Monday, April 9th, 2012

Southwest Rapid Rewards Develops a New Program

09 Apr 2012 | : Travel

For most airline customers, the hassles of flying are anything but new: security delays, lost luggage, grumpy ticket agents, delayed flights… the list goes on and on. Of course, on top of all of the other hassles, are the ever-rising costs for airfares and luggage.

Southwest airlines is becoming well-known for living up to their advertising campaigns by reducing a great number of these hassles. Their “bags fly free” campaign has seen quite a few TV commercials and gets a lot of airplay during football season as their baggage agents throw yellow flag penalties at unfair baggage practices.  In fact, this campaign requires Southwest Airlines to leave about $500,000 a year in uncollected revenue “on the table”.  This is revenue that other airlines willingly sock away.

It is simply another example of how Southwest Airlines create policies that put their customer’s first.

And they don’t stop with the baggage fees.  Southwest airlines also has a “no flight change fee” policy with allows you to change your flight — for any reason — without assessing you a fee.  Where most airlines wait for the unexpected emergencies of life to create extra revenue for them, Southwest willingly creates a policy that is both open and affordable to the customer.

How does Southwest get away with this?  By focusing on a few major markets.  Their super-cheap flights to major destinations such as Los Vegas, Boston, Chicago and Orlando have made them a popular choice for traveling families looking for the cheapest rate.

Now, with their newly-redesigned Rapid Rewards program, Southwest Airlines is able to let customers keep their award miles from expiring (in the past they expired every two years with no exceptions).   Plus, the point redemption is more flexible and makes it easier for customers to book the flights they want — with no blackout dates or class restrictions.

Besting the frequent flier programs of many other airlines, Southwest allows their customers to fly on any available seat with their reward miles.

Plus, with their own Southwest credit card, frequent fliers can earn miles on everyday expenses — such as paying their phone bill — and get more free flights in a year.

Southwest is constantly growing and expanding into new markets.  Just recently, they purchased AirTran airlines and are moving into a strong market on the Northeastern coast.  If this progress continues, they may very well raise the level of customer service expected out of all the airline programs.