Brian, if it is hard to find a seat to use your normal Rapid Rewards award and you have to "upgrade" to "Freedom" awards, then, in reality, it has taken you 32 one-way flights (instead of 16) to earn that award.
Also, Freedom awards are only round trip, not one way, correct?
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re comment above about "Freedom Awards". Someone else stated that Freedom Awards can only be used for a round trip, not two one-ways. Southwest, which is it???? In looking at what Southwest says about Freedom awards, there is nothing that says that it can be used for a one-way trip.
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In thinking more about the unfriendly changes to loyal customers like us who are not business travelers traveling every week (I have traveled 16 one way trips in the last year), I am going to cancel my Southwest Credit card and get one with United. Why? Because I was willing to have my family fly 1-stop flights from LA to Seattle because of the other benefits of Southwest used to offer. Now, I'd rather book us going non-stop to Southern California. Many times the other airline rates are competitive, but I had brand loyalty that I no longer have.
I'm extremely disappointed with the changes to the Rapid Rewards free tickets. Not being able to use them separately as one-way awards, and having to combine two awards just to get seats has basically devalued awards that took a lot of flying for us to earn.
I really liked the "we are all equal" benefit that Southwest used to have. Now you want to cater to business people. In all the times I flew, I never got the impression that business people minded how Southwest handled everything. If they didn't like it, they flew another airline. Now, I feel like "mashed potatoes" because I'm not your treasured business passenger.
Also, I was one of the ones who would always try and check in 24 hours ahead to get an "A" pass, and then I would try and get to the airport and stand in line so I got a good seat. I never minded standing in line (i'm gonna be sitting for a long time on the airplane anyway), and I liked it that if I put forth the effort, I could get in line and get the seat I wanted. Another benefit of waiting in line is often you would start a conversation with someone else in line. It was always a friendly time.
Anyway, for whatever reason, you've changed your culture. You forgot what you did best, and threw it away. Companies that do this usually don't recover. Good luck!
What are some of the things you did that caused this brand loyalty: checking 3 bags (helpful for college kids); allowing changes in tickets with no penalty (helpful for college kids with unknown schedules); allowing rapid rewards awards to be used for 1-way travel, and to have lots of opportunities to use them; treating everyone as special . . . you've discontinued two out of the four in one day . . . I expect the rest to end, soon, also.
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I, too, am extremely disappointed that Southwest decided to mess with the Rapid Rewards free tickets. I have a Southwest credit card that is now worthless to me if I can't use the free tickets. Basically, you are telling us that it now takes 32 credits to earn one round trip, instead of 16, if there are hardly any seats available with the 16 credit award.
I love Southwest and have flown lots, but I have to agree with other posters that you are becoming more like other airlines. What good are free awards if we can't book them.
I was needing to book my daughter from LAX to New York for an April spring break. Luckily I booked on another airline with free miles (non-stop, even) before Southwest schedule opened up. When I looked today if I would have been able to book her using Southwest free tickets, they were already gone.
And why can't we use rewards for a one way flight? We've done that before when necessary. I'm sad.
Last year I had a daughter in Chicago have her schedule open up suddenly so she decided to fly to LA to visit her sister. Because we had a Rapid Reward free ticket, whe was able to book round trip 2 days before she traveled and surprise her sister. Now it sounds like those seats won't be available any more.
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