Southwest Is Making Major Frequent Flyer Program Changes

Southwest is popular with passengers for its built-in comforts and budget-friendly practices like not charging for the first two checked bags, despite recent issues with planned changes to its distinctive boarding process

 The carrier's Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program has a two-tier structure with A-List and A-List Preferred, unlike other airlines' complex systems.

Customers who qualify for A-List by taking 25 one-way flights or gaining 35,000 tier qualifying points by spending in co-branded credit cards each year can enjoy

priority security lines in many airports, priority check-in, priority boarding, a 25% rewards mileage bonus, and same-day flight changes.

Travelers who take 50 one-way flights a year and earn 70,000 tier qualifying points become A-List Preferred and receive 100% bonus miles and complimentary WiFi on flights.

Getting the requisite number of flights to unlock rewards has always been difficult, but things are going to get simpler. Southwest announced it will decrease the Rapid Rewards criteria.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, customers just need 20 one-way trips to earn the A-List status. The A-List Plus requirement will reduce to 40 one-way trips each year.

Starting Nov. 6, A-List Preferred travelers will receive two complimentary premium drinks every trip, including alcohol. Frequent Southwest customers may also find free travel simpler.

Rapid Rewards members may use points and cash to pay for tickets starting next spring, according to an airline representative.

A movement from business to pleasure travel. These modifications match leisure travelers' behavior. These modifications made sense because our co-branded credit cards had higher spend.

Southwest again zigs when everyone else zags. We want individuals to profit from our program.

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