Southwest Offers Business Travelers Boarding Priority, Free Booze

Starting tomorrow, frequent travelers who fly 16 round trip or 32 one-way flights in 12 months with Southwest will receive automatic boarding priority through a new “Rapid Rewards” program called the “A-List.”

Southwest sent an email to their members (Thanks, Mark!) about the change:

The Rapid Rewards A-List – Just fly 16 roundtrips in 12 months and we’ll put you on our A-List where we’ll reserve you the best boarding pass available on all your flights for an entire year, which means you’ll most likely get an A boarding pass.

Log into your MySouthwest® account on tomorrow to see how close you are to making it on the A-List. Members who qualify for the A-List as of November 8, 2007, will be receiving notification either by postal mail or e-mail within 3 to 5 days.

They’re also raising and rebranding their last minute fares. The more expansive last minute fares are now called “Business Select” fares and they include a cocktail and guaranteed priority boarding, according to the email.

Business Select – When you purchase this new fare, you can guarantee that you’ll be among the first to board, and you’ll also get extra Rapid Rewards credit and a free drink to boot!

USAToday says that Southwest’s CEO Gary “Put Some Clothes On, Young Lady” Kelly estimates the changes will bring in an extra $100 million a year for Southwest.

Southwest giving boarding priority to highest-paying fliers [USAToday]