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Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards Takes Top Honors

Living up to its legacy,
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards was honored with first place awards for
Best Award Redemption, Best Customer Service, Best Web Site, Best Award,
and Best Bonus Promotion at InsideFlyer magazine’s 16th annual Freddie
Awards ceremony last week in New York City.
“We are happy the flying public recognizes the value of the Rapid Rewards
program,” said Debra Benton, Southwest’s director of loyalty and
partnership marketing. “We strive to make the program generous and easy to
use for our Customers. The Freddie Awards confirm that our program gives
frequent flyers what they want—outstanding Customer Service, a simple
program to earn and redeem Awards, and a user-friendly web site.”

Each year, InsideFlyer magazine invites members of all frequent traveler
programs to vote for the programs they feel deliver the best combination
of benefits, awards, and returns on loyalty from the traveler’s point of
view. Winners are determined not only by how many votes a program receives
but by the overall merits of each program as reflected in “value voting,”
in which voters rate their favorite programs on a scale of one to ten.
More than 277,000 frequent flyers submitted ballots to Freddie Awards
organizers, casting votes for programs worldwide.

Southwest was also honored with second place awards in the categories for
Program of the Year and Best Newsletter. The airline has won several
Freddie Awards from InsideFlyer over the years and has been given high
marks for many program elements.

Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program lets frequent flyers stop counting miles
and start taking trips. “Simplicity is the key to our program,” said
Benton. “It’s easy to earn trips, and it’s even easier to redeem them.
It’s a program members can actually use, not just dream about.”

Members earn credits by flying or doing business with the program’s
preferred partners. A roundtrip equals two credits (one-way ticket equals
one). Members must fly eight roundtrips or earn 16 credits in a 12-month
period to receive a roundtrip award. Once the award is earned (by flying,
buying, staying, driving, surfing the Internet, or talking on the phone),
Southwest automatically sends it to the Customer—free travel fast with
no hassle. Plus, Southwest allows the member to transfer the award to


Currently, Southwest offers Rapid Rewards members one bonus credit for
each roundtrip booked on and flown by December 31, 2004 (A
half- credit bonus will be available if a one-way travel segment is
booked). At the elite level, Southwest offers members who fly 50
roundtrips (or earn 100 credits) within 12 months a Companion Pass, which
allows a member to designate a traveler to fly with them free of charge
for 12 months.