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Introducing the All-New Rapid Rewards -- Blog Post

Employee
Employee


Happy New Year, everybody!  Indeed, today is a happy day, both for me personally and for Southwest Airlines, as we are officially unveiling our All-New Rapid Rewards program.  I know many of you have been anxiously waiting for us to announce the details of the new program, and believe me, we have been just as anxious to share our plans with you.  This is, after all, the single biggest new product launch in our Company’s history, and I am so proud to be a part of it.   While the new program will not officially launch until March 1, 2011, we are announcing the details today to give our Members plenty of time to become familiar with the changes.     

Believe it or not, we actually began work on enhancing our Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program several years ago.  While I know that seems like an awfully long time, it is hard to comprehend the magnitude and scope that goes into revamping an entire loyalty program.  If you think about it, our Rapid Rewards program impacts almost every single aspect of our operation and our Company, from our Frontline Employees, to our Customer Support and Services Representatives, to our Customer Relations and Rapid Rewards Employees, to our Technology folks and our Reservations system, to our policies and procedures--not to mention all of the research that goes into hearing what our Members want to see in a new program. 

And that is exactly what the All-New Rapid Rewards program is all about--meeting your needs and the needs of today’s traveler.  We began by asking you, our Customers, and even those who don’t currently fly on Southwest, what is important to them in a loyalty program.  We conducted months of Customer surveys, focus groups, and research to find out what travelers like about our current program, what they don’t like, and what they’d like to see changed.  Best of all – we listened!

You told us that you don’t like blackout dates, seat restrictions, expiring credits, and limited options for earning and redeeming your credits, and that you did want additional ways to redeem, including travel to international destinations.  Well, do I have some good news for you!  In the All-New Rapid Rewards program, Members can redeem their points for every seat, every day, on every flight, with absolutely no blackout dates or seat restrictions.  Simply put, if we are selling the seat, you can redeem points for it.  And points don’t expire as long as you have some earning activity in a 24-month time period.  Members will earn points for every dollar spent, so the amount of points you earn is based on the fare and fare product purchased.  The same is true for redeeming points. 

Another new feature of the enhanced program that we are really excited about is that Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers will not only be able to redeem their points for Southwest flights, but they will also be able to redeem their points for international flights to more than 800 worldwide destinations, for hotel stays, gift cards, and much more. 

The new program is designed to give you, our Customers, more control and flexibility over how and when you earn and redeem your points.  When you buy certain fare products, you earn more points.  And you can get the most out of your points by planning ahead so you can redeem them for the lowest fare possible.  When you can plan ahead, you spend fewer points, and when a flight goes on sale, the number of points needed to redeem for that flight goes on sale, too.  In the new program, you have the flexibility to spend your points as you wish.  After all, this is a program designed for you, and these are your points!

The new program also features enhancements for our A-List Members and includes a new level of status with the A-List Preferred level.  A-List Members will now enjoy new benefits, including a 25 percent earning bonus on flights.  Additionally, the new A-List Preferred level includes all of the benefits of A-List, plus a 100 percent earning bonus on flights in addition to a few other benefits.  And we’re excited to carry our popular Companion Pass program into the All-New Rapid Rewards.     

Of course, Current Rapid Rewards Members will retain their existing Awards and credits, and our A-List and Companion Pass Members will retain their status level in the new program.  All Members will be enrolled in the new program, and there is no need for them to re-enroll.

There are far too many details of our new program for me to mention here, and we’ve developed a whole host of resources and information for you to learn about the All-New Rapid Rewards.  I encourage you to watch the brief videos that accompany this post right here on our blog, as they help explain the crucial elements of the new program.  Additionally, we created a special web site, www.newrapidrewards.com, where you can learn even more.  Plus, existing Rapid Rewards Members should be on the lookout for information that we will send directly to them.

I know our Rapid Rewards program is beloved and has been around for 24 years, and for the most part, we haven’t really changed it that much.  But the time for an upgrade has come, and we truly believe that we have taken an award-winning program and made it even better.  I hope you will agree, and I wish you all the very best throughout the New Year!   

 

204 Comments
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@B.lusk I have been A List for a couple of years now. I've earned 100 credits in just 7 months (4/8/10-11/12/10) last year to obtain my second companion pass .From 1/6/09 through 1/6/11, I have earned 236.25 credits. I flew 57 one way flights last year of those as Business Select. 55 of those flights with more than half of them as long haul flights. I currently have 7 awards now and have used the other 7 for family vacation and last minute travel for family members. (under the new program will really suck points out of us) This year I expect to have the same type of flight and travel schedule. When I must travel to a location with no Southwest service I fly another airline. Last year I flew with another airline 10 times. I have the budget to make my own travel plans with any type of Southwest flight I want. I feel a traveler such as myself should receive A-List Preferred status when the new program starts in March. I will tell you this Southwest needs to think real hard about us heavy travelers when you decide who will be on the Preferred list. I can take my $35K air fair budget this year and find another airline real easy. I fly Southwest for the personal perks with the Rewards program. Since flight were easy to earn I stayed with you. I do like Delta's and United's programs that let me use miles for hotels and rental cars without having to have a yearly fee credit card. And no I will not be getting a SW credit card just to be able to use rewards points for those items. What you should had done for use business fliers and long haul fliers is just give us more credits for those $950 round trip flights. It would have need easier than this mess. And in one of your post you said points were easier to figure out..?? What is easier than knowing it takes 16 to get a round trip? Look on the calender and see if there is a flight available? i HEAR A BIG BELLY FLOP COMING DOWN ON THIS ONE SW.
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remember the days when 4 roundtrip flights booked online resulted in a free RT ticket? There weren't multiple classes of passengers. If a seat was available you could use your reward. Period. It was easy. and how many times has it changed since?? Each time they change it it;s an attempt to squeeze more out of their dedicated travelers. BS. They can take this convoluted, complicated and stupid extension of their clandestine attempt to create what every other airline has done: different classes, and STICK IT. I can guarantee you the company spent more time trying to figure out how to pitch this program so people wouldn;t realized how screwed they were getting vs actually developing the program. You;re no longer my go-to airlines. Pay extra to get a boarding card sooner. Pay extra to be at the front of the boarding line. Pay extra and you;ll earn rewards faster. Pay extra... Pay extra.... But hey, bags fly free! What a joke. The one good thing they;ve done in the last 10 years was boarding numbers...... They've officially joined the ranks of every other lousy airline out there. Well Done!
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Southwest, shame, shame shame on you. I fly between six and 10 round trips annualy from PHX to SFO/SJC/OAK- and usually no further. At the current rate, it will be between three and four years before I earn enough points to do anything with my 'points' beyond what I'd like to do with them. I mean, REALLY? Whoever is in charge of your customer loyalty program should be dragged out onto the tarmac at Love field, and shown exactly the roots of your most frequent fliers: THOSE OF US ON SEGMENTS UNDER 750 MILES. Remember: Southwest is a POINT TO POINT, HIGH FREQUENCY airline, composed of the majority of their city pairs UNDER 750 MILES. It seems that somebody up there no longer LUVS us who are the short haul fliers... and those of us who BUILT Southwest as the core market of the business. I'm truly disappointed in this- and it makes me very sad that I can actually earn mileage faster by flying on United/Continental than I can on Southwest- even with the fees attached onto them. Somewhere, I think Herb is hitting the bottle of Wild Turkey pretty hard tonight-
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This program is very transparent. I have put hundreds of thousands of dollars on my SW Rapid Rewards card(s) both personally and through my businesses this last year alone, and in years past. This program changes everything for me. The previous program was simplistic and clear cut. This new program is a way for SW to transfer the cost of business back to it's customers in my opinion. Maybe this was SW's alternative to adding baggage fees?! The math is simple, and this new rewards program will have more of a negative impact than a positive. I will expect SW to see a mass exodus of rewards customers over time as this program unfolds, including myself. Very sad....
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This is not a "upgrade". It is a pure BS dilution of the program. So much for all the "luv" SWA has tried to cultivate with all of us FORMER loyal travelers.
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I understand the reason behind the changes. It is a total loss for me. I fly a lot of very cheap flights and book and rebook when the fare drops in advance. I was taking advantage of the old program by flying on very cheap days to gain ALIST status. I have only paid full price one time, for a one-way ticket. $415.00. So this will really help business people who pay full fare. On the other side. I fly a lot and only fly Southwest. Try flying to Birmingham to get to Atlanta, stoping in Oakland for Seatle, Stopping in Vegas for for Salt Lake City. All three city's have non stops on other airlines from San Diego. I require my 70 employees to only fly Southwest. This program looks similar to all the rest. I will have to look at other airlines when Southwest has no nonstop. How many points am I going to get for that $30.00 flight to Vegas or the $29.00 flight from MCO to RSW. It will be nice to get on JetBlue to New York nonstop. I will still fly Southwest, but shop around for the right deal and time.
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I have flown SWA almost exclusively for years. This is so sneaky; why not just change the old program to 18 credits needed for a flight, if you really need the $. Don't lie about this being better; show some "luv". Don't be surprised to see cut up credit cards in the mail and less passengers.
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We should have seen this coming....this is always what happens when a little company becomes an industry giant. They lose the special qualities that got them to the top in the first place...and typically at the expense of those who got them there. Shame on you SWA for screwing us and shame on us for not expecting it.
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What a ridiculously complex program for an airline who's success is built on being simple. Southwest has lost their direction, focus and identity.
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I just canceled my more expensive rental car because I don't care about the Rapid Reward anymore. Liberating!
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While I certainly benefited more from the old system than I will with the new one, I do think the new Rapid Rewards programs is fair to all customers. For everyone saying they are going to bolt to the legacy carriers because this new program is so terrible, do you think their programs are any better? If you flew all short haul with those carriers, back when the 500 mile minimums were still in place (not anymore unless you're elite), it would usually take you 25 round trips to earn 1 domestic round trip ticket, subject to ridiculous capacity controls making the "standard" rewards useless. And if you have to cancel your trip at the last minute, expect to pay another ridiculous redeposit fee just to keep your miles. At least with this program, you earn and redeem based on what you did pay or what you would pay if you hadn't earned points on the flight. I'm also not naive enough to believe that Southwest is the same airline as they were back when Rapid Rewards was established with the fly 8 roundtrips, get 1 free format that the program has been for years. Southwest is a much larger airline with a much more complex network, and with a much longer average trip segment than they had 15-20 years ago. The current program simply did not make sense to the company anymore, and I applaud Southwest for coming up with what amounts to a fair program. While I am not excited about the new program, I do believe it is fair. At the end of the day, I choose to fly Southwest because the choose not to exploit their customers with bag fees and change fees, and I know that the customer service I receive will not be beat by any other airline. Now, if you could bring back service to IAH, with more destinations that just Dallas to choose from for non-stop flights so that I could avoid driving all the way through Houston every time I fly home, that would be icing on the cake. You serve both BWI and IAD, FLL and PBI, OAK SJC and SFO, and all the LA area airports, so why not both Houston airports? Continental has really taken a nosedive in customer service since you pulled out back in 2005, and with the merger with United in full swing this would be the time to strike!
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The "LowFare Airline" has not had the lowest fares in over a year. Pick a destination, check SWA, then Orbitz the same route. At least 3 airlines come in lower. I stuck with SWA because of the simple RR program. Now I have a second job...calculating points to convert into an award. This is a sad day for Southwest and their loyal customers. Why do you want to be like the old fart airlines? You broke the mold 40 years ago with fun, peanuts, and low fares. Now you're middle age, higher fares, and I need an I-5 core computer to calculate if I can go home for my reunion. Bring back Herb, Colleen, low fares, and the old RR program or lose your loyalists!
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How quickly we forget our roots. Remember when you landed the FA would say " We know you have a choice and thank you for choosing Southwest". Now your loyal A-list members are saying, "You have 7 weeks to reconsider this "Nuts" program or we're going to choose another carrier" Dudes and dudettes in Dallas, how insulting for your people to put comments on this blog saying we need to chill out, the program is better for us, we've put a couple years into this new program, etc. We are educated flyers and we know when we're getting screwed...we've had alot of experience with the other airlines. Dump Gary and bring HERB back.
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If it ain't broke don't fix it! Southwest has lost my business for creating a new RR that's worse for loyal customers. All we have to do is watch all the videos, then use the calculator system to find the matrix of how many points that a flyer can accrue, then spend more for an award ticket. Southwest was based on simplicity and good customer service, but now its just like legacy carriers. Looks like WN has three months to fix a broken concept.
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FU Brian Lusk for lying to customers and saying this RR scam is better for customers.
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SWA has become a (peanut) shell of its former self. Bet Herb won't sleep for a week over this. Would have prefered them ending the RR program but keeping low prices. SWA used to be an industry leader, American and the others always tried to match Southwest's fares. Now SWA matches American's. Bottom line, SWA is hoping to fill all of its capacity-controlled Wanna Get Away seats with business RR rewards customers, pushing the average traveler to Business Class fares. Never knew I would need a doctorate from MIT and a slide rule to figure out my RR status. Guess Gary & Co. will get what they want, just like AA, empty and losing millions annually. Sad day for a Texan that now sees the morgue-like flights of AA as equal or better than SWA! At least I can figure out their frequent flyer program.
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When I got the email about the change I was both concerned and angry. I have been a Rapid Rewards member for a long time. I have 9 zeros in front of my Rapid Rewards member number. Every change in the past has been bad for the customer and good for Southwest Airlines. I have now learned about the new changes and they are not just bad, they are terrible. It will now take 2 to 3 times longer to earn enough points to get a free flight. The expenditures on a Southwest Airlines Visa are devalued in regard to earning a free flight while the annual fee for the credit card is increased. The changes to the Rapid Rewards program really suck. These changes make the program mediocre to poor. Southwest Airlines appears to only care about people on the A list and business select, if they even care about any customers. The word 'greed' comes to mind. All of the hype about the changes is only propaganda and is easily seen as such when the changes are evaluated. I am disappointed, disillusioned, and angry with Southwest Airlines. They are loyal only to themselves. The individuals at Southwest Airlines who think this is a great change are both delusional and stupid if they think Rapid Rewards members are going to like the changes.
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Lets just hope that by Southwest giving less reward for cheaper flights, there will now be more cheaper flights. I find it interesting that the things that made you such a successful airline, are the very things you are changing. In my opinion, you are being more and more like those airlines that you successfully competed with for the last 35 years. The "Southwest Difference" isn't very different anymore.
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What are you thinking, SWA? You got where you are by being different from the others! You had a great ,simple recipe for success that won you thousands of satisfied customers. Obviously,you decided your program was too generous and thought that by making the new one confusing we wouldn't notice what we were losing. We are not that stupid. Goodby, SWA... Hello, Jet Blue!
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I've gone out of my way on numerous instances to fly SWA on short-haul flights, in order to take advantage of the one credit per one-way setup. This includes inconveniences such as driving to Houston Hobby or connecting through Love Field to get to my destination. Well, those days of seeking out SWA are over. I think you'll find that you will have to greatly reduce the price on your short haul flights to fill them now - your loyal customers won't be taking them as often due to the lack of the strong FF benefit. Perhaps this may benefit me in the end after all, paying less for SWA flights up front, and no more Chase CC fees (bye bye SWA Chase card!).
New Arrival
Southwest taught me to look for and use their lowest fares. I bragged about it. Now, SWA screws me for using those same "low" fares they urged me to seek and use. My wife and I make numerous flights to Las Vegas each year at an average roundtrip price of around $250 per person. That roundtrip earned each of us TWO Rapid Reward credits. Under your new "Screw the Customer Again" system each of us will only earn 1.25 RR credits. Southwest no longer wants to serve their customers but instead serve the bottom-line money grabbers. I also plan to sell my stock in your new, screw the customer airline.
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This new program does not seem user friendly...at least to the consumer...as a fairly new member of the RR program...I was really enjoying the ease of the program and the ability to really reap the benefits!! I even signed up for the CC...really against my better judgement...I am against the $59 annual fee...with this new program...y'all should get rid of that fee...would take a little of the sting off if you are to keep with this new plan. That's just my thought!! I have always liked flying SWA because of the fares and y'all were different than all the other airlines...but now it looks as though you are becoming one of "them"!!! Sad sad day.... :o(
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I've always wondered how SWA would hedge their fuel costs vs a free flight sitting in a customer's account. I knew they were in the futures market, now its been added to rapid rewards.
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I knew SWA was hedging fuel costs in the futures market. They are now hedging the potential costs of free flights in the Rapid Rewards program. The best we could hope for is to pay huge airfares for a number of years and then have oil drop back down to $30 a barrell. Not too likely given that we have passed peak oil.
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Wow. As a traveler in the Chicago area and having a choice of two airports, I have always looked to Southwest first and even if the price was a bit more (rare but sometimes it did happen) I would fly Southwest for the Rapid Rewards. The vast majority of my trips are short-haul (for business). Chicago to STL or KC. I even fly SW to Columbus, OH and rent a car to drive drive to Dayton, OH for client meetings. I can't say for sure I will stop flying SW, but to me the incentive seems to have been lost. I understand the SW is now one of the largest (if not the largest) domestic carrier but it seems as if you are forgetting the culture that got you to that point. While it is nice to be able to vent, I can't imagine that SW really cares about what they have done. Signed, Long time (and formely ecstatic) Rapid Rewards Member
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This is a real disappointment. In 2010 I swtiched over to Southwest as my preferred carrier for my frequent trips. In one year I earned A-List and Companion Pass and decided to get the SW credit card because I liked them so much. Now, I realize how much less benefit I will get from the program and wish I never got the SW card and dont see the point in flying SW anymore. Of course, now that they are buying Airtran who had a similar rewards program to the old SW one, I cant even go there. Well SW, this change cost you one frequent flier....
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Hey Lusk, bet you didn't sleep well last night! I have had two companion passes and over sixty free flights in the last ten years. Before SWA flew into PHL, I would regularly fly to Baltimore and then drive to Philly, Manchester and then drive to Boston. I still fly to Ft Lauderdale then drive to Miami. I have two SWA Chase credit cards on which I charge over $100,000 a year. I book rental cars on the SWA website. I WAS proud of my loyalty to SWA. Unfortunately, SWA has forgotten their loyalty to me and all the other people who have made SWA the most profitable airline in the world. In trying to eke out every last dollar, you have destroyed the most popular rewards program in the industry. How many Freddie Awards has Rapids Rewards won? Coke reversed course on New Coke, SWA can reverse course on this fiasco before it's too late. Just because you spent $100 million so far, doesn't mean you have to expend any more of your goodwill. ARE YOU LISTENING TO YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS!!!! Ask yourselves: What would Herb do?
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Everyone should do what I have done and that is call SWA and let them know how you feel. You all should have the special rapids rewards phone number on your card. So call them up and identiy yourself and tell them how you feel. I still can't believe that they have the gall to say in there info "now you can earn free flights even faster". I don't like it when companies lie and that statement is an outright lie!!!
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Like everyone else who always will fly southwest if given a choice, I'm disappointed with the change. SWA had one of the few if not the last straight forward rewards programs and now they're lowering themselves to 'what everyone else is doing' Yes they probably had to pay out more rewards than the competition, but I would have hoped the loyalty we gave them would have been reward enough. I never post on blogs, but this news was just such a shocker to see. We are all so wise to the normal corporate BS posts where all changes are always spun to be 'better' for 'us', so please don't disrespect your loyal customers by trying to dupe us this is a change for the better. I'm proud to see you slowly become a national carrier, just too bad you had to shed your roots and possibly 'us' to make the adjustment.
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This is a double win for Southwest. First they very slyly increase what is needed to earn a free flight by surrounding it with a complicated process to figure our the earning and redemption rates and then there is the other way that no one has picked up on yet. I think that Southwest has had trouble attracting partners to RR due to the relatively high cost that 3rd parties have to pay southwest for the full or 1/2 credit that they then reward their customers with. From reports I have read, most other airlines make a ton of money selling miles to 3rd party companies/partners because the basic unit, they mile, is so cheap to purchase. Its become a profit center for them. Delta comes to mind. By going to a points system, the basic unit that could be purchased by 3rd party partner has greatly been devalued. A point is worth much less than a credit. This now allows more 3rd party companies to purchase points and uses as rewards to their customers where before they had to purchase a 1/2 or full point which was too expensive for them. Good move Southwest for YOU. Bad move for ME........
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Perhaps this has already been addressed but does anyone know if I will be still be able to use my points under the new system toward a flight for someone else the same way that I can under the old system?
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I have read the entire thread. I concur that the short haul flyers are hurt. It will be interesting to see how this works out for individual RR members. One thing I am certain of is that saving up a free ticket for a coveted Spring Break or Holiday flight no longer makes sense as the RR cost will be based on the published ticket price. It's also true that last minute 'free ticket' getaways are a thing of the past. I had very much enjoyed that under the old system where the Mrs. and I would jet away tonight for the weekend simply because we could, even with RR seat limitations. RR credit is just alternative money now. Well Brian. I know you have read this entire thread as well and probably received thousands of phone calls. Please tell Gary to be careful with the culture. Don't let the accountants talk you guys into too much. If anybody brings up bag fees or flight change fees walk out of the meeting immediately. Adopting either would kill your franchise. God bless. See you guys on my next flight in 10 days.
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Wow. You are certainly taking a lot of incoming rounds. I haven't seen this level of passionate disdain since the boarding process was reformed. But that worked out pretty well, after all the sound and fury. The additional complexity introduced into the RR system is a drawback. But, if people would look at the particulars, they will find that, upon examination, it is not really so confusing after all. The uncertainty of not knowing what the redemption cost of an Award Ticket will be from one day to another is, in my mind, the biggest problem with the new system. Nevertheless, there are some attractive new benefits. We will have to see how things work out. I suspect that after all the sound and fury this time, things will again turn out okay. Overall, while some of us might not like the fact that the RR value of our short-haul discounted tickets has been reduced, it really IS fair that the purchasers of more expensive tickets should get greater benefits. It is hardly a secret that a major reason for the change is to rectify the imbalance in benefits and attempt to attract more "Customers of Size", dollarwise. It's just a good business move. Each of us will have to evaluate how it affects us personally, and act accordingly. Still, Southwest is taking a gamble. They are risking alienating the regular short-haul travelers in the hopes of attracting a more lucrative longer-haul clientele. (A big drawback to this strategy's success could be the absence of a forward cabin. Maybe during the AirTran integration, some observations could be taken. But, I digress.) While no company wants to make its loyal customers unhappy, the plain fact is that the level of benefits accruing to the regular short-haul travelers was probably unsustainable, and had to altered in any event. So, it just makes sense to make the change in conjunction with offering greater benefits to customers spending more money. To all you people complaining about how you are losing in this new program, consider this: The benefits accruing to you have been very expensive for the company. If the cost of those benefits is reduced, the company will have greater resources to offer better value elsewhere in the travel experience. So, let's just see how this shakes out. A personal note: My wife and I are loyal Southwest customers, taking around 80 trips per year between us. Our geographic location means that we make very few short-haul flights. So, perhaps we don't have the same sense of loss that some of the other posters are expressing. The changes will not affect our loyalty. We like Southwest for a lot of reasons: No baggage fees are a big thing. No change fees are a HUGE thing. The attitude of SW personnel is generally terrific. Rapid Rewards (both old and new) is a good program. We love the Companion Pass. The A-list is great. The AirTran acquisition opens up more places we want to go. We are looking forward to the new Rapid Rewards credit card. We are anxious to see what the possibilities are for international travel in the new system. I could go on. Sorry to be so long-winded. I almost never post here. (I think the last time was right after the failed Frontier deal, when I stated that Southwest should purchase AirTran instead. Little did I know.)
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It took you all years to rollout this plan? It looks virtually no different than the existing plans by Delta Airlines and other major carriers (of which I am also a member but try not to fly because SWA used to offer the best frequent flier program). I am very saddened and unimpressed with SWA's decision to complicate their rewards program by becoming a FOLLOWER instead of a LEADER...in this case SWA is following the lesser performing, less successful airlines like Delta and United/Continental. Whomever is responsible for this will surely rue the day that they decided to roll this out. At this point in time, I am now going to de-link all of my SWA reward programs (e.g. dining, car rental, hotels partners etc) because I see no value in continuing to devote my business related activities to SWA. I guess one redeeming factor is the fact that I no longer have to devote all of my business expense activity to SWA since they no longer value their loyal customers. If I may make a suggestion, perhaps SWA should start charging for baggage as well? It would increase profits tremendously in the short-term - of course it would be an unwise long-term strategy but it doesn't appear that this is a concern at SWA any longer - and SWA can even deploy some sort of marketing strategy like the current, boasting about "how charging for baggage will increase customer satisfaction blah blah blah." Way to mess up a great thing SWA!!!!!!!!!!!!! - EB
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SWA has lost me as a loyal supporter. they're just like the rest of the airlines now as far as I'm concerned. no better and no worse. what a stupid move.
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I canceled my southwest rapid rewards visa today. I've been a southwest customer since the 80's when I'd travel between dallas and san antonio. This new program is the beginning of the end of southwest as we know it. I've always bragged about southwest and I've even fly southwest when other airlines were are cheaper taking their bag fees into account. I can't do that anymore with this new program. Southwest - prove that you are the customer friendly airline that you claim to be and bring back the program that your customers want (or at least give us the option to choose the rewards program we want!)
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If people who want special "treatment" want to deal with big metal rolling carts, "free" champagne and all the crap, them them fly other airlines.
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Yah all! Did somebody allow "W" to get on the executive board???
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Can't afford to visit my grandchildren now. GREED is not good.
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I am an A-List, loyal (for years) Southwest regional flight customer. I have read the first 50 blogs. I agree with the majority of the business travelers - very, very poor move on the part of Southwest. For the Senior Director to come out so excited about announcing this just shows he is out of touch with his loyal flyers. With my flights it will take closer to ten roundtrips to get a ticket, and that ticket might only get me to closer destinations. Years ago, Northwest had the best frequent flyer program (the coupons you could use anytime for any flight). Southwest came along to rival it. Northwest did away with it, and look what has happened to their customer base. I will still fly Southwest, but by no means will it be my preferred airline anymore. The incentive just disappeared for me. Please rethink this Southwest.
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Can't afford to visit my grandchildren now. GREED is not good.
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Okay, folks! Here's a quick breakdown of the stats so far: Time since this news was originally posted here: 37.25 hours Total number of comments as of 2:15pm pacific time, today(including mine): 138 Number of posters who are: - Pleased with the changes: 10 - Displeased with the changes: 106 - Neutral about the changes: 5 - Just plain confused: 7 Responses from SWA employees: 6 At least three people have said that they're planning on or already have cancelled their SWA Rapid Rewards Visa cards. Most common opinions expressed are that the new system: - is disappointing. - is overly complex. - is misrepresented as a good deal. - hurts most frequent fliers, especially those who take short-haul flights. - only benefits business class & A-List fliers, and then only marginally. - screws SWA's historically loyal customer base. - is too much like all of the other airline reward systems out there. - will reduce or has already reduced consumer confidence in the company. Many say that they'll be switching to other carriers. Many have also stated that they find the wording (spin) of the announcement to be misleading, dishonest, and insulting to their intelligence. One poster even went as far as to state that he plans on selling his stock in the company. Notable quotes: "More choices. More difficult. More expensive. Less rewarding." - M Potter "A polished cow pie is still a cow pie. Welcome to a much more complicated way to move about the country." - txaggie96 "Pay extra to get a boarding card sooner. Pay extra to be at the front of the boarding line. Pay extra and you'll earn rewards faster. Pay extra... Pay extra.... But hey, bags fly free! What a joke." -anonymous "I require my 70 employees to only fly Southwest. This program looks similar to all the rest. I will have to look at other airlines when Southwest has no nonstop." -Jason "I still can't believe that they have the gall to say in there info "now you can earn free flights even faster". I don't like it when companies lie and that statement is an outright lie!!!" -sandy2 "What are you thinking, SWA? … Goodbye SWA… Hello, Jet Blue!" -r. bird Southwest, I really hope you're listening.
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The SW shills need to take a chill pill, not the rest of us who recognize the latest in a series of new ways to grin and make a buck by the "peoples' airline". I've been flying SW since they took over the California routes. I used to be their greatest cheerleader, now I'm just another shulb who's stuck with the cattle car of the sky. How arrogant you SW gods are. Just tell us you've figured out a revenue enhancing program with which to delight the execs and treat us like intelligent adults.
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We have noticed that honesty, reliability and on board service has plunged this last year. Now we understand!
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I'll be canceling my card at renewal...unless I can get a rebate on unused months
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>It is hardly a secret that a major reason for the change is to rectify the imbalance in benefits and attempt to attract more "Customers of Size", dollarwise. It's just a good business move. Southwest would have been better off to present the change this directly: Here's why it makes sense for us, and here's what we did to make the change easier on you. Here's who wins, here's who loses, and here's why we needed to reduce the program's generosity to people buying $39 tickets. There are already well over 500 customer posts on Rapid Rewards 2.0, including advice on why and how you should try to reach 100 credits before March 1, at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/southwest-rapid-rewards-501/ nsx at flyertalk.com's Southwest forum
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I fly SWA all of the time and I can see why they are changing their program. The previous program was very easy to use, however I'm sure the new program the new program will be just as easy. SWA always has it's passengers best interest at heart from all of my experiences. They are a business and I think their new Frequent flier program is VERY FAIR! With the previous rapid reward program people that took 16 roundtrips no matter where to received a free ticket to anywhere that SWA flew. So in other words some people that bought tickets from Florida to California 4 times a year and paid a lot of money for their flights didn't get a free ticket because they didn't fly enough roundtrips even though they spent much more money and flew more miles then the person that went from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale 8 times a year. So the person who spent more and flew more miles got nothing and the person who spent less and didn't fly many miles got a free ticket. The only people that I see being upset with this new program is the people that took short flights and spent the least amount of money. Also why do we as consumers give airlines such a hard time?? I think SWA has the best service, best employees, and policies. Thanks SWA for all you do. Even though I'm sure you only always here the negative.
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This is truly a shame. I knew that at some point it would end. Once they started putting the restrictions on seats, I had hoped that this would not be the next move. The old system was simple and fair, there can be no reason for SWA to roll out the new system than to take more $ from the customer. The thought that I want to use my points for 8000 other items like hotels and rental cars and useless rewards debases RR to through level of the credit card companies. The customer will get far less from this new (& improved for SWA only) system. What a shame...
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I have a reading suggestion for the folks at Southwest who came up with this new RR plan: "The Southwest Airlines Way" by Jodi Hoffer Gittell (2003). Perhaps someone over there at Love Field remembers the innovative company that it was written about. We read parts of it in my MBA program--in an attempt to train new managers on ways to think differently. Apparently there is a need for that down in Dallas at SWA HQ. I have flown Southwest since there was a terminal 1 in Phoenix and they rolled the stairs to the plane to board. Rubber stamps were used for RR credits. I attended 3 of 4 years of evening Law School flying SWA between SNA and OAK weekly and I've have a companion pass, A-List membership and some light flying years in between. I currently (until March 2011 it seems) drive 100 miles out of my way from NJ to PHL, JUST to take SWA, in large part because of the easy simple RR program. I have to say, if you are trying to gain customers and be a different kind of airline (and you were the ONLY profitable one even with the current program) you are doing yourselves a disservice. There is stlll time to wake up and call this a bad dream. Remember Bobby from Dallas, your hometown? Just make it all go away.....
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Now I am impressed!!! After a long and frustrating phone call to SW yesterday I have just received the update e-mail that the rolling 12 month qualification for A-list and Companion Pass will be maintained through 2011, this gives all of us that had earned points in 2010 the chance to use them rather than lose them. Although there are still many other aspects of the new program that I don't care for this an absolute ray of hope, while I have no idea how many others complained about this issue to me this is pure proof that SW does still listen to it's customers! I don't think any other airline would have even spent the time on the phone to listen, THAT is the SWA that I LUV!