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Southwest Airtran Integration - Master Thread

Old Jan 21, 2014, 5:31 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: rsteinmetz70112
As Airtran integration with Southwest accelerates toward completion by the end of 2014 It was suggested that a Sticky Thread be initiated to combine all of the information available. This is that thread. The information here is believed accurate but may change at any time.

Please post any corrections or other information you may have.

A+ Rewards Rapid Rewards Integration.

Southwest has stated the Rapid Rewards will be the Frequent Flyer Program for the combined airline. How that will be accomplished has not been announced.

Southwest has apparently begun informing new and renewed Airtran A+ Rewards Elite Members that the programs will be merged at the end of 2014 and that their Status as A_list on Southwest will be extended through 2015. UPDATE: 3/5/2014

A+ Reward Rapid Rewards Conversion

Southwest have created a conversion program that allows A+ Rewards Credits to be transferred to Rapid Rewards Credits and allows allows Rapid Rewards points, credits or Standard Awards to be transfered to A+ Rewards Credits.
  • 1 A+ Credit transfers to 1 Rapid Rewards Credit
  • 1 Rapid Rewards Credit transfers to 1 A+ Credit.
  • 1200 Rapid Rewards Points transfer to 1 A+ Credit
  • 16 Rapid Rewards Credits create 1 Standard Award (2 flights)
  • 1 Rapid Rewards Flight transfers to 8 A+ Credits.
Use of Vouchers and Credits on Southwest and Airtran

At present Southwest Vouchers and Credits can only be used on Southwest.com for flights booked on Southwest. Airtan Vouchers and Credits can only be used on Airtran.

However some people have reported that Airtran will sometimes convert free upgrades or flight vouchers to A+ Credits which can be transferred to Southwest. As more and more flights are transitioned to Southwest opportunities to use Airtran Vouchers will decrease.

UPDATE 3/5/2014: This seems to becoming more of a policy, Airtran recently readliy agreed to convert a voucher I had been issued to 16 A+ Credits. Incidently this reset the expiation date.

UPDATE 3/5/2014: I have been advised that Airtran Customer Service may sometimes, if asked nicely, be convinced to convert Airtran Dollar value vouchers to Southwest dollar value vouchers.

[UPDATE 8/6/2014:[/B] Recent reports indicate that Airtran will convert Vouchers but the process takes between 7 and 30 days. The voucher is unavailable for use during that time. I don't know if any Airtran Vouchers have expiration dates beyond November 1, but as far as I know there has been no announcement of how those may be handled.

The Southwest Airtran 2 Step.

Because new Rapid Rewards Standard Awards expire one year after creation it is possible to extend Standard Awards indefinitely by transferring 16 A+ Credits to Rapid Rewards creating a new Standard Award. If that Award nears expiration then transferring the Standard Award to A+ Credits and Back with create an New Standard Award with a new expiration date.

This process takes 16 A+ Credits and will probably be discontinued sometime in the future.

Status Match between A+ Rewards and Rapid Rewards.

Southwest will generally match status between A+ Rewards and Rapid Rewards. All that is necessary is to establish an account in both Airtran and Southwest then call Customer Service with the account information. Airtran A+ Elite will be given A-List status on Southwest. Rapid Rewards A-List and A-List preferred with be give Airtran A+ Elite Status. As far as we can tell there is no automatic upgrade so if your status match is expiring. It is necessary for you to contact the appropriate airline and let them know it needs to be renewed.

While we have email confirmation of the policy and many people have reported success we also have a few reports of people being denied. If you are denied politely hang up and call back later or send and email. I recommend calling the Airtran Elite number, rather than Southwest or the regular Airtran number.

UPDATE! 7/22/14 Today a member has reported in the Southwest Forum that the Airtran Elite Desk is no longer doing Status matches.

Upgrade to Airtran Biz

I have had been advised that passengers traveling on tickets issued by Southwest who are A-List and Elite are eligible for complementary upgrades to business class on Flights operated by Airtran if space is available. These upgrades are only available 40 minutes before departure at the gate. While this has worked for me several time recently my wife was denied an upgrade. One Customer Service Agent at Southwest confirmed she was eligible another denied it. Another time the Southwest Gate Agent could not figure out how to change the seat assignment.

Southwest is not apparently not giving upgrades without a fight. I have experienced problems at least 3 times and received a report from another forum member of several denials.


UPDATE 3/5/2014: Recently I have been advised by several people at Southwest and Airtran that Southwest is not giving Biz upgrades to A-list passengers traveling on Southwest issued tickets. One Airtran Elite Customer Service Agent acknowledged that they had originally been told upgrades were to be given. The current story is that the original information was in error and there are "Technical Issues" with changing a Ticket issued by Southwest.

Seat Assignments on Airtran Flights Purchased Through Southwest

Recently Southwest added the capability for passengers purchasing seats on Airtran flights Purchased at Southwest.com to select seats. This new change was as far as we can tell completely unannounced it simply appeared one day. There have been reports of some problems with it, specifically that at least sometime passengers purchasing Priority Seating are not boarded in Zone 1 as advertized.

Biz Class Snacks Discontinued.

Starting Jan. 18 the business class snacks have been discontinued. The new snacks are the SWA Select-a-Snack Boxes. Consisting if Oreos, Ritz Cheese Bits and Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. Snacks will rotate every few months. This will be for all flights. Reported by CitrusFA

Drink Coupons Interchangeable UPDATED: 3/5/2014

Although never announced back in September of 2013 Southwest and Airtran began accepting each others Free Drink Coupons, according to Airtran Elite Customer Service.

Everyday is a New Day

One thing that is apparent through this process is that not everyone gets all of the memos. People are seeing glitches all the time especially when Southwest and Airtran systems need to interface. New changes are constantly surfacing.

Please Help Keep Everyone Informed

Southwest has not been actively in informing people of changes. Sometimes things just happen so we need everyone's help in keeping all of us informed.
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Southwest Airtran Integration - Master Thread

 
Old Oct 2, 2014, 9:55 am
  #46  
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At this point (October 2) I think by the time you receive any card if you pay attention your spend could be pushed off until the January 2015 statement with the bonus hitting early in 2015
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Old Oct 2, 2014, 10:34 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by rsteinmetz70112
At this point (October 2) I think by the time you receive any card if you pay attention your spend could be pushed off until the January 2015 statement with the bonus hitting early in 2015
That would be the best plan of action.
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Old Oct 6, 2014, 3:36 pm
  #48  
 
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33 + 33 A+ Credits.

So did I sleep on some deal to convert these to RR credits/points to my advantage?

I see that on Nov. 1st they will become 66*1200 = 79,200 SW points. This versus 4 RT tickets 66 A+ credits would have given me. I just want to know so I can be at peace with it

Last edited by FT-hss; Oct 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm Reason: typo
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Old Oct 6, 2014, 3:51 pm
  #49  
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Originally Posted by FT-hss
So did I sleep on some deal to convert these to RR credits/points to my advantage?

I see that on Nov. 1st they will become 66*1200 = 79,200 SW points. This versus 4 RT tickets 66 A+ credits would have given me. I just want to know so I can be at peace with it
Some of us are planning on using our credits to create Southwest Standard Awards. A Standard Award = 2 one way flights but they are capacity controlled and expire one year after creation.

66 Airtran Credits = 66/8 = 8 one way flights (with 2 left over) = 4 Standard Awards = 8 one way flights.

The advantage is that often Standard Awards Flights are available at the last minute when points flights would be very expensive. Check the Southwest Forums for examples.

The disadvantage is that Standard Awards expire one year after creation.

If you can't use that many in a year then you're better off letting some of the Credits convert to points.

Another option is to create a partial Southwest Credit which you can top off withing a year for a Standard Award. 300 points = .25 credit.

Last edited by rsteinmetz70112; Oct 7, 2014 at 8:56 am
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 6:40 am
  #50  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Yeah that makes more sense, thank you.

BTW, how fast do you guys think the AirTran credit to RR Point exchange will happen in November? Automatic or will it take weeks? Thank you.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 8:55 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by heyvinny89
Yeah that makes more sense, thank you.

BTW, how fast do you guys think the AirTran credit to RR Point exchange will happen in November? Automatic or will it take weeks? Thank you.
We really have no idea. Southwest at first said it might take several weeks. However if your Airtran account and RR account at links it should be much faster. How fast no one can know.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 4:20 pm
  #52  
 
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I'm also wondering what to do with my credits. Have 7 left over from AirTran with expiration date in May 2016 and 2000+ points, sufficient for an extra credit, thus can be used as one-way award on FL but due to limited network, not really a viable option and WN won't let me create a one-way award, so I either have to move the credits back to FL and have them convert to points beginning of November or purchase the difference (8800), so I can have 16 credits and 2 one-way awards on Southwest. Even with the current promotion, I'd have to spend $192+ to buy the points that only will be worth $135, which doesn't seem like a great deal but I've also noticed the last-minute availability of standard awards on tickets with very high prices, so that's not a good use od point. I think the extra money I'll be spending now may pay off later if I save more using a Standard award coupon vs. paying with points. What do you think?
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 7:55 pm
  #53  
nsx
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If you transfer the credits to Southwest I think you will have until their expiration in May 2016 to come up with the extra points. In the meantime there's virtually certain to be a short-term sale on points, such as the recent 40% extra points and the current 35% extra points. Buy the missing points then if you see a use for the award within the following 12 months.

Some diversification of credits vs. points is useful so that you have ability to book both short-notice and long-notice award travel.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 8:22 pm
  #54  
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Perhaps if you don't have enough Points+Credits for a Standard Award now the best strategy would be to create a new .25 credit, transfer that to Southwest maximizing the length of time you have to create a have Standard Award and minimizing the amount you have at risk then allowing all of the credits to be converted to points.

I'm not exactly sure how you would designate specific credits to transfer, but Airtran has in the past been first in first out. So creating .25 credit with 300 points transferring alll of your credits to Southwest then transferring 7 Credits back to Airtran ought to leave you with the new .25 credit in you RR account and the 7 (or more) credits would be converted to points.

If I have time to fiddle with it I'll test it out. I'm eventually planning on transferring enough points to create a new Standard Award and leaving .25 credit to seed a Standard Award later.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 9:45 pm
  #55  
nsx
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Originally Posted by rsteinmetz70112
I'm eventually planning on transferring enough points to create a new Standard Award and leaving .25 credit to seed a Standard Award later.
Don't forget to seed a couple of family member accounts too. RR shopping will normally post 300 points for $300 (or less money in some cases) within a few days of your purchase.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 11:00 pm
  #56  
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Originally Posted by nsx
Don't forget to seed a couple of family member accounts too. RR shopping will normally post 300 points for $300 (or less money in some cases) within a few days of your purchase.
I plan on seeding my wife but there aren't any others likely to have any points to top off.
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Old Oct 7, 2014, 11:28 pm
  #57  
nsx
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Originally Posted by rsteinmetz70112
I plan on seeding my wife but there aren't any others likely to have any points to top off.
That may not matter. If you need a last-minute flight that costs more than $250 each way, which is almost any flight, you can just buy the necessary points to create a standard award.
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Old Oct 8, 2014, 12:21 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by nsx
That may not matter. If you need a last-minute flight that costs more than $250 each way, which is almost any flight, you can just buy the necessary points to create a standard award.
Buying points? That sounds risky. Just because last minute flights can be available doesn't mean they will be. It's at best a 50/50 proposition and for some city pairings and times of the year when flights are at capacity, just forget it! I feel as though your tip should at least contain a disclaimer, since southwest doesn't allow us to check standard award availability unless we have awards to spend, and you can't unbuy points that were bought on a whim.
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Old Oct 8, 2014, 12:54 pm
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by launcher
Buying points? That sounds risky. Just because last minute flights can be available doesn't mean they will be. It's at best a 50/50 proposition and for some city pairings and times of the year when flights are at capacity, just forget it! I feel as though your tip should at least contain a disclaimer, since southwest doesn't allow us to check standard award availability unless we have awards to spend, and you can't unbuy points that were bought on a whim.
This is inaccurate. For a while now, WN has made Standard award search available even to people who don't have any flight coupons to use. So one can search for what they need and once availability is confirmed, they can choose whether to purchase enough points for a standard award or book with points only.
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Old Oct 9, 2014, 7:22 am
  #60  
 
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I had some Airtran credits expiring Oct 1, so I converted to a standard award to extend the expiration by a year and in case I needed a last minute ticket. Sure enough, I came up needing a $360 one-way fare for something 9 days away.

As I tried to purchase, they said there were no standard awards available on that flight. I would need something called a Freedom Award to buy the seat.

The whole slogan of "no change fees" is really useless for changing to a new flight near the flight date, isn't it? They clearly are going to raise prices for anything within a week to far more than the change fee would've been with Airtran.

I knew this trip was a 50% possibility. In retrospect, I should have bought the ticket when it was $149 and then if things did not line up, I could cancel it to use the funds later. That might be the right strategy to take advantage of the "no change fees" policy.
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