[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. For current terms and conditions, please see card agreements. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Wanna get away? If you’re planning to use your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card to pay for a getaway after March 1, you’d better check the details of the All-New Rapid Rewards program. Southwest Airlines is overhauling its Rapid Rewards program and the changes are effective on March 1, 2011. Ryan Green, Senior Director of Customer Loyalty and Partnerships, writes in his blog that cardholders should be on the lookout for information that will be sent directly to them.
But you can get the details right now by visiting NewRapidRewards.com. The landing page starts with a video introduction and then you get a nifty graphic listing what’s changed. The current program uses a combination of Reward Dollars and bonus credits. Southwest is converting to a point system, but you won’t lose your existing credits. Check out the second part of the graphic, “What About My Credits & Awards,” and you’ll find a credit-to-point conversion table.
Southwest is based in Texas and known for its low-cost domestic airfares. The new point system will be based on the cost of flights as opposed to the number of flights taken. This move seems designed to attract the business traveler, who typically can spend more for travel.
No matter how they try to spin this, it looks like a move to encourage consumers to spend more on airfare. But honestly, there are some things to like about the new Rapid Rewards program. Southwest has done away with blackouts. And your points won’t expire, which is a huge improvement over the previous program. Plus, you’ll be able to redeem points for international flights.
If you’re a current cardholder, take the time to read over the details so you can decide if this is still the right frequent flyer program for you. Those who travel for leisure and count on a low-cost flight to rack up points need to think about it carefully. Although some of you, especially those who travel for business, might find the new program goes further to meet your needs.
Image: Mike Fisher, via Flickr.com