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Southwest Airlines devalues Rapid Rewards

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Southwest Airlines devalues Rapid Rewards
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Editors at LoyaltyTruth.com received an email this week announcing program changes at Rapid Rewards. In the future, it will take more points to redeem for rewards when program members select “Wanna Get Away” fares.

The email read:

“We want to inform you of an upcoming change to the Rapid Rewards program that will affect the number of points needed for reward travel. Wanna Get Away reward flight bookings made on our after March 31, 2014 will require 70 points per dollar. This is an increase from the 60 points per dollar currently required. Anytime and Business Select reward flight redemption rates, as well as the points per dollar you earn when flying, will remain the same as they are today.”

Give credit to Southwest for its courage in making the move that effectively devalues the value of its points by 16% for Wanna Get Away fares. It issued notice well in advance to customers and reaffirmed its commitment to service and quality in the balance of the email (not quoted here).

The move is another signpost on the steady industry progression towards frequent flyer rewards based more closely on revenue. While painful for some frequent travelers in the short run, the changes may ensure that frequent flyer programs can continue to deliver value to its most valuable customers over the longer term.

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