Southwest Says Howdy, Partners

DALLAS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Southwest Airlines
(NYSE: LUV) made a New Year`s resolution—to offer its frequent flyers the advantage of more Preferred Partners in its Rapid Rewards(R) program.  Southwest came through on its resolution today by announcing partnerships with La Quinta (NYSE: LQI) and Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH), adding more value to Rapid Rewards membership.
As part of the partnership, Rapid Rewards Members who stay at any Choice brand hotel in the United States or Caribbean can receive 0.5 Rapid Rewards credits for their stay.  The 3,500 Choice properties in the United States and Caribbean include 300,000 rooms representing eight different brands—Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, MainStay Suites, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotels.  Reservations can be made at ,
1-800-4-CHOICE (1-800-424-6423), or .  Choice Privileges frequent traveler members may also redeem 5,000 points for two Rapid Rewards credits.  For more details, guests can call the Choice Customer Service Center at 1-888-770-6800.

“As one of the nation`s largest lodging chains, we are pleased to join the select group of partners of one of the nation`s most successful airlines,” said Wayne Wielgus, senior vice president, marketing, for Choice Hotels.  “Wherever Southwest Airlines flies, we`ve got hotels—and now Rapid Rewards credits provide added value each time Southwest`s Customers stay with us.”

As part of the partnership with La Quinta, Rapid Rewards Members who are also members of La Quinta`s recently redesigned Returns guest loyalty program can elect to receive 0.5 Rapid Rewards credits each time they stay at one of more than 350 La Quinta Inns or La Quinta Inn & Suites.  La Quinta Returns members may also redeem 5,000 Returns points for two Rapids Rewards credits.  For more details or to enroll in the new La Quinta Returns guest loyalty program, guests can go online at , call the La Quinta Returns Service Center at 1-800-642-4258, or visit the front desk at any La Quinta hotel.  Reservations can be made at .

“With more than 20,000 new members added each month, La Quinta Returns has been extremely well-received,” said Francis W. “Butch” Cash, president and chief executive officer of La Quinta Corporation.  “Southwest Airlines clearly shares our commitment to providing quality service and Customer Satisfaction, making them an ideal partner to our program.”

“Rapid Rewards Customers are extremely loyal because of the incredible value they receive through membership, not to mention the fact that they can get double credit by booking on ,” said Debra Benton, Southwest`s director of loyalty marketing.  “We`re excited to add two great brands to our list of Preferred Partners and give our Members more flexibility to receive a free ticket.”


This new service joins other preferred partners:  Southwest`s own First USA Rapid Rewards Visa card, American Express, Diners Club, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, EarthLink, MCI, Nextel, Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott as ways to earn credits in the Rapid Rewards program.

Southwest`s Rapid Rewards program is simple:  Members earn credits by flying or doing business with the program`s preferred partners.  A roundtrip equals two credits (one-way ticket equals one credit).  Members must fly eight roundtrips or earn 16 credits in a 12-month period to receive an award ticket.  Flights booked at earn double credit through June 6, 2003.  Once the ticket is earned, then the ticket is automatically sent to the Customer-free travel fast with no hassle.  Since Southwest doesn`t limit the number of seats available to Customers traveling on a free ticket, with the exception of limited blackout dates, Customers can fly virtually anytime to any destination.  Plus, Southwest allows the member to transfer the award ticket to anyone with no additional paperwork!

Southwest is the nation`s fourth largest carrier in terms of Customers boarded.  The airline currently operates nearly 2,800 daily flights to 59 airports in 58 cities in 30 states. Southwest employs more than
36,000 people nationwide.