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A Message About Drink Coupons

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For years, Southwest Airlines has accepted all types of drink coupons on our planes – regardless of their expiration dates. Rapid Rewards coupons. Business Select coupons. Old Company Club coupons. Coupons from the 80s, coupons from the 90s. And we’ve done so for all the right reasons.  However, in an industry where the competition is always knocking (or banging) on the door and where watching the bottom-line is more important than ever , we owe it to our Employees, Customers, and Shareholders to find ways to operate smarter.  We’ve reached a point where being so flexible with drink coupons has put us in a position of having far too many in circulation. To help purge the system of these excess coupons, we will start enforcing expiration dates on coupons over the course of the next year. 

Beginning today, Southwest Airlines will only accept Business Select drink coupons on the day of travel which allows Customers to use the coupon for the flight it was purchased . This has always been the intent of the coupon, but starting today, August 1, 2010 we’ll begin universally enforcing it. Business Select Customers may use their drink coupon on a connecting flight, as long as it is used on the day of travel printed on the coupon.

Also, Rapid Rewards drink coupons earned with an Award will soon have a new look and will include an expiration date that is one year from the date of issue. Rapid Rewards will communicate with Members as the transition approaches.  Not to worry, we’re giving Customers a full year to use those tan paper drink coupons without expiration dates. We will continue to accept these drink coupons, whether purchased or earned with a Rapid Rewards Award, until August 31, 2011.

We’re proud to have some of the lowest prices in the air for liquor, beer, and wine.  Customers may still purchase an alcoholic beverage or Monster drink with a credit or debit card. And of course, all other non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are free.  And don’t forget, when you fly Southwest, bags fly free and we don’t charge a change fee.

63 Comments

  1. For the record, it does say on those old “no expiration date” coupons: “Southwest Airlines reserves the right to cancel its coupon program at any time.” So for those who say you cannot impose an expiration date on something that didn’t have one, there you go. Sounds legal to me. Giving their passengers about 2 years warning to use up the old ones is a fair amount of time too. In the meanwhile, they started a new coupon program. Those frequent flyers who are truly earning the coupons, probably got plenty of notices to use up the old ones and have received the new ones that are valid. Many of the people who are upset, are those who bought them from eBay at an extremely discounted price or got the (non-transferrable) coupons from a buddy.

    • Rob — 11-17-2011 at 10:17 pm
    • 21
  2. Looks like Southwest wants to drive customers away. Good work of a dumb accountant.

  3. Get over it people! I have been a rapid reward member for ever and SWA has sent out email and letters about this for over a year and a half. Careful what you wish for its $5 some airlines charge $7. If the issue keeps getting pushed then what about a $50 bag fee? So ask yourself 5 or 50?

    If you can’t afford a 5 dollar drink maybe you shouldn’t travel in the first place or maybe you have a drinking problem.

    SWA sent me coupons that have an expiration date. Why should you have a coupon that last forever? Try taking an expired coupon into an merchant. It’s really petty that people have to bitch about this. SWA is good and if $5 helps them remain profitable versus charging bags fees then perhaps you should fly United or American where they charge $50 for a bag and $7 for a drink.

    There a business just like your employer or your business would evaluate things to keep them profitable. Lastly, if your to cheap to buy a drink then don’t fly how can you have money for that cheap bastards!