Southwest Airlines New Rewards Program Begins
March 1 - Today, Southwest begins its new Rapid Rewards program for all customers. Gone are the simple Rapid Rewards credits--16 one-ways for a free flight--and they are replaced by a complicated point system. We attempted to call Southwest's toll-free phone number to clarify a few issues, but alas, all we heard on the phone was a busy signal--uh oh. Scroll down for additional information.
Important #'s to know:
Redeeming points = 60 points = $1 (i.e., 6000 points for every $100)
Earning points (more complicated):
"Wanna Get Away" (cheapest fares) = earn 6 points per $1
"Anytime" (midpriced) = earn 10 points per $1
"Business Select" (highest price) = 12 points per $1
1) Passengers who fly longer-haul flights (eg, SAN to MDW) will receive a greater number of points than short-haul fliers (eg, SAN to SFO).
2) No "Black Out" dates for reward redemption
3) Rewards can be redeemed for international and Hawaii/Alaska flights via Southwest's travel agency partner -- Maritz. You will have to be a Southwest Visa cardholder to take advantage, however ($59/year).
4) Short-haul flights will cost less (in points) than long-haul flights.
5) Limited reward expiration - as long as there has been activity in the mileage account within two years, your points will not expire.
1) Travelers who previously accumulated credits in a hurry by taking cheap, short-haul flights (eg, SAN to SFO) will not receive as much credit under the new system. In the past, a $149 flight from San Diego to San Jose had equal reward value as a $600 flight from San Diego to Chicago-Midway.
2) New program is much more complicated