Southwest Offers Double Frequent Flyer Credits

The last major promotion from Southwest was its fast track to elite status—a response to the double elite-mile promotions on offer from five full-service carriers—which ended on June 15.

Southwest is back with a new promotion that has a different focus. After registering, members of the airline's Rapid Rewards program will earn double credits for all flights booked and flown between September 17 and October 31. So instead of earning one credit for each one-way flight, they'll earn two, or four for a round-trip. That means that four round-trips flown during the promotion period will be enough for a free trip.

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Travelers paying more to fly on Business Select tickets will earn 2.25 credits for short-haul flights (less than 750 miles) and 3 credits for longer flights.

This is decidedly not a response to the double elite-qualifying promotions currently offered by American, Continental, and United, or US Airways' fast-track offer—the Rapid Rewards bonus credits do not count toward earning A-List status with Southwest.

The Verdict

Double credits are always a good thing. If there's a weakness to this promotion, it's its duration: A month and a half just isn't much time to take advantage of the offer.

The promotion also raises the question of Southwest's commitment to its most frequent flyers. At a time when other airlines are making a concerted effort to encourage travelers to attain elite status, or to qualify for a higher elite tier, Southwest's bonus is structured to have no effect on elite status.

A-List members, and those who aspire to A-List membership, have been left wondering, hoping that Southwest has something special in store for them, too.

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