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Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

victorjunlu
New Arrival

 

Like to get your Experience.


My Southwest Experience:

1.) You have to Spend money to keep account active

2.)  Southwest website is confusing and "last Activity" in the 6 months did not stop

      my air miles from becoming  zero.

3.) No way to get the miles back, not even if I want to pay a fee

4.) There is no flexibility even if I proved that the fault was southwest.com .


Delta - Miles Never Expire.

United - Can keep status Active by using miles, allow reactive miles by paying a fee

American - Can keep status Active by using miles, allow reactive miles by paying a fee

 

 

 

15 REPLIES 15

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

It's working very well for me, but I am using it fairly regularly. You must have gone more than 24 months without earning activity, I don't think Southwest is out to trick people - they may have also sent a notice prior to expiration.

 

For anyone trying to maintain their activity, here is some information on how to stay active:

https://www.southwest.com/html/rapidrewards/promotions/rr-points-keep-active.html

 

 

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

victorjunlu
New Arrival

Good it worked for you. I think if you only Fly Southwest, then it is not a problem.

 

It become a problem for any one:

1.) Business Traveler who fly many airlines (like me).. I traveled to locations where southwest was not convient last 2 years.

Since all the other airlines try to keep you as a loyal customer.  Southwest does not seem to care.

2.) Any one who do not travel very often.  By the time they fly the next time ( after 24 month), their air miles are gone by then.

 

By the way, I accumulated large number of Southwest airline miles which all expired.

 

My advice to any one who do not fly southwest very often, try not to bother with accumulating miles....

 

 

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

So I get the impression you weren't really asking for actual opinions of the Rapid Rewards program, but instead looking to express some displeasure. Regardless, here's a few thoughts I had. 

 

Considering the Rapid Rewards program is frequently ranked as one of the top frequent flyer programs by numerous magazines, blogs, and traveler votes I'd say the consensus is that it's a good program. Now, if you don't fly with Southwest more than once every 24 months you probably wouldn't have a great opinion or care much at all about Rapid Rewards. Yes, you can choose to pay crazy high fees to reinstate miles on other airlines, but, in the case of United, they also expire miles at just 18 months and require a great deal many more flights/miles to earn rewards. Flying Southwest just a few times in 24 months can be enough to earn a free flight, that's pretty impressive. You mentioned that you had a lot of points so surely you know how quickly points do add up when you actually fly. 

 

Overall, if you have such low activity with any airline that your miles/points expire then that frequent flyer account (key word is "frequent") may not be much use for you.

 

I'm not sure what you were expecting Southwest to do to show they care if you weren't even going to places that you could/would fly them and weren't a customer for more than 2 years.

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

victorjunlu
New Arrival

You can tell I am frustrated. I do want to be convinced that I should accumulate southwest miles again. Having another airline option is always good.

I have been flying southwest since 2004. Some years I fly southwest every week for months and some years I fly Delta,United, Ameican,Jetblue and etc depending where I go.

 

i think what I should have done is 

1.) When I need to fly southwest, use my miles very quick. 

2.) when I stop flying southwest every week. Donate the remaining miles to other people or charity And not worry about losing miles

 

Not sure Where JD power and etc got their input and whether they noticed

1.) I got free reward flights on other airlines  as quick as southwest.

2.) southwest advertisement says “point never expire” which is false advertisement.

Delta miles actually never expires. Maybe they did not do a good job marketing their program benefit.

3.) southwest.com is confusing and tricky. Last activity/recent activity does not mean points do not expire. I hope it is a design issue not done on purpose.

4.) I had no trouble finding reward seats on other airlines. Maybe it is even easier on southwest because many more people lose southwest air miles than any other airline.

 

southwest customer services told me to discuss here.  For other airlines, they usually have me talk to customer service management instead.  If there is another better way to send feedback, please let me know. 

 

 

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

franktravel
Rising Star

Having the Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit card solves the problem "Points don't expire" 

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

victorjunlu
New Arrival

Agreed. I was flying with 5-6 airlines and did not want to carry too many credit cards. that is why I did not get southwest credit card.  I also travel internationally a lot and southwest is mostly domestic flights. So I did not bother applying. Looking back, if any one is serious flying southwest and does not travel outside of US, credit card is a solution. Otherwise you will lose all your hard earned southwest air miles easily.  As long as there is no annual fee, having another card will save you from a lot of frustration like I had

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

@victorjunluwrote:

Agreed. I was flying with 5-6 airlines and did not want to carry too many credit cards. that is why I did not get southwest credit card.  I also travel internationally a lot and southwest is mostly domestic flights. So I did not bother applying. Looking back, if any one is serious flying southwest and does not travel outside of US, credit card is a solution. Otherwise you will lose all your hard earned southwest air miles easily.  As long as there is no annual fee, having another card will save you from a lot of frustration like I had


You could also rent a car or hotel through their portal one time, or use the shopping portal to make a purchase.

 

I'm not sure if the JD Power reference was for flying in general, or specifically for Rapid Rewards. 

 

  • Getting to A-list is great for fly-by if you don't already have PreCheck, automatic check-in is analogous to other airlines offering boarding status or one bracket upgrades.
  • New benefits this year for same-day standby with A-list.
  • No blackouts on reward bookings - if a seat is open, you can get it.
  • Companion pass.

For the airline in general the WGA fares are often low (not universally), no change fee, two checked bags...those are very good reasons not specific to Rapid Rewards.

 

Anyway - they sent you here to discuss - nobody can actually do anything about your lost points, we're all users too.

 

The only suggestion in that regard is to call back with the screenshot of your last activity and show them why you thought that you were good and you want the reinstated. There's a subtle different between checking and thinking you were good when you weren't as an honest mistake, as opposed to showing up 25 months later and going "whoops!".

 

I don't think that will work, but otherwise I think the terms are clear and there should have been an email notice about forfeiting points and also your monthly rapid rewards account status email. Maybe these went to an old email address, or possibly lost in the flood of emails everyone gets these days.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

1barnguy
New Arrival

If you go with the Chase card with 40k to 50K miles offer, plan on being disappointed. I signed up for a 60K offer and met my side of the agreement, only to have chase "award" me with 10K mikes and a $200 statement credit. Bait and switch all the way with Southwest's good name attached to it. Very disappointing.

Re: Is Southwest The worst frequent Flyer Program ?

nomoresouthwest
New Arrival

Long read but hopefully helpful. The Cliff Notes version is to avoid Southwest like the plague if you're a frequent flier.

 

Southwest is pretty pathetic when it comes to customer service for loyal customers. I've been A-List for over two years and have held a Companion pass for over two years and that's through credit card spending and flights for business and leisure, not accumulation through opening cards and other advertising deals. They do not deviate from policy. You can be a first time flier or someone who has 1,000,000 miles, they don't care. That's probably good news for an infrequent Southwest flier, but it's again, pretty pathetic, if you fly with them only. While I was part of this "Top Tier" for Southwest these were some of my poor experiences with them:

 

(1) They sent off a plane from Las Vegas with 20+ open seats after they would not waive the flight transfer fee for my pregnant wife and 2 year old when we tried to get on an earlier flight. As an A-List member the transfer fee was waived for me (policy) but instead of sacrificing the $150 for a "Top Tier" loyal customer, they opted to send the plane off with 20+ open seats (no deviation from policy).

 

(2) I had purchased a flight to Hawaii for myself and my wife ($800 roundtrip) right before I hit Companion. So when I hit Companion I added my wife for that flight and cancelled the purchased flight so she got $800 in funds to her name. Well, since you have to use the $800 in a year but she was my Companion for the next year, I was essentially out $800. I called Customer Service and they said they could transfer her funds to me but that they'd take a $100 transfer fee. No flex at all in waiving that fee, didn't matter that I took 60 flights with them that year. 

 

(3) Amidst all this COVID crap I will say they've been good about extending dates (big deal, so has every other airline). Now that things are looking up we decided to book some travel for the upcoming year and what better time to use the funds from #2, right? WRONG. Southwest doesn't extend "Vouchers", which is apparently what the funds were transferred to in #2. Again, doesn't matter that I'm A-List or a Companion Pass holder. Doesn't matter that there was a global pandemic when my voucher expired. Doesn't matter that it was $800 of my cash. Southwest not only stole $100 of my money to transfer the funds from my wife's name to mine in #2 (really big effort and expenditure on their end to re-type a name, right?), they then stole the remaining $700 without ever notifying me that all the other 'expiration date extension' emails did not apply to vouchers. Reminder, this is not a LUV Voucher in the sense that Southwest gifted me $800 for giving up my seat. That was $800 of my money that was used to purchase a flight that was cancelled. I called, I wrote, and I got an email that basically told me to get bent but thank you so much for your loyalty. Bunch of BS. Their customer service is atrocious.

 

All in all, not only have my experiences absolutely sucked lately with them, I know plenty of people who fly other airlines and receive top-notch service for their loyalty. With the amount of miles I've accumulated with Southwest I'd be upgraded to first class every flight on any other airline and be sitting in a lounge before flights with comp'd food and beverage.

 

Do not fly Southwest or look at RapidRewards as anything other than monetary rewards (e.g. points). Your loyalty means nothing to them and your 1,000,000 flights or points gets you the exact same treatment as the guy who opened the credit card for his first ever flight on Southwest for free. Again, that's great news for the casual flier or bargain flier but horrible for anyone who will fly frequently.

 

Take your business elsewhere. When I use up my 300,000 points and vouchers, I'm cancelling my Southwest credit cards and will never fly with them again.