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Southwest flyers flew 15% more free flights last year — even with new rules

by on Wed March 28, 2012 • No Comment

Southwest Chase SapphireA lot of Southwest flyers and credit card holders had trepidation about Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program update last year.

It went from a program where the cost for a flight with rewards was the same regardless of how much it would have cost to purchase in cash to one where the cost in points goes up as the price of the ticket in cash goes up. That means less value per point for some rewards.

However the reality is, moving to a flexible price structure led to even more free flights being booked by Rapid Rewards members. In its annual report, Southwest recently disclosed…

  • 3.7 million free flights were redeemed in 2011 on Southwest Airlines
  • That’s an increase of over 15% from 3.2 million free flights in 2010
  • 8.3% of all seats flown were given as free flights to Rapid Rewards members
  • That’s up from 7.9% in 2010 and 7.7% in 2009

So by all measures, the new structure is leading to more use of miles. Why? Well a lot of you are willing to pay more with your miles for some flexibility.

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