Southwest Doubles Reward Credits for Faster Free Flights

jurvetson, flickr

A free flight for every four round-trip tickets? Sounds too good to be true, but that's exactly what Southwest Airlines is offering its frequent flyers this spring. Southwest's Rapid Rewards members normally earn a single credit for every flight, accumulating in a free flight award for every 16 credits. But under the new frequent flyer promotion, Southwest is doubling the credits earned, meaning a customer can earn a free flight after only eight trips (or four round-trip fares since the airline counts both legs of the journey).

"It's going to be hard to find a better deal out there anywhere -- this is one you won't want to miss," said Southwest's Director of Customer Loyalty Ryan Green in a recent press release. "We're thanking our members for their loyalty and inviting new customers to fly Southwest with an even faster and easier way to earn free travel."

The only catch is that the promotion only runs through May 26, so unless you are travel a lot on business you probably won't be able to cash in on the quick "four round-trips = a free flight" steal of a deal. If you are a frequent business traveler, you can earn the free flight even faster during the promotion though, since Rapid Rewards flyers who purchase a Business Select fare will receive 2.25 credits for short-haul flights and 3 credits for long-haul flights.

Southwest's Rapid Rewards is a more simplified version of the popular "frequent flyer miles" programs offered by airlines like Delta and American Airlines, where loyal customers can earn miles points for flights and overnight stays at affiliated hotels. These frequent flyer programs are so popular in fact that they've spawned the phenomenon of flyer-miles "fanatics", as featured in the recent film "Up in the Air" starring George Clooney.
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