I've been holed up all winter long and haven't been out-of-town until today. At least a weekend off! I was loathe to fly on Southwest for reasons I posted about - but succumbed anyway.

I've been in Love Field hundreds of times before, but honestly I don't think I've ever seen it so crowded. I guess SWA is not hurting much - despite some angry frequent fliers. When I picked up the rental car, I noticed that the total was $8 more than the total on my virtual invoice from earlier in the day. It was explained: Southwest now charges for any frequent flier points received via one of their 'preferred partners'.

I guess I will decouple my car rental accounts from any link to SWA.
I have been loyal to Southwest Airlines mainly because of 2 simple customer service rules.
1) A credit was earned for each one-way flight. A free round trip ticket was awarded for every 16 credits.
2) There was no charge for cancellations, and it was simple as pie to cancel a reservation. Unused funds were held for one year, and could be applied to any reservation.

Over the past 20 years or so, this system changed little: Black out days were introduced. Occasional price hikes - pricing was still usually (but not always) better than the competition. A few other small things.

Because of this system, I flew domestically exclusively on Southwest - even when it took a little longer, was a little more inconvenient, or cost slightly more. And I was aware that there was a huge base of customers who did the same.

Then on March 1, rule No. 1 changed to a convoluted point system. You earn more points by spending more (more expensive flights and/or more distant destinations) - basically like all the other frequent flier systems.

There is now no incentive to remain loyal.

All you have to do is visit their (rather horrible) new site & go to the 'Conversation' section to see the raging. Or just Google. Everyone seems to agree this was a horrible move.

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