03 February 2007

Southwest Airlines Lets Students Double Up

Southwest Airlines announced a new College Rapid Rewards Program aimed at the nation's legions of collegiate travelers. They are offering four credits for a new sign-up, and double flight credits for each flight booked at their web site. Southwest flights usually earn one flight credit in each direction (two credits for one round-trip ticket) and require 16 credits earned within two years to yield one round-trip award ticket. Hence, the standard Rapid Rewards program usually requires 8 round-trip flights to earn one "free" ticket. With the college program, a student can earn their first award ticket after just three round-trip flights; and subsequent award tickets after four round-trip purchases.

I am a huge Southwest fans, especially when I am traveling on my own nickel. I am meeting a few friends in Texas in a couple of weeks for a weekend outing. I was able to get a round-trip flight from Tampa to Houston for $141, including all taxes and fees, using their Ding feature. Unfortunately, I will only be earning the standard two Rapid Rewards credits for my flight!

I see this promotion as a deal for both Southwest and a lot of college students that live and go to school in cities served by Southwest. This airline is known for their low costs, so their fares should appeal to college student budgets. Southwest has the opportunity to secure some long-term loyal customers (who, by nature, are already a pretty loyal bunch), while they still don't care about things like assigned seats, first-class cabins, and international award destinations. On top of that, college students will have the technological savvy to bring their own in-flight entertainment (iPod, laptop with DVD, etc.) and the resourcefulness to pack their own lunch so they won't miss out on Southwest's lack of in-flight movies or bothered when the flight attendent drops by with only a bag of peanuts.

Hat tip to Free Frequent Flyer Miles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice! I just bought a ticket on SW from MCO to RDU for a law school interview. I got my four free credits and two more for the one-way ticket. And additionally, they gave me a coupon for a free adult beverage on the flight! :) I wonder if they'll let me have whiskey on my 7:30 AM flight... thanks buddy!