Southwest Helps Out Longtime Customer Even Though It Didn’t Have To

For more than 20 years, Consumerist reader Carl has been flying on Southwest Airlines, and he’s been a frequent customer of the carrier for around 15 years.

Back in 2011, the airline revamped its frequent flier rewards program, getting rid of the point-per-flight system and instituting one where travelers earn points based on the amount of the airfare.

Unlike some other Southwest customers, Carl didn’t really have that much of a problem with the new system, but he had amassed a couple of free flights under the old program. In fact, in 2011 he even paid Southwest a $50 fee for free flight so that his vouchers would not expire until the end of 2012.

But then, with the expiration date looming, a family matter came up that made it impossible for Carl to use the vouchers before their expiration date.

“I called their customer service number, expecting to be told that the expiration date was final,” he tells Consumerist. “The service rep told me that Southwest was eliminating all of the old vouchers, and that company policy dictated these two could not be extended. However, she also said that if I wrote a letter to the company, I might get a better response.”

So he figured “What the heck” and wrote to Southwest HQ in the hopes that he could convince them to refund them the $50 fees he’d paid to have the vouchers extended.

The response was better than what he’d hoped for:

I got a phone call a couple of days later from one of the higher-ups in their customer relations department who said that they would be reissuing me two new vouchers, no fee required, and thanking me for my loyalty. He said he noticed I’d been a frequent flyer for many years, and while my total mileage was nothing special, the fact that I’d stayed with Southwest for 20+ years (back to my college days) was something they valued. I also got a nice letter in the mail a few days later with the some drink coupons.

Adds Carl, “Southwest made it clear that they valued my tiny amount of business, and that means a lot to me.”