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Can anyone give me a single benefit to being a "preferred" frequent traveler on SW?

Can anyone give me a single benefit to being a "preferred" frequent traveler on SW?

Old Jul 21, 14, 5:25 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Programs: AA Gold, DL Gold, WN A-List Preferred, MR Plat, HH Plat
Posts: 30
Can anyone give me a single benefit to being a "preferred" frequent traveler on SW?

This past weekend, they took away the last remaining benefit I had ... the Fly By security lane in TPA. So, what is left? I get points for flying? Big deal, every real airline gives points for flying, including bonus points for frequent flyers. I get a higher boarding pass number? Big deal, I already have my seat reserved with the real airlines. Besides, with the reduced number of flights (making all of my regular flights completely full), there are already enough through-passengers and pre-board passengers that the few decent seats (ie where there is enough room for your legs/knees to fit) are usually already taken. On the other airlines, I can pick those better seats when booking. The Southwest Fly By security lane is gone from my home airport now, although the other "real" airlines still have expedited security.

So, honestly, what real benefits are there to being a frequent flyer on SW? On the other airlines, when I traveled enough to get status, I would get upgrades to first class (not an option on SW, since all of their seats are pretty much equally crappy). I think the only possible benefit that SW has is the possibility of Companion Pass. However, in my case, I wouldn't use it much anyways, since we have 3 young kids, and it's not like the wife and I can just go away and leave them alone, nor would she really be interested much in going to my regular business travel destinations.

It's extremely clear to me that SW is not interested in doing anything at all of any consequence to attract the business travelers that fly weekly and can make a big difference in their revenue potential. Instead, they are only interested in those leisure travelers that fly once a year or so. Of course, once those folks realize that SW fares are not lower than any of the full-service airlines any longer, they could be in a world of hurt.
sheidt is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 5:45 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Programs: SPG LT Plat & Plat 100, SWA A+ & CP
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Looks like you answered your own question. So, I'd move on.
jb3t is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 5:51 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Hilton and Choice hotels primarily.
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Anyone who doesn't feel Southwest is a real airline really should be flying the real airlines.

I am at a complete loss as to why you would have been flying Southwest in the first place if the fly-by line was the only benefit you saw.
lougord99 is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 6:06 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by sheidt View Post
This past weekend, they took away the last remaining benefit I had ... the Fly By security lane in TPA. So, what is left? I get points for flying? Big deal, every real airline gives points for flying, including bonus points for frequent flyers. I get a higher boarding pass number? Big deal, I already have my seat reserved with the real airlines. Besides, with the reduced number of flights (making all of my regular flights completely full), there are already enough through-passengers and pre-board passengers that the few decent seats (ie where there is enough room for your legs/knees to fit) are usually already taken. On the other airlines, I can pick those better seats when booking. The Southwest Fly By security lane is gone from my home airport now, although the other "real" airlines still have expedited security.

So, honestly, what real benefits are there to being a frequent flyer on SW? On the other airlines, when I traveled enough to get status, I would get upgrades to first class (not an option on SW, since all of their seats are pretty much equally crappy). I think the only possible benefit that SW has is the possibility of Companion Pass. However, in my case, I wouldn't use it much anyways, since we have 3 young kids, and it's not like the wife and I can just go away and leave them alone, nor would she really be interested much in going to my regular business travel destinations.

It's extremely clear to me that SW is not interested in doing anything at all of any consequence to attract the business travelers that fly weekly and can make a big difference in their revenue potential. Instead, they are only interested in those leisure travelers that fly once a year or so. Of course, once those folks realize that SW fares are not lower than any of the full-service airlines any longer, they could be in a world of hurt.

You will be missed....
antinseattle is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 6:38 pm
  #5  
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Location: Chicagoland, IL, USA
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As a Chicago-based flyer, for me the only reasons to prefer WN to AA:

1. CP
2. No fee to refare/cancel/change flight
3. I prefer MDW to ORD

When/if they do away with 1 and 2, I am gone. That day. Especially since they can't seem to run the operation on-time any more.

A person who has no need for a CP should look very hard at leaving IMO. Except maybe for specific situations like intra-CA.
toomanybooks is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 7:33 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Are you really "SW Plat?" Those benefits would be listed right here.
Tanic is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 7:39 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Minneapolis, originally from Cincinnati
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Posts: 2,345
The skypriority lane for Delta has been removed at MCO and there is a complaint on the Delta board that it was just removed from BNA. I can't remember which airport it was, but I was flying AA recently and the priority lane for AA customers was gone. Fortunately I have precheck so that isn't an issue.

I think you will be seeing the lanes disappearing as precheck becomes more popular. Now if they would just stop handing out PC like candy and only give it to people who have a TTN or give it at random to elites like when it first rolled out, it would be a great program again.

If you fly often enough to get status I would just pay the $85 for precheck. Very easy to get and there are a lot more places to do the fingerprint check at than Global Entry. Precheck has saved me a lot of time (except in places like Vegas and MCO where they give it to anyone and won't allow seasoned travelers to bypass the people that are clueless).
ILovetheReds is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 8:15 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Programs: WN CP, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Gold, Carlson Gold, AA Gold
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Reasons why you are mad at Southwest
1) No expedited security
2) No first class
3) No assigned seat or premium economy
4) Companion pass is useless to you

Yes, the other competitor frequent flier benefits are better than WN. I'm sure the city you travel to is only serviced non-stop from TPA on WN. So it sounds like you should accept that Southwest is not extremely business friendly and get pre-check, or accept inconvenience of connecting in other cities and sitting in first class less than half the time. We're at an inflection point with losing benefits on all airlines and airlines increasing profitability, the grass probably isn't much greener out of TPA on other airlines as well.
dfwgolfer1 is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 8:50 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by Tanic View Post
Are you really "SW Plat?" Those benefits would be listed right here.
I think he means Starwoods Plat.
jb3t is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 9:50 pm
  #10  
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If you don't think bonus points and preferred boarding (which equates to preferred seating) is a benefit, I'm not sure what to tell you. Your claims seem a bit hyperbolic to me anyway because: 1) TPA doesn't have a great deal of through passengers filling up your flights from there because of its geographic location relative to other WN destinations (except for the five non-stop FLL-TPA flights a day), and 2) I would estimate only half of your trips through security are in TPA, they likely still have FlyBy lanes at a majority of the other airports you fly out of.

Why any frequent flyer would not have Global Entry or PreCheck is lost on me anyway.
Beckles is offline  
Old Jul 21, 14, 11:05 pm
  #11  
nsx
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Originally Posted by ILovetheReds View Post
I think you will be seeing the lanes disappearing as precheck becomes more popular.
This.

Southwest's Elite benefits are weak. If the no change fee policy is not worth anything to you and if Southwest's schedule is not better for you, then another airline will be a better match.
nsx is offline  
Old Jul 22, 14, 10:57 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Austin
Programs: SPG Platnium, SWA A+, CP
Posts: 150
1. No black-out dates when you book award travel. (Have you actually tried to book award travel on other airlines?)
2. I am a business traveler and while not specific to being RR member, no change fee.
3. CP. No other airline offers this perk.

I say all of this and then point out that I have over 800k points and travel every week.
Toan is offline  
Old Jul 22, 14, 11:14 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by Toan View Post
1. No black-out dates when you book award travel. (Have you actually tried to book award travel on other airlines?)
2. I am a business traveler and while not specific to being RR member, no change fee.
3. CP. No other airline offers this perk.

I say all of this and then point out that I have over 800k points and travel every week.

1. Is not an Elite Benefit, anyone can do it.

2. Is not an Elite Benefit, it is available to everyone

3. Is not an Elite Benefit, it can be had by CC use alone, but if you don't fly Southwest it's of little use.
These are reasons to fly Southwest, but the A-List Status (or A-List Preferred) is not really one of them. It offers few benefits.
rsteinmetz70112 is offline  
Old Jul 22, 14, 12:01 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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I'd be pissed too as that is a real useful perk. There is usually no one in the Fly By line at the airports I use while the pre-check and other lines are all backed up. I'm sure its a matter of time before they all go away and get merged into pre-check.

Don't forget about the wonderful free wi-fi
joshua362 is online now  
Old Jul 22, 14, 12:01 pm
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
If you don't think bonus points and preferred boarding (which equates to preferred seating) is a benefit, I'm not sure what to tell you. Your claims seem a bit hyperbolic to me anyway because: 1) TPA doesn't have a great deal of through passengers filling up your flights from there because of its geographic location relative to other WN destinations (except for the five non-stop FLL-TPA flights a day), and 2) I would estimate only half of your trips through security are in TPA, they likely still have FlyBy lanes at a majority of the other airports you fly out of.

Why any frequent flyer would not have Global Entry or PreCheck is lost on me anyway.
Bonus points are standard for other airline reward programs. As far as the preferred boarding equating to preferred seating, in my experiences, that is far from accurate. For instance, one of my main clients is in STL, where there is 1 direct option in the morning and 1 direct option returning in the evening. Admittedly, my return flight from STL to TPA is worse in terms of through passengers. Depending on which schedule they are using, the plane to STL from TPA is coming from FLL, which can have a handful of through passengers. And my evening return flight out of STL usually has at least 15 through passengers on it, and I have had up to 40 in the past. Then, add on the handful of preboards that take any remaining bulkhead seats. Since there are a maximum of 12 seats on the plane that have extended legroom (if you count the middle seats on the exit row and bulkhead), you do the math. I even had a time where I bought a Bus Select and had A1 and still didn't get an extra legroom seat. In my experience, the BS fare is a waste, since it really won't make that much of a difference in seating options over an A30 pass.

As far as the no change fees, you still have to pay the fare difference, just not the actual change fee that the other airlines charge $50-$100 for. If I was a leisure traveler paying my own fares, that could definitely be useful. My inlaws use that option quite often if they decide to stay a little longer when they do the snowbird thing. However, for business, the client is paying for my travel expenses, so the change fee doesn't affect me for business travel.

To make it a little more frustrating, not only are the newer Evolve seats smaller and a lot less comfortable than before, it seems that I am ended up delayed due to SW's fault a lot more consistently.

Oh, and I hadn't applied for PreCheck before because I didn't need it. All of the airlines had expedited security lanes. Plus, I would have to drive all the way out to the airport just for that appointment, since the office isn't open when I fly out on Monday mornings or when I fly back on Thursday nights.
sheidt is offline  

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