In February, Southwest announced that they’d be making some changes to the Rewards Rewards frequent flyer program as of April 17, 2015.
Historically Rapid Rewards has been a pretty straightforward revenue based frequent flyer program, whereby the cost of an award ticket is directly correlated to the cost of a revenue ticket. That hasn’t stopped Southwest from making devaluations, though.
For example, last April Rapid Rewards devalued their redemption rates. For Rapid Rewards tickets, they went from charging 60 points per dollar of airfare to charging 70 points per dollar.
However, it looks like the pricing for Rapid Rewards award tickets will become even more dynamic as of April 17, 2015. Here’s how Southwest describes the changes:
Beginning April 17, 2015, the number of Rapid Rewards Points needed to redeem for certain flights will vary based on destination, time, day of travel, demand, fare class, and other factors. However, there are still many flights which will stay at the current redemption rate. And don’t forget that when fares go on sale, so do the points needed for redeeming for a reward flight on those fares.
For an airline which once prided themselves in simplicity and transparency, this sure is a disappointing change. Presumably they’ll be charging even more points per dollar of airfare for “peak” flights, in instances where they’d otherwise be able to fill those seats.
Anyway, if you have Southwest Rapid Rewards points to redeem, I’d definitely recommend making a booking before Friday, April 17, if possible. Keep in mind there are no change fees for Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets, so you can always cancel if need be.
Does anyone have specific predictions as to what changes Southwest is making to Rapid Rewards?