Southwest Looks at Revamping Rapid Rewards, Adding Same Day Standby Rules

Southwest has been circulating a survey to a bunch of fliers to try to explore all sorts of ways to make changes to their offerings. Fortunately, a thoughtful reader took screenshots of every single page of his survey and sent it over to me. Today and tomorrow, I’ll be taking a peak at what they’re asking about.

Please keep in mind that this was just a survey. We know that a change to Rapid Rewards is coming, but we don’t know that this is it. This is apparently just one of the potential scenarios they’ve been floating around. Have a read for yourself.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Change Options in Survey

It looks like they are taking a page from Virgin America and JetBlue with this possible change. You would earn points based on the number of dollars you spend. Higher class fares would get higher earnings (wait until tomorrow, I’ll show this). I don’t mind this piece of the puzzle.

Where I’m not thrilled is with the redemption plan. This program would again be like those of JetBlue and Virgin America in that the redemption amount would vary. In this scenario, it would be directly tied to the selling price at the time you’re looking to redeem. While I see the value in this from an airline standpoint, I remain unimpressed by these programs since you really can’t save up for a free flight. The number is always changing. Of course, a cash + points option would make things somewhat better. If they go this route, I’d hope they’d consider that.

This program would keep the A-list elite benefits, but my guess is that it would turn into more of a full-fledged elite-style program. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it will put a dent in Southwest’s egalitarian persona.

Now let’s switch gears to something that has annoyed most Southwest fliers at one point or another . . . same day standby. While other airlines will generally allow you to standby for another flight on the same day (sometimes for a fee), Southwest has always required that you simply pay the difference in fare to the selling fare available at the time. It looks like they’re now exploring alternatives.

Southwest Same Day Change Options in Survey

So what are they throwing out there? Well, there’s the possibility of same day standby and same day confirmed, just like the other guys offer. They’re also looking at a priority same day standby option that would be offered to the higher fare classes.

It does sound like Southwest is looking at becoming more like the other guys, huh? I hope they move very carefully here. We’ll talk about that more tomorrow when we look at the bigger pricing picture.

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