The news of these changes has dampened my day. Since reading about it last night, I have had that feeling of dissapointment.
I've been a faithful SWA traveller. I lfew SWA exclusively, didn't even look at other airlines. For me, the RR was a big incentive. I liked being able to plan last minute RR travel. Now it will be impossible, because the cost in points will be ridiculously high.
As I think about it, this really seems like a very bad move.
1) will this program attract new customers to SWA? no, it will actually lose existing customer business. Some, if not several, loyal SWA flyers that were exclusively flying SWA, will no longer be doing this. SWA will lose some of its business to other airlines.
2) will SWA flights be packed like the normally are? I think that after the change, there will be a drop in seat occupancy. Less short haul and last minute flyers will be booking to fly, and the flights will not be as full. At times, some of the business travelers may decide to drive instead, when flying short distances. Others wll seek more convenience, and will use other airlines that porvide more convenience in their flight, schedule, or route than SWA's.
3) will the strategy of just selling tickets through the SWA website work? Likely not... old customers who were going direct to SWA without looking at other airline's fares will now start comparison shopping. SWA competition will increase. In order to compete, SWA will have to again base it on cost, and try to again be the low cost carrier. At this time, SWA is no longer the lowest cost... in fact some Anytime flights are actually quite expensive... being the low cost carrier is not a good business strategy for the long run.
I hope I am wrong, because I like SWA... but to me this is a little bit like killing your golden goose. It is like trying to put out the enthusiasm and fervor that loyal SWA rapid reward members had for the airline. This is terrible.
Brian, you are brave, and I can feel for you (because you are swimming against the current on this hurricane that is coming at you), and perhaps you do believe this RR 2.0 is better... however I think SWA is missing the boat on this... on my opinion, the more you say this is better, you are causing further discontent and dissappointment with the vast majority of opiners on here. No disrespect, but it feels like you have drank the corporate kool aid, and are feeding the dissapointed customers the SWA corporate spin. That is so unlike what SWA used to be.
Good luck with this change. I really think SWA will need it.
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I'm dissappointed about the changes... one thing that bothers me is when a company tries to spin a change as something that is good and better for its customers. This is clearly not better for the majority of Southwest's customers, who I think are usually the shorter flight, regional and business flyers. Now this large core of customers will see this reward program diluted.
Like many I exclusively look at Southwest for my business travel. I probably fly Southwest about 30 to 40 times a year.
One of the things I liked was being able to use my reward travel on last minute (less than one week away) reservations. Now I won;t be able to do this without having a significant increase in my cost to my points balance. In addition, the points needed will also be more the further away you fly, since fares for longer flights are higher, and thus the points needed for rewards is much larger as well.
This is completely different than most of other airlines (with assigned seating) where you pay the same point price within the US. It doesn't matter if you are going NY to SF, or NY to DC. The points needed is the same. With this new Rapid Rewards program, the points for the longer flight is much larger. I personally saw a great advantage and perceived much value on the credits system that was used... as of Mar. 1. it seems to me this program will take a big hit for the worse.
Believe me when i say I love Southwest, but these changes are very dissappointing to me. I would probably have felt less bad if the new program hadn't been presented to me as "Exciting Enhancements"... something I think they are not.
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