New Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program is one step closer to winning me back
Before the holiday season I wrote up a travel column on how to save money on airline bag fees, join frequent-flier programs and more. In it, I praised Southwest for their golfer-friendly policy allowing two free checked bags, but wasn’t so kind about their Rapid Rewards Program:
Southwest Airlines has a very straightforward rewards policy: Simply fly eight round trips for a free ticket. But you must complete your eight flights in a two-year period. We all love Southwest for the low fares and free checked luggage, but its Rapid Rewards program hits a shank. Most other carriers let you keep your miles as long as your account stays active and the miles don’t expire.
Now, Southwest has substituted the “simple” with a new, and at first glance, more complicated program. But they’ve also gotten rid of their two-year window for retaining segments. Now, your activity doesn’t expire as long as you have flight or partner activity within 24 months - even better than some other airlines that are 12 or 18 months.
The new way is better for those who fly fewer than eight times in two years on Southwest - though the concoction of segments and dollars spent will take some getting used to. Most other airlines have simpler mileage-based formulas that Southwest seems dead set on staying clear from.
To learn more, you can visit Southwest’s new guide on the Rapid Rewards Program, which comes into effect on March 1st, 2011.
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