Southwest Airlines has a reputation for caring for its customers and being the airline with a "heart". The low-cost carrier has made another announcement designed to make traveling more flexible for its customers.
In an announcement made on the morning of July 28, 2022, Southwest revealed that any flight credit valid past July 28 would no longer have an expiration date. This means that now both flight credit and the carrier's loyalty point system — Rapid Rewards — will not expire as long as the passenger's Southwest account remains open.
Southwest's decision makes it the first carrier in the United States to offer flight credit without expiration dates. However, with competition on domestic routes in the United States heating up, Southwest's bold move could spark similar changes at other carriers, especially within the Big Four. In fact, in August 2020, when United announced it would remove change fees from select tickets, both Delta and American Airlines followed suit and did the same. Southwest’s announcement could have a similar impact on the industry.
Regardless, this news highlights the current competitive environment in which U.S. carriers are operating. Thanks to a surge of demand for leisure travel, airlines have been opening new routes, offering new incentives, and even — in the case of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines — merging to offer customers more options. Southwest's new policy is its way of differentiating and solidifying itself as America's leading low-cost carrier, all while creating another selling point to use against its larger rivals.
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