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A Review of Southwest Airline’s Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

Southwest Airlines advertises Rapid Rewards, its frequent flyer reward program, as the best deal you can get anywhere with major highlighted benefits being no blackout dates, unlimited reward seats, points never expire and redeeming points for international al seats. Simply put, Rapid Rewards benefits the most those people who fly into or out of the South West United States traveling to other cities in the US, Caribbean and Mexico and have Rapid Rewards credit card by Chase Visa. When you enroll on Rapid Rewards, every dollar you spend on Southwest Airlines earns you points.

Earning Points

The number of Rapid Rewards points earned on a Southwest flights largely depend on the type of fare chosen. The airline has three types of fairs: “Wanna Get Away” fares earn 6 points per dollar spent on the airline, “Anytime” fares earn 10 points per dollar spent and “Business Select” fares earn 12 points for every dollar spent. One of the fastest ways to accumulate Rapid Rewards points is to get a Rapid Rewards Visa card by Chase and earn two points for every dollar spent on AirTran or Southwest flights and partner hotels and car rental companies. Besides, you will earn a point for every dollar spent on the card for any other purchases.
Although Southwest Airlines partners with a number of hotels and car rental companies for loyal customers to earn and spend Reward Points more conveniently, only points earned from the credit card or Southwest flights actually count towards higher membership status or ‘Tier Qualifying Points’. Another way to earn Rapid Rewards points is by buying points for instance to redeem a reward. You can buy a minimum of 1,000 and a maximum of 60,000 points from Southwest Airlines.

Redeeming Points

The most popular way to redeem Rapid Rewards points is for free flights. To get a free flight for your points, you must book it on Southwest Airlines on their website or via phone. The number of points to redeem for a ticket depends on the ticket type and price. A Wanna Get Away” fare costs 60 points per dollar, “Anytime” fares 100 points per dollar and “Business Select” 120 points per dollar.
Points redemption depend on the availability of a seat in the flight. The number of points required for a ticket will be higher during high demand times such as the holiday season. From March 14th 2014, Rapid Rewards redemption points will go up as follows: A Wanna Get Away fare will cost 70 points per dollar, Anytime dares will be 100 points per dollar and a Business Select fare will be 120 points per dollar.

Elite Membership

Rapid Rewards members who have 35,000+ Tier Qualifying Points or at least 25 one-way flights in a year get reserved “A” boarding privileges when they buy tickets or redeem award tickets 36 hours prior to departure. They also get other benefits including priority check-in, security lane access and 25% bonus points. Customers with 50 one-way flights or 70,000 rapid reward points in a year get all these benefits including 100% bonus and free in-flight Wi-Fi while those with 110,000 points or 100 one-way flights can receive companion passes besides all the above privileges.

Pros

• No blackout dates.
• Members can earn points in flights, hotels and by renting cars from partner companies.
• Simple miles calculation method.
• Points never expire as long as the account is active within 24 months.
• Redeeming points for short flights gives the best deals.
• No charge fees for redeeming points.

Cons

• Limited routes – the airline flies only to Mexico and the Caribbean.
• The Rapid Rewards points required to redeem a ticket varies widely.
• Customers cannot combine cash and points to cover the costs of flight.

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