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Rapid Rewards Followup

Aviator C

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 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!

Explorer C
The decision to change your FF program is right up there with Blockbuster's decision to not purchase Netflix or Redbox at their beginning.
Explorer C
I've been a loyal Southwest customer for the last 6 years. I earned a rapid rewards free flight in the old program, and always lauded Southwest to my friends for their service and for the RR program. I fly cross country (PDX to RDU) regularly, and earned my RR free flights primarily on that trip. With the new program, it will take me at least 2 more round trips ($800-$1000 more) than with the old program to EARN a free flight. The complicated system reeks of the other large, bloated (and ultimately unsuccessful) airlines that Southwest is shaping up to be. Over the last 5 years, I have flown strictly with Southwest because of the RR program and consistently low fares. I checked my regular PDX to RDU flight today, and it is $160 cheaper on Continental/United (4 months out). Not only are you no longer the low-cost airline, but your best program has been trashed. You have gone from a friendly, reliable, customer-centric airline to just another bloated behemoth with unilateral policies that alienate your customer base. Poorly played, Southwest, you've lost a loyal customer.
Adventurer C
Ladies and gentlemen, You know I've posted on this board before and corresponded pleasantly with many of you. I've also been a loyal Rapid Rewards member and an exclusive SWA flyer to the extent possible. As such, I trust my comments are held in high enough regard not to be considered one of the looneys that populate any board. With that said, I believe that the rollout of this new program has been handled more poorly than any step taken at SWA since I began doing business with the company in the mid 1980s. Not only is the program marginally unpopular, but the company's lack of preparation for the conversion is simply stunning. As I write this, the web site has been essentially inoperative for approaching 48 hours, the telephone wait time approaches 2 hours, and customers are leaving in droves. Only because i know the web site so well was I able to side door my way into an Early Bird check-in for a flight tomorrow spending an extra $20 just to make my day go a bit smoother. I ask one simple question. Gary, is this situation bad enough where you should consider stepping down? I'll let you ponder. Thank you.
Explorer C
I have been totally unimpressed by this transition and Southwest has gone from being an airline that I sang the praises of to one that is very close to losing my business. On Feb 28th I was 2 flights from A-list membership (the same 2 I'm scheduled to take this week). Yesterday I tried to login to use the website and check that all was okay - good luck with that - the website was useless yesterday - pretty good for an airline that does most of its business through the website. I hope some IT person gets hung out to dry for that. When I finally got logged in today I find that all of my points towards A list that were earned from flights booked last year (22 out of the 30 points I had) were gone. I was left with 8 points. I called customer service twice and was told 2 different stories. One story was that I would get the points back. Another story was that I had lost them and could kiss them goodbye. Southwest has 24 hours for the points to reappear, otherwise they will be kissing my business goodbye. I earned A-list in 6 months and they're willing to throw that business away - so much for caring about customers! I am very disappointed.
Explorer C
So one of the best places to get feedback is not to spend our money on big consultants or market analysis how about you guys go and fly on some of these flights and listen to your customers. How about the A listers that fly weekly or more? Have you seen your own customer service at this point? I watched as a woman cried at the desk in Baltimore and the employee basically shrugged. I mean really? Now with a points based system what we got is what Americans have had forever a standard, expensive, unworthy loyalty system that produces anything but loyalty. I wrote my MBA on the greatness of Southwest and their business case my Phd might be on the downfall with all the changes, lack of touch with the people and disrespectful "policies". At this point apologize to your customers and get back to your roots.
Explorer C
Here is a letter I sent to Southwest commenting on its new improved Rapid Rewards program: "Over the last 7 or 8 years I have been flying Southwest regularly, I've told hundreds of people about your Rapid Rewards program, stressing how easy it is to earn free flights and how simple it is to understand. I'm sure you realize how beneficial word of mouth advertising can be. Now you have screwed up RR big time. I'm still working to understand the new system, but as a transitional RR member, here is how you have reduced the value of the program to me. I currently have 12 credits toward the magic 16. Under the old program, after I took 4 more one way flights between BUR and OAK to visit my girlfriend in the Bay area, I would receive a free round trip to anywhere SW flies. Simple and easy to understand, even for a guy with a masters in economics. On March 1, 2011, I bought my first one way ticket under your "improved" program - BUR to OAK for $79.70 on a ticket exchange for a ticket I wasn't able to use. The confirmation I received had a new feature - "Estimated Points Earned" which awarded me 414 points when I take that flight. According to your website and mailings, I will need 1200 points to get the one credit I would have earned by taking this flight under the old system, or about 3 one way flights!!! To say that I'm disappointed in your new program is an understatement. I realize that you are shifting your focus toward business travelers who can pay higher fares and thus earn points faster. I'm just disappointed that you are joining the rest of the airline crowd and forgetting what made you what you are, or have been - an airline for the people."
Explorer C
I am bi-coastal having homes and businesses on each coast and have flown Southwest exclusively 2-4 times a month since 2001. Sad to say those days look to be over. Who has time for this Rapid Rewards mess? Not me! The simplicity of the old way, points per flight, Rapid Rewards popping up in your e-mail and an easy website are gone. No more will I sing their praises ! As I browse the internet for the first time in 10 years to book with other carriers I will check back to see if this program gets trashed....I sure hope so. I would like to elaborate with a long post but from what I am reading here, everyone else is already saying it with gusto ! The new program is a rip! Besides I have spent the last 2 hours on the phone and site trying to book using the new system and I simply am over Southwest! M Morelli
Explorer C
I am very disapointed at the "new program". There is no way this is better for your customers, we know it and you know it. I hope you wake up and change it back withou too much damage to your company. No one I know of is happy about this. As a previous happy customer I am now looking elsewhere for better flights and better pricing. a previously satiisfied customer, Katherine
Explorer C
I have been a loyal rr member since 2001 my husband has been since 1997 the new systems stinks for the traveler who only travels maybe once or twice a year on the wga fare it does not give us enough points to get a free ticket . Go back to the old system.
Explorer C
I don't believe that your customers have been asking for this kind of change to the Rapid Rewards. You have screwed up a good thing I will be cancelling my Southwest Visa card because it will do me no good now.
Explorer C
I can't see one thing that SWA has done for the customer by converting the Rapid Reward Program. The rewards are basically worthless in most cases trying to use them.....I think you have screwed up royally from what I have read
Explorer C
All of the negative comments here.... has anyone seen the price of fuel lately? a coworker of mine flys a single engine prop plane it costs him 200$/hr to fly what do you think a fully packed 737 burns. How can anyone in this economy expect to get more for less from anyone these days. I fly 2-3 flights per week and I will always fly Southwest they are almost always early and I cant remember any incident when any member of the SW team hasnt bent over backwards to make me feel like I was the only customer they had!!!! So what if things changed a bit try and get a free bag checked or a can of Coke with any other airline and see how much they still care..... FF programs arent for the casual traveler they are for those who "fly frequently" does anyone remember when a certain sandwich chain did away with those great little stamp cards??? I dont remember people attacking "jared" in the streets or blasting him on the internet I am pretty sure people just accepted that companies cant give away products and expect to stay afloat. So sit back relax and enjoy your flight (prolly late if you are on anyone but WN) 🙂 Keep up the GREAT work some of us dont want to hang you!!!!
Explorer C
What happened to the Alist? I was two flights away and now it only shows 3-2011. Surely you didn't mean to sabotage those loyal to you? Please let me know what I need to do to get those reinstated.
Explorer C
Like many of you, I don't know who was begging for the RR program change. I have traveled for work for 23 years, met my hubby on SWA, and my child has earned his own RR tickets as a toddler. We're a true SWA family. I've got to stand w/my fellow air warriors on this one though-this change is awful. Any given day I could've told you how many tickets I have for friends/family/fun, now, I just disregard RR earnings as I did when I was "Plantinum" on AA-worthless. I live 12 miles from O'Hare, about 20 from MDW, but over the past few years as AA and UTD begged me to come back I turned my back-SWA was just different. A true breath of fresh air. I may fly SWA if it's a toss up and it's easier, but the loyalty I'll show them is commensurate w/the loyalty they've shown me. What a shame!!
Explorer C
Ditto, ditto, ditto. I am not sure what is worse - this new horse-ass rapid rewards program or SWA telling me it is "what I requested...." No one at SWA ever asked me my thoughts on these changes. NO ONE would opt for this convoluted, ineffective and discriminating program except some Harvard, et al consultants you probably hired who are so displaced from your customer base that you got blindsided. Like I have expressed to you employees in writing, over the phone, and in person: your airline is no longer my airline. Monitor my rapid rewards visa activity. See where I fly from here. Better yet, monitor my FREE American Airlines M/C as that is the card I will now use and the miles I will now accrue and the airline I will now fly. You guys blew it big time. And what a shame - I actually used to like working with you. Admit and change it back. Simple IS better.....
Explorer C
Hello, I was told several months ago that your new rewards program would convert my rapid rewards credits to points at a rate of 1200 per credit. I have 13.5 credits. Right now it says that I have to purchase 2.5 credits or earn 2.5 credits through 6 points per dollar before I can use any credits. I called tonight and talked to Petita who is a reservation specialist in Oklahoma City and she said that never was Southwest going to switch prior reward credits over to points. You only start getting points after the new program began. She could not transfer me to Rapid Rewards so I called the number she gave me (214-932-0333). It was busy and then my wait was so long you ended up closing and I was not able to talk to anyone. I do not feel that this is right. If I end of getting my 16 credits I can only use them at the point system rate so why not transfer them over to points now at the rate of 1200 per credit as we were told? In the old program it would not matter the amount of the flight it would be free if I reached the 16 credit mark. I look forward to hearing from someone soon. I sent an email in March and requested that someone return a call but still have not heard back as well. Thanks so much. Laura White rewards: 232850682
Explorer C
Reading the dozens of comments, I do not really see any positive message that says good job SWA on the conversion to the new program. I also think it is the most difficult and easy to manage program in the entire industry. Can SWA honestly tell all of us customers who made this statement "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." What customer research was this based from. Obviously not from SWA customers. I like the Coca Cola analogy one customer mentioned. Just change it back and make everybody happy. Quit wasting our time, your loyal passengers. 16 flight credits for every trip. Seems easy right? SWA profitable with this model and the customer very happy. Why say more?
Explorer C
I currently have 10 credits on the old system. Apparently, I could buy 8000 miles (which brings me to required 16 credits on old system) for $200. However, I don’t know where this award ticket could take me what with black out dates, etc.(as apparently old rules apply for “Credits” rather than miles). I have not gotten any definitive answers on SW. If my $200 expenditure only gets me from Phoenix-LA, why would I bother? Personally, I think SW has screwed its loyal customers, and the only thing they have going for them is the Bag Fee. From now on, I will check the lowest fare for where I am going. SW is no longer my carrier of choice.
Explorer C
I totally agree with the general customer consensus that the new RR sucks and is the reason many of us decided to leave other airlines and move to SWA. Ironically, today at the airport (phoenix sky harbor) US AIR ticket counter was FULL, while SWA was almost empty. A reversal of sorts to past times. Lastly, my wife has been comuting via SWA for 20 years, averaging over 48 weeks a year. And she has also enjoyed being one of the first companion pass holder/A-listers. That is until the 'Preferred A-list came out. She went from an A16-20 to an A40-50. And finally, neither of us has received any of your drink coupons with RR's since the 'new RR' came out.....
Explorer C
The old program was so simple and I actually felt rewarded rather than shafted. I've already cut back on my use of SW credit card.
Explorer C
RE: New Rapid Reward Program. My commitment to SWA helped build Southwest Airlines to what it is today. I was there when passengers walked into the airport, stuck a credit card in a slot and walked away with the ticket ready to board and fly. I have been ok with the many, many changes thru the years and quietly embraced them all. But no more!!! I worked my rear off lobbying to get rid of the Wright Amendment in Love Field and together we won the battle. I sent many letters to Senators, etc and made several phone calls to them. I built a small family owned business around Southwest cities, securing new clients in those particular cities. I even reached "Companion" status and "A" list many times. But no more... I will go first to American, United or Delta from now own as I an arrange it. You can see by looking at my account that I am not using Southwest very much any more. Your Rapid Rewards Program stinks. If you had someone besides the bean counters running the show, you'd go back to the simplicity of the old Rapid Rewards program. (Remember Coca Cola ???) You are no longer rewarding frequent fliers. You are are just rewarding large corporate entities who purchase seat 1-15 You have lost the respect from the very passengers who helped you build Southwest. Reply will be appreciated. But please don't start lecturing me with a "cut and paste comment" on the the advantages of the NEW RAPID REWARDS. I've read ---ALL--- the hype you have put out. Obviously the old guys who invented SWA are gone bye, bye. Your Reward Program truly "stinks", and I will NEVER embrace it. RDP, (DALLAS, TX)
Explorer C
I have to agree with everyone here! I used to fly SWA every week. Now that the new program started, I will not fly southwest even from SAN Diego to Sacramento. I would rather stop in LAX and earn my Delta SkyMiles . With Delta I earn 500 mile minimum per leg plus another 1.25 Bonus for being a Diamond Medallion, so from SAN to SMF I earn a minimum of 2500 miles each way. Thats 5000 miles round trip, which only takes me 5 trips to earn a potential free flight. With southwest, I earn 594 miles each way if my ticket costs 99 bucks, which is more realistically 50-80 bucks.... but it fluctuates! Lets face it.. its to difficult and I am confused even thinking about it. My flight pattern is very conducive to SWA.. SMF/OAK/LAS/PHX/PDX/SEA are my main airports.. but now DL has my full business. Sorry SWA, one more business pax RIP.
Explorer C
I am very sad about the changes. It seems to reward the "rich" Very confusing as well. I was so happy with the old Rapid Rewards and used my SW credit card for everything. Hard to get in contact with people ( RR phone no shut down now for "meetings" until l:30 pm! and it's only 10:49 my time here AM Cant' reach it after business hours, can't reach it in normal biz hours. Very frustrating. Mary
Explorer C
That's it for us! My husband and I still don't understand all the rules, but obviously, we are on the loosing end of this one. We have been traveling with SWA since 1998, and also charging everything on our Rapid Rewards Visa card. So long, SWA, we are moving to American Airlines!
Explorer C
I just checked some flights and I couldn't believe the amount of points it was going to take. Most of my points come from my VISA card purchases. A trip to New Yory would be 29,000 points Before I would have to spend $16,000 dollars on my credit card to earn a round trip flight to anywhere in the US. Now I would have to spend $29,000 for the same ticket. To purchase it with cash would be $484 Other credit cards offer 5% cash back and I can spend less money and be able to pay for the ticket with the cash back reward. I HATE the new reward point system.
Explorer C
I was a big fan of Southwest for fifteen years. Sorry, but that's over. It is evident that now the only folks Southwest is really interested in are the frequent business fliers who are willing to shell out more to get to the front of the line and to earn more "points." I'm a low-budget traveler, usually between 4 and 8 trips a year for meetings and family events, and most years I could count on an award ticket to make my Christmas trip affordable. Now it looks like I would be lucky to earn an award ticket once every three or four years. Not only that, but everything is getting more and more complicated. Including the website. It used to be easy to find information, but for some reason it feels like a stone wall now. Lots of hype, little friendliness. I'm not saying i will never fly Southwest again, but it will certainly be far less frequent. It's kind of sad to lose a 'friend,' but Southwest has moved on to a different customer base and so it's time for me to move on too.
Explorer C
Really Southwest? I have flown your airline exclusively for the past 6 years . This morning I attempted to use my points to buy tickets figuring I could pay the rest on cash. No Way! In fact, if I had purchased the points to for the remainder of my round trip ticket I would have spent over $1000! So I managed to book each leg separately and saved about $500. Please fix this do that I don't have to make sure I'm not getting ripped off, something I never had to worry about before when flying Southwest.
Explorer C
Hello, I created my account just to let you know how unbelievably disappointed I am in Southwest over these changes. I cannot believe this is being pitched as "the changes flyers have been asking for". I have always admired Southwest and bragged about how much they turn up in Management books, based on how the company finds success in truly valuing its customers and by being fair and transparent about everything. The posting above from Mr. Lusk is anything but transparent. The truth of the matter is that the new system is a way to suck money out of the consumer just like other airlines are known for doing. Flights that cost less money in $ now often cost more in points. End of story. In fact, American Airlines, with its merger with USAir, now seems to have a MUCH better rewards system - and that is a sentence I never though I could ever utter. There is massive availability on AA - even for busy travel days - for just 12.5k miles, whereas on Southwest if the flight is AT ALL CONVENIENT (flying on a Friday or a Sunday, a nonstop flight, a good flight time), the reward amount on Southwest required is now often well over 12.5k miles, for an airline that supposedly has the best rewards. This is very, very sad indeed. With AA's credit card offerings and frequent opportunities for earning large air mile bonus awards - and now with their actually more convenient and fair rewards system - I have no choice but to say farewell to my airline of choice of an entire decade and move on. Such a shame.
Frequent Flyer C
Hi Goodbye ... I'm so sorry to learn about your disappointment in our frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards. I have forwarded your comment to our Customer Relations Team for follow up.