In the updated program, which Southwst will officially launch on March 1, members can redeem their points for every seat on every flight with...

Southwest Airlines has unveiled details of its ‘All-New Rapid Rewards’ frequent flyer program, which the carrier will officially launch on March 1.

In the updated program, members can redeem their points for every seat on every flight with no blackout dates or seat restrictions and points will not expire if there is any earning activity in a 24-month time period.

Members will earn points for every dollar spent on Southwest Airlines flights. The amount of points earned will be based on the fare and fare product purchased, and the same is true as regards redeeming points, according to Southwest. To learn more about the new program, visit

“We tailor-made the All-New Rapid Rewards program to meet the needs of today’s traveler, making it faster and easier than ever before to go, see, and do on Southwest Airlines,”  says Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines’ chairman, president and CEO.

Southwest Airlines operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet and its 737 fleet is the largest in the world

Southwest says members with existing credits and awards in the current program will retain their credits and awards, which will maintain their value until they are used or expire.  Members’ accounts will automatically be transferred to the new program on March 1, 2011 and members will retain their current Rapid Rewards number: they will not need to re-enroll.

According to Southwest Airlines, highlights of the new Rapid Rewards program include:

● There are no blackout dates for redemption of awards;

● Every Southwest Airlines seat is a reward seat – there are no seat restrictions or capacity controls;

● Points don’t expire as long as members earn by flying or using a program partner once every 24 months;

● Points are based on the purchased fare and fare product; and

● A new feature of the updated program allows Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cardmembers to redeem their points for flights to more than 800 international destinations, stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide and gift cards at more than 45 major retailers.

The new program also features enhanced A-List and Companion Pass programs for the most active members and includes a new level of status, A-List Preferred.  Members with an active A-List or Companion Pass status on March 1 will have their status carried over to the new program, according to Southwest.

A-List Members will also receive new benefits, including a 25 per cent earning bonus on flights. Additionally, the new A-List Preferred status level will provide all the benefits of A-List status, plus several others, including a 100 per cent earning bonus on flights.

Rapid Rewards Members will have the ability to purchase points in the new program. Points will be offered in blocks of 1,000, with a minimum purchase of 2,000 points required.

“We took our award-winning program and made it even better by giving our members more flexibility and control over how and when they earn and redeem their points,” says Kelly. “We know our customers are going to appreciate the fact that their points don’t expire and every seat on every flight is a Reward seat.”

Southwest Airlines says the new frequent flyer program has the potential to contribute hundreds of millions in incremental revenue annually to the airline net of any associated program costs, which will be fully realized over the next several years.

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