Just when you were getting comfortable with the Southwest Airlines credit card’s rewards system, it changes. Southwest Airlines has posted several videos on their website assuring customers that the new rewards program is better. They claim they had the customer in mind when designing this program.
Viewing of the new rewards systems began on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Many current customers were irritated that they had to wait two days to see how their points fit into the new system. Since Tuesday morning, some customers remain frustrated. Perhaps there is a reason.
Southwest is trying very hard to soothe current customer’s frustrations with the change, while seeking to reel in new customers. The new rewards system offers a sensational free flight after the first purchase. Interestingly, such generosity gives birth to innovative cheating ideas as offered by David Seaman, a contributor at Businessinsider.com. He suggested buying a cup of coffee to get the deal cheap. A Southwest flight at a price of cup of “Morning Joe” sounds like a sweet deal however the card comes with a $59 annual fee which is almost half the cost of a typical discounted Southwest airline ticket.
Southwest has also introduced a free flight option to existing customers. Here is how the point program works: the amount of money charged on the Southwest Airlines credit card turns into points and those points collect into required amount of credits. To make one credit, you need 1,200 points. It takes 16 credits to earn a free flight. That means a total of 19,200 points for a Southwest ticket. Considering that purchases made at Southwest approved merchants causes you to earn 2 points for every dollar spent, you may calculate that a price of a “free” ticket is whooping $9600. The catch is this, if you do not intend to spend much money where Southwest prefers, the points could take twice as long to earn. The Southwest Airlines website says that points do not expire but the fine print says that it is not impossible.
While some travel expert such as Rob Seaney say that it was about time for Southwest to catch up with reward programs offered by other airline credit cards; we must consider the fine print and return on investment value of points earned.