Travelers feeling pinched by hard-to-getfrequent flyer award seats on the nation`s airlines have overwhelminglyreferred to Southwest Airlines` Rapid Rewards program as the mostgenerous in its offerings to busy travelers.
“Southwest, unlike any other program in the industry, has no capacitycontrols in its frequent flyer program,” said Susan Kirkelie, senior directorof marketing programs. “That means, other than limited blackout dates, amember can redeem an award ticket for a seat on any flight as long as there isa seat - no waiting six months or dealing with limited seats.” If reality-based TV programs like CBS` “Survivor” have taken hold of thenation`s interest, so have reality-based frequent flyer programs that giveCustomers fast returns for their loyalty.
“While Rapid Rewards won`t earn you a trip to Hawaii, it`s important topoint out that Southwest serves 19 of the top 25 destinations chosen byfrequent flyers to visit when they redeem their award travel,” Kirkelie said.“We are the reality-based program that people can actually use, not just dreamabout.” Here`s how it works: members earn credits by flying or doing business withthe program`s preferred partners. A roundtrip equals two credits (one-wayticket equals one). Members must fly eight roundtrips or earn 16 credits in a12-month period to receive an award ticket.
Once the ticket is earned (byflying, buying, staying, driving, or talking on the phone), then the ticket isautomatically sent to the Customer-free travel fast with no hassle. Plus,Southwest allows the member to transfer the award ticket to anyone with noadditional paperwork! Rapid Rewards also offers double credit (when booked and traveled byDec. 31, 2001) when members book online at the airline`s web site, www.southwest.com. That means travelers can earn a free ticket in as few asfour roundtrip flights purchased online.
Additionally, Southwest offersmembers who fly 50 roundtrips (or earn 100 credits) within 12 months aCompanion Pass, which allows a member to designate a traveler to fly with themfor 12 months free of charge. Again, with double credit for booking online,it would take only 25 roundtrips! The refreshingly real Rapid Rewards program also has been recognized byInsideFlyer magazine as giving its members great Customer Service, outstandingbonus promotions, and incredible redemption. The airline has won seven"Freddie Awards” by InsideFlyer and been given high marks for many programelements. The Rapid Rewards program recently walked away with Freddie Awardsfor Best Bonus Promotion (for its online double credit offer) and for BestAward Redemption. It also received second place in the Best Web Site, BestCustomer Service, and Program of the Year categories.