Southwest Extends Loyalty
By John Hennessy
Members of Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program now have 24 months instead of the current 12 months to earn credits for free travel. Southwest announced this change.
Southwest’s extensive research and Rapid Rewards Member polling revealed that the most desirable changes flyers wanted were more time to earn credits and no system-wide blackout dates for Award travel.
As of Feb. 10, 2006, the carrier will remove system-wide blackout dates.
“The Rapid Rewards program is a generous and simple vehicle for our loyal customers to earn free travel,” said Joyce Rogge, senior president of marketing. “Customers have been asking for more time to earn Award Travel, and we are excited to make this change, which will give more customers the opportunity to take advantage of the Rapid Rewards program’s benefits and fly for free.”
In 2003 and 2004, more than five million awards were redeemed in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program, among the highest redemption rates in the airline industry.
“We continue to look for ways to keep the program flexible and easy because we want our customers to earn awards they can actually use,” said Ms. Rogge. “The program’s ease – eight roundtrips equals an award – has contributed to its growth and popularity, meaning a high number of awards are being redeemed.”
Moderator’s Comment: What can retailers do to make an existing loyalty award programs work better for them and their customers? Are there specific retailer
loyalty programs that merit special mention?
It’s not often we read about a company making it easier for its customers to redeem rewards earned. The tendency of most programs is to change the rules
of the game after it has started to make it harder to redeem, earn and enjoy rewards.
Southwest listened to its customers and responded, despite their Rapid Rewards program already having one of the highest redemption rates in the airline
John Hennessy – Moderator
- Southwest Airlines Announces Program Changes for Rapid Rewards; Southwest Allows Frequent
Flyers 24 Months to Earn Awards – Southwest Airlines/PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX