Southwest Planning Changes To Mileage Program

swjetsLong-awaited changes to Southwest Airlines’ frequent flier program will come late next year, reports Terry Maxon in the Dallas Morning News.

Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program is considerably more simple than the frequent flier programs run by the legacy carriers. Passengers earn a free flight after completing eight round trips in 24 months. Higher business fares accumulate credit more quickly.

Southwest executives say the new program will be more flexible, and I imagine that’s a good thing. I’ve been a member of Rapid Rewards for years, but I have yet to accumulate enough trips for a free flight.

Yet I wonder why Southwest is being pushed by investors and analysts to become more like the legacy carriers that it has outperformed year after year. Southwest’s growth has slowed, but in an exceedingly tough time for the industry, Southwest has consistently been more profitable and rated more highly among consumers than any other large carrier, by far.

I’m just not sure how much changing it ought to do. Because that new pay to board early thing? Still hate it.

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