Southwest Is Compensating Elites for Its System Glitch

Aug 16, 2017

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On Tuesday, we reported that Southwest elites were losing their priority boarding on flights due to a system glitch. As a result of Rapid Rewards numbers being deleted from future reservations, many A-List and A-List Preferred members were left with boarding positions in Groups B or C. Southwest didn’t give a timeline as to when the issue would be resolved, and now, Southwest is offering compensation for those who have been affected.

TPG reader Lauren E., a Southwest elite, said that the carrier reached out to her via email to apologize for the inconvenience and to reimburse her for her troubles. Here’s what the email said:

“During your recent travel with us you were unable to enjoy one of the perks of you tier status, priority check-in (automatic check-in 36 hours before your flight). This most likely led you to receiving a boarding position that was less typical than what you have come to expect as an A-List or A-List Preferred Member.

We consider you one of our top Customers, and if you were impacted at all by this issue, we fully recognize the frustration and the inconvenience it may have caused. As a tangible apology, we will be adding 1,500 Rapid Rewards points to your account, which will also count towards your 2018 tier qualification (A-List or A-List Preferred) if you have not yet qualified. The points will post to your account within the next 48 hours.”

It appears Southwest is sending the 1,500 bonus points to your account only if you’ve recently traveled with the carrier. While it continues to work on a solution for the issue, it’s nice that it’s giving elite members some form of compensation for the inconvenience, even if it’s not an overwhelmingly generous offer. If you’re flying in the near future with Southwest, you’ll need to manually check-in 24 hours in advance. Remember, if you’re a Southwest A-List or A-List Preferred member you are always allowed to board between Groups A and B. If you see that your boarding pass doesn’t have your status printed on it, see a Southwest gate agent in order to ensure you get that benefit.

Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 1,500 Rapid Rewards points are worth $22.50. Considering that the points count toward elite status qualification for 2018, it’s an added bonus. As a reminder, A-List status requires 25 one-way qualifying segments or 35,000 tier qualifying points and A-List Preferred status requires 50 one-way qualifying segments or 70,000 tier qualifying points in a qualifying year.

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