AirTran A+ Rewards Program Ends Today

K evin Krone — who is the vice president and chief marketing officer of Southwest Airlines — sent the following e-mail message to members of the AirTran A+ Rewards frequent flier loyalty program earlier this morning:

Dear Brian,

A new chapter in our history begins tomorrow as the A+ Rewards® Program officially ends and Rapid Rewards® becomes the loyalty program for Southwest Airlines® and AirTran® Airways. On behalf of Southwest Airlines, I am thrilled to welcome you to the Rapid Rewards family.

While the A+ Rewards Program is ending, I want to reiterate that your active A+ Rewards Credits are safe and will be converted to Rapid Rewards Points at 1,200 points per credit. If you did not have an established Rapid Rewards account prior to today, one will be created for you. Over the next couple of weeks, we will transition your A+ Rewards account history and any points converted from A+ Rewards Credits to your Rapid Rewards account. Please remember that you may not be able to access your A+ Rewards activity during this time period. After the conversion, all terms of the Rapid Rewards Program will apply, and as always, you will still earn points for travel booked through Southwest.

We are excited to close out this journey toward operating a single loyalty program. We encourage you to experience first-hand our industry-leading frequent flier program, designed to make it easy to redeem for reward travel with unlimited reward seats, no blackout dates, and points that don’t expire*. In addition to our award-winning loyalty program, you will enjoy a number of benefits with Southwest. We have evolved our look, enhanced our cabin interiors, installed WiFi (where available) with free live TV onboard,** and we just announced new service to Costa Rica, our sixth near-international country service destination. There has never been a better time to fly Southwest Airlines!

This will be my final integration update, but be on the lookout for a communication from Rapid Rewards that will contain all of your account details. If you are new to the Rapid Rewards Program, we will also provide you some helpful tips to maximize your Membership. Please visit rewardsfarther.com for any questions related to the program integration.

Thank you for loyalty with A+ Rewards over the years and welcome onboard.

If you had an affinity for the AirTran A+ Rewards frequent flier loyalty program, today is probably a bittersweet day for you.

The only reason why I even have an AirTran A+ Rewards frequent flier loyalty program account in the first place was because a flight on which I was supposed to be a passenger was canceled; and the only way I could arrive at my destination that day was to take a flight operated by AirTran, for which the other airline paid.

I then opened a AirTran A+ Rewards frequent flier loyalty program account to get credit for that flight, as when irregular operations occur which involve two airlines similar to the situation I experienced, you can usually have both of your frequent flier loyalty program accounts credited.

I received my frequent flier loyalty program miles for the canceled flight of the other airline; but my AirTran A+ Rewards frequent flier loyalty program account was never credited — even after I requested it. Basically, I was ignored, which left me not wanting to patronize AirTran again — and I never had to do so.

It was not that the flight operated by AirTran was bad; in fact, quite the opposite: the airplane was clean, the flight was on time, and the limited service was good but nothing special. It was a good flight.

Southwest Airlines is one airline on which I have never flown as a passenger; and I suppose I now have an empty Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards frequent flier loyalty program account which I will probably never use. Although I have nothing against the airline, I have no intention at this time to do so in the foreseeable future…

…but never say never: I did fly as a passenger on an airplane operated by Ryanair for the first time last month

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