The nearest thing we’ve had to a sure thing in the points and miles universe is that if Delta made a change, United was sure to follow shortly thereafter. That’s because Delta was usually the first one to make changes, typically negative ones, to their SkyMiles program. United would then pretty much cut and paste those changes into the MileagePlus program, even though they lacked some of the positive things Delta had, like on-time operations, working Wi-Fi and friendlier staff.
The current environment has thrown the world upside down. Companies are making changes daily about refund policies, status extensions, certificate expiration and even what a flight getting “canceled” REALLY means. It’s no longer Delta leading the way as everyone is looking for a chance to be in front of the curve.
American Airlines got a bit roughed up about their delayed response to frequent flyers with regards to extending status for their best customers. Not wanting to be the last one in line again, American was the first ones to announce a promotion to earn extra miles for flying with them.
We must be in a parallel universe because Southwest Airlines is now countering with their own bonus miles offer and they’re being a bit more generous than American.
Member must register for this promotion between May 12 and August 31, 2020, and registration must be completed prior to booking and commencement of travel. Valid on new qualifying flights booked within the promotional time period. Member’s qualifying flight must be booked through Southwest Airlines® between May 12 and August 31, 2020 for travel between May 12 and August 31, 2020. Member’s flight must be completed between May 12 and August 31, 2020. Member’s Rapid Rewards account number must be entered at the time of booking Member’s qualifying flight to earn double Rapid Rewards points for that flight.
With the Southwest promotion, once registered you’ll earn double miles for all travel from now until August 31, 2020. The number of miles you earn with Southwest depends on the type of ticket you purchase. For every dollar of your ticket price, not including taxes and fees:
- Business Select fares earn 12 points.
- Anytime fares earn 10 points.
- Wanna Get Away fares earn 6 points.
You’ll earn 2x those points for the promotion. Unfortunately, the bonus points earned will not count toward A-List, A-List Preferred, or Companion Pass qualification.
Promotions are often a way for a company to try and take market share from its competitors. A lucrative bonus may cause you to use one airline over another. But that’s not the problems airlines are having right now. It’s just a lack of people wanting to buy tickets for future travel.
American’s promo was designed to get you to book airfare right now for the rest of the year. Southwest’s promotion is more geared to get you thinking about booking summer travel and when you do, to book it with Southwest. It’s more about earning goodwill than increasing immediate bookings. The fact that you can register and book right until the end of the promo period is customer friendly.
I’m not trying to read too deep into these things, but right now it appears that American seems to be looking at the short term while Southwest is playing the long game. You do what you need to, I guess.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary