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Southwest Unveils Revamped Rapid Rewards

SmarterTravel

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Southwest unveiled an overhauled Rapid Rewards program today, which expands upon the current program with new features, new status levels, and a whole new way of earning free flights.

Here are the highlights:

  • Members will now earn points rather than credits, and accrual is based on the price and type of fare purchased. Wanna Get Away fares accrue six points per dollar; Anytime fares accrue 10 points per dollar; and Business Select fares accrue 12 points per dollar.
  • Similarly, flights can be purchased with points with the cost varying by price and fare type. Wanna Get Away fares cost 60 points per dollar; Anytime fares cost 100 points per dollar; and Business Select fares cost 120 points per dollar.
  • Perhaps the new program’s best feature is its seat availability: Any seat can be purchased with points, and there are no blackout dates.
  • Points do not expire as long as members earn by flying or using a partner once every 24 months.
  • Points can be redeemed for hotel stays, gift cards, and international flights through a new partnership (more details to come on that).
  • Southwest added an award tier—A-List Preferred—which adds a 100 percent mileage bonus and free Wi-Fi to the standard A-List perks. Southwest added three new perks—a 25 percent mileage bonus, a dedicated phone customer service line, and priority standby—to its A-List level.
  • Customers can now purchase points.

The program takes effect March 1, and current members will have their credits grandfathered into the new program. For more info, check out newrapidrewards.com.

My colleague Tim Winship has more details and in-depth analysis here.

In the meantime, what do you think about the new program? Do you like what you see?

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