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Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

I was elated to get e-mails from Southwest stating that I continued my A-List and Companion pass status for 2017. I thought I was a bit shy in points this year but figured that Southwest recognized my loyalty - two SW credit cards, frequent trips using points and length of RR membership.

 

Turns out that the e-mails were sent in error. I learned this from SW customer service who offered an insincere “oh sorry” apology. I realize errors happen – the insincerity however leaves me thinking that loyalty is one way.

 

The curious thing about rewards programs is that you can earned enough points to travel but of course if you don’t pay $$ you don’t earn towards RR rewards – yes I know this is how all rewards programs work, but this hardly qualifies as a loyalty program.

 

So, since loyalty is not the objective and I am back to square one it’s time to start earning rewards from an airline that goes more places I want to go.

 

Thank you Southwest for reminding me that loyalty is not the objective of the RR program and that I should join a rewards program that offers better rewards.

11 REPLIES 11
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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

Oh did I mention, RR member for 15 years - Never flew on another airline unless it was a destination not served by SW - now that's pretty loyal. 

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

Retired Community Manager
Solution

Hi @TJS,

 

Your loyalty IS important to us, and I apologize if anyone that you've spoken to on behalf of Southwest Airlines has made you feel otherwise. We value your decision to fly with us when we know there are plenty of other choices. 

 

There was an email sent out in error today, and we are looking into the situation. We know that it's a frustrating situation and that many of our valued Customers have been inconvenienced. That's unacceptable, and we are truly sorry. 

 

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

Lindsey or other Southwest Moderator,

 

Although I appreciate your professional and corporate response, what is missing is the fact that it was your mistake.  Your mistake created a perception of loyalty and reminded your customers why they are so loyal to your airlines.  Some customer might have come up short of your madeup threshold, but you created a perception that you still value them and their business.  Many of the customers you just stripped of your status after giving it to them are your most loyal customers.  They have Southwest Credit Cards, when they can use anyone.  They have other airlines that at times are more cost effective, but choose Southwest because of the experience and loyalty you give us.  Saying I am sorry for your human error is insulting when what you should have done was thought about the even higher level of loyalty you could have created.  Customer acqusition costs are at your highest right now.  Instead of a new dancing commercial, perhaps loyalty would be a wiser investment to retaining the customers you already have.  I too was just short, I too have tens of thousands of Credit Card and Flight Points that are now up for evaluation.   

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

I experienced the same head fake of an email regarding Companion Status yesterday, and it was compounded by a conversation today where I learned how credit card points are apparently credited to our accounts. In short, I intentionally paid my SW credit card balance before the end of the calendar year in order to receive the points to put me over the 110K Companion Pass threshold. It turns out that those points don't get communicated over from Chase until the 6th/7th day of the next month - and thus they don't count as "earned" during the calendar month (or year) in which the $ leaves one's bank account. It's a different cut off period versus when flight points credited, which do adhere to a traditional calendar scheduled.

 

When I pushed back, I was informed that the credit card points are a Chase thing and independent of Southwest, so SW's hands are tied. The disassocation seemed odd given that I initially went to the Southwest website to acquire the card, regularly see SW employees promoting it in the airport, and am guided to use it to book flights and with SW's other rental car and hotel partners at every turn. In fact, the only reason that I have the card is because of my SW loyalty and my association with the SW brand. I also just reviewed the latest 10-K from Southwest, and learned that SW has doubled the number of card holders and revenues from their partnership with Chase since 2011 - so it's clear that there is a relationship, and it's working out quite nicely. 

 

Further, I also flew at the end of December and would have upgraded to Business Select to get the points multiplier had the policy been clearer. Not particularly consistent with the transparency mantra...

 

At the end of the day, I am torn. I am a member of the SW Customer Council and have been so impressed with all experiences with the company to-date, and I also appreciate human errors happen. But as another astute member said, consumers have more choices than ever - certainly with credit cards, and also with airlines (depending on one's location). This experience is so inconsistent with my past SW dealings that I am more bewildered more than anything else at this stage. 

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

Rising Star

Hi 

 

Anyone looking for answers to questions should read "programs terms and conditions"  

 

http://swa.is/1y96Ou4

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

So I believe that I was one flight short of the A-list.  I should have made it, but in mid December SW cancelled my flight from DEN to MDW, stranding me at DEN for about 7 hours.  Then I got on another SW flight leaving late in the evening.  After spending 1.5 hours waiting for deicing, then 20 minutes deicing, the flight was cancelled right when we were on the runway to take off.  Then we had to wait over an hour to even find a gate to deplane.  It was a horrible experience.  Then SW could not rebook me for two days, and I had to get home to a Christmas party we were hosting, so I had to fly another airline.  So I received the A list congratulatory email, and thought SW was appreciative of my agony.

 

So I know the false email was an accident, and technology can be problemmatic, but from a customer loyalty perspective it was a disaster.  A company as saavy as SW needs to think of a creative way to fix this problem.  I'm not sure how many false emails were sent out, but I think anyone close to reaching A-list status should receive it.  It does not cost SW a penny!  Or a least find a reasonable incentive for customers to achieve A-list for 2017.  SW needs to do something more than apologize, which really is a meaningless gesture.

 

Loyality is important!  For example American gives me Platinum status for flying over 2 million miles over time, United does not.  So now I don't fly United unless I'm absolutely desperate.  Living in Chicago, I have alot of choices so the dollars to loyal airlines really add up, especially since I frequently book the entire family for trips.

 

Hope SW can do something soon as I am making alot of travel plans for the year.

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

I am in agreement to most of the posts concerning that email error.  RR member for many, many years, A lister for a few years and short 2 flights this year.  I was willing to pay the crazy price for qualified tiered points but the Southwest site was down and out on the day I tried to make the extra point purchase.  After it was restored the link to purchase the points was still visible but lead to an error page; then the link disappeared all together.

 

Fastforward to my congratulatory email and the short period I was so happy to be a dedicated Southwest customer- I thought my inquiry had been addressed with some goodwill.  "Ooops! Not so, we made an error."  Might well had said- "We are now just like any other airline.  Please understand that we no longer value loyal customers and will do our best to find ways to remind you to just shut up and give us your money."

 

With my inquiry unanswered, fewer flight options for my destinations and prices not being any different than the other guys 2017 will be the year I make my travel arrangements based solely on price.

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

Retired Community Manager

Hi @qasamm,

 

I'm sorry you that you received the email that was sent in error. It was a mistake, and we understand why it caused frustration amont Southwest Rapid Rewards Members, particularly those who were very close to qualifying for AList, AList Preferred, or a Companion Pass. We deeply regret the situation, and we are focused on providing a better experience for our Customers in the future. 

 

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Re: Congratulations, oh just kidding!

New Arrival

I was thinking the same thing. I was one trip short of renewing A List, but I'm self employed and couldn't swing a last minute trip just for status. I thought about purchasing the points, but the tier qualifying points were hundreds of $$ and the site said those points would not count toward my account points.

 

But, I've been a loyal member since we used little plastic 1-2-3 cards for boarding passes and I just booked a foursome in Business Class in mid January, so I thought I caught a break.

 

Nope, like TJS said, "Just Kidding". Fortunately, I still have time to cancel my January trip and fly another carrier. As the friendly lady has been saying all day today, "We know it's frustrating, and we're sorry for the inconvenience."

 

At a minimum, Southwest, if you're going to ask me to spend $600 just to buy some tier qualifying points at the end of the year, at least you could let me keep the points I purchase.