whoever told corporate "customers" were asking for this new feature is a fraud. Very disappointed that you didn't "poll" the customers or your stockholders before making this bonehead move. On my recent flight on United I had an assigned seat and didn't have to worry about paying extra for early boarding. My platinum Amex paid for my bag fees and my airline lounge access. So the "advantages" of not having an assigned seat and free bags just got smaller on Southwest for those of us who have other options. (Btw - you still have the nicest flight crews and ticket staff on the planet with one exception. How about running the company the same way?)
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Btw - please don't tell those of us with corporate backgrounds to "read" the new website to get the rules, especially since you know we have. At least be big enough not to condescend to those of us who do (or studied) marketing and statistical analysis too. You didn't do your homework on the way the math will shake out. There's no getting around that fact. I used to write the same "feel good, don't worry be happy" propaganda for my corporation too. Even after my bosses conceded their new programs were flops. This program is going to erode some of your base because you don't have any of the other amenities other airlines have to go with the new RR program. Add airport lounges, partner with Platinum American Express, and add a true business class and I'll be right there with you - maybe..
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Southwest is convenient, the fares are reasonable, and the flight cancellation policy is the best in the industry. That said, the planes are filthy, the seats are tiny, the flights are always full and uncomfortable,and the in-flight service and amenities are non-existant. Southwest is the Greyhound Bus of the air. My daughter is a college student and flies SWA cross-country all of the time, as do I; I opened a Chase Southwest credit card when she went to college, and I use the card almost exclusively to benefit from the rewards. NO LONGER!! The new rewards program is an insult to loyal customers, even thought SWA is trying to pull the wool over our eyes by putting a positive spin on the program. SWA earnings have been more than respectable, so why the change? I'll fly Jet Blue in the future.
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Brian, I think what you've failed to realize in making this change is that customers like to be loved. I fly medium-haul flights about once a month (slightly more); my fares tend to range in price form $250 to $400 round trip. In other words, I'm not taking 16 legs at $39 each. I also do not exclusively fly Southwest - primarily because you are rarely the cheapest option in my market - but I do prefer to fly you and will shell out modestly more for an SWA flight given the option. The great thing about Southwest is that flying your airline is a consistently pleasant experience. The conversational flight attendants, the egalitarian boarding procedures - this makes me look forward to my SWA flights, instead of dreading flying as I do with your (sometimes cheaper) competitors. Your simple FF program participated in this loyalty-inducing attitude. It was brilliant to get unexpected free tickets in the mail, and doubly brilliant to get drinks vouchers. The drinks vouchers cost you relatively little, yet I loved them - and I remained consequently loyal and willing to pay more in order to fly your airline. SWA makes customers feel happy. The simple frequent flyer program was a big part of that. It seemed "different" and customer-oriented, and the automatic tickets were a serious perk for casual to medium-serious flyers who frequently fail to book such things on other airlines. I understand that the system may have needed an overhaul. I think customers would be much more understanding if you were just honest about it. This system is obviously being done for your bottom line - as it would be in any responsible company - but you should be willing to say so. Don't say "this makes things better!" Rather, say "for cost purposes, we need to distinguish between short and long-haul flights, and I'm afraid we need to up it to 20 legs to qualify instead of the old 16-leg qualification." The other thing that grates is the way this change is tied to cost. As I said above, I do not buy your cheapest tickets, not by a long shot. But the pleasant atmosphere associated with Southwest is partly due to a feeling that "we're all in this together." We wait in line more-or-less together, we chat, we pick our seats just like every other customer, we all fly on the same planes and we none of us get served caviar and free dinners. You simply don't compete with other airlines on business amenities; if I wanted to fly first or business class, obviously I would fly Delta (which, indeed, I sometimes do). If you need to distinguish between long- and short-haul flights, or more- and less-expensive routes, by all means give people 1.5 credits for a flight from Jacksonville to Las Vegas, 1 credit for a flight from Chicago to LAX, and 1/2 credit for a flight from New Hampshire to New York. But you can't be egalitarian with a devoted populist base and catering to the biggest spenders at the same time. And frankly, you don't cater to the biggest spenders anyway. So what is the point of determining rewards based on price? It makes your customers feel like they are being milked for money, while the old system (even if it was changed in terms of how many flights needed to be taken, or how far) made us feel like we were getting a privilege.
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Thanks for screwing up my dream with the rewards program switch to take my two married kids/spouses and five grandkids on a dream beach vacation in 2012. I've been saving up my miles and using my SW Visa. Going to use up the remaining tix , take a scissors to the credit card and brainstorm with other disgruntled users to find better benefits plan. Good luck with the catering to business clients approach, and adios to granny's on a budget, huh?