In an effort to attract more frequent flyers, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) unveiled Thursday an enhanced version of its loyalty program, narrowing restrictions and erasing blackout dates.
The Dallas-based company said the program, which is slated to launch on March 1, will allow members to redeem points for every seat, every day, and on every flight with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
The amount of points earned will be based on the fare and fare product purchased, the same will be true for redeeming points. Points wonâ€™t expire as long as members fly Southwest or one of its partners at least once every 24 months.
"This year we enter our fifth decade of giving Americans the freedom to fly, and what better way to kick off the year than to introduce a new frequent flyer program that our customers are going to LUV," said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, who added that program meets the needs of todayâ€™s traveler.
Under the new program, members will retain existing credits and awards, and their accounts will automatically be transferred.
Rapid Rewards and Credit Cardmembers can redeem their points for flights to more than 800 international destinations, 70,000 worldwide hotels and gift cards at more than 45 major retailers. The Rapid members will have the ability to purchase points in denominations of 1,000 with a minimum purchase of 2,000.
For the most frequent flyers, the new program will feature an enhanced A-List Companion Pass program, which will include a new level of status with A-List Preferred, including new benefits such as a 25% earning bonus on flights.
In a statement, Southwest said the program has the potential to contribute hundreds of millions in incremental revenue annually, to be realized over the next several years.