While there are some perks that improve the program for what I have to believe is a small subset of the RR base (heavy Business Select travelers), the change for me, and I believe most folks, is a net negative. The biggest reasons to me:
1) I have to purchase more flights (or more $$ spend) to obtain the same award utility as before.
2) It's much more convoluted to figure out what is needed to earn an award (when a calculator is required, you've done it wrong).
3) There's no longer such a thing as 'an award'. Redemption value is vairable, and as others have noted, low-advance-notice redemptions are now essentially a thing of the past.
I understand that the existing RR program is likely more expensive for Southwest to operate than the programs of competing airlines, and that combined with other price pressures (maintaining no bag fees, for example) the pressure is on to find ways to cut costs. But altering the program that your company uses to reward its most loyal customers (or Customers in Southwest-speak) in a way that at worst severely devalues its worth to them and at best increases unnecessary complexity doesn't seem like the wisest (or most LUV-filled) move to me.
Although I realize that it's unlikely, I hope that the RR team uses the feedback being sent by all of us RR members to modify the upcoming program. The ease-of-use and high value of the old RR program kept me booking flights with Southwest without comparing to other airlines. I fear those days are numbered.
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