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Community Discussion
Topic: Southwest Announcing New Improved Service Also

Fri 2/25/2011 8:19a
Since we are discussing all the new technological improvements for customer service at Disney,I am wondering if anybody else is enjoying the LUV companies have for their loyal customers. Southwest has announced a new system going into effect March 1st. It does look like they want us to believe it is for the customer's benefit but they are also receiving a fair share of online criticism. So in the past month I keep re-reading the new rewards rules and regulations. I am just trying to figure out how their excitement is not persuading me and it is painful and confusing to figure it all out. Anyway I just wondered if anybody else has trouble digesting New and Improved in their lifes.
Fri 2/25/2011 1:42p
What's new & improved with Southwest's service? Got a link you can provide us that details it?
Fri 2/25/2011 3:42p
Southwest is changing their rewards program. So instead of earning a free flight after 16 one way trips, you will earn points. And your free flight will cost a certain number of points. Longer flights will take more points.

The thing I like about the new system, is I had a hard time getting to 16 in the 2 year limit. I would always seem to end up about 12. The points don't expire.

Who it hurts is people who took a lot of short flights and then used their free flight for a long flight. So lets say you flew from Phoenix to LAX a lot, and then used your free flight to fly to Boston area. Now you probably have to make more short flights to earn that long flight. However, now you don't have to feel like you're wasting a free flight, if you chose a short flight and not a long one.

All my flights are pretty much the same length Denver to either Seattle or Orlando. So I think this new system doesn't change much for me, except now I don't have to worry about expirations.

But change never seems good when it comes to these reward programs. I'm still ticked off that they changed it so that Travel Funds aren't transferable any more. Because DH and I always travel over Christmas, I would book right away and then usually save money on the tickets at some point. Then I would combine DH and my credit so that I could fly to Orlando an extra time. Now I can't do that.
Fri 2/25/2011 9:43p
Ah, I see. I congratulate them on moving to the points thing.... that sounds better to a person like me who's used to American's frequent flyer system. I jsut have to fly once every 18 months to keep my miles.
Mon 2/28/2011 11:45a
<<< And your free flight will cost a certain number of points. Longer flights will take more points. >>>

Well, not quite. The new points get redeemed at a certain ratio for free flights, based on the fare currently being charged for that flight. Longer flights take more points only to the extent that longer flights tend to cost more.

The biggest downside for me in the new program is that all "free" flights are simply redemptions of points for whatever the fare happens to be for the flight you want. That's good in the sense that "every seat is an award seat" but it gets rid of what for me was one of the biggest benefits: being able to use award tickets for last-minute travel where the only revenue fares left are full fare because you're less than 7 days out. Since the new plan allows only for use of points to purchase regular-fare tickets, there's absolutely no arbitrage opportunity left. It's essentially turned into a rebate program, with the percentage back varying from 5% to 20% depending on the fare paid and fare redeemed.

And, for us true freeloaders, the maximum value back from standard credit card purchases will be 1.67%, which is much lower than what's available elsewhere.

But in true Southwest fashion, it is simple and rather easy to understand. Plus, the "every seat is an award seat" aspect is nice. Then again, the old program from a few years ago had that aspect as well.
Mon 2/28/2011 12:35p
I hope you did not have any expired awards that could be re-issued for the $50 fee and would keep it in the system. I think the fine print said that option will be discontinued. Also sad to see the option to re-use travel funds in any name change. ALso notice 3 different levels of membership now with different amount of points per level per mile or per dollar spent? ALso finding the air travel costs are really escalating and very few Ding fares that are appealing. So now I wonder if Disney is going to offer more discounts to make a trip to WDW or DL affordable. Of course that will be wrapped up in travel packages.
Mon 2/28/2011 4:56p
<<< I hope you did not have any expired awards that could be re-issued for the $50 fee and would keep it in the system. >>>

I'm taken care of in that regard.

<<< ALso finding the air travel costs are really escalating >>>

Yep. Southwest is much more expensive than it was a few years ago. All of those wonderful jet fuel hedges they bought 5 years ago are expired or expiring, so they now have to pay market rates.

Orlando's tourism industry's growth during the 80's and 90's sure did benefit from airline deregulation and relatively cheap fuel prices. I can't help but think that higher air transport costs these days combined with economic problems are not good for Orlando - it certainly puts a downward pressure on demand.

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