Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran and has taken its sweet time in folding the two airlines and two frequent flyer programs into one. But we now have a definitive date.
- You can already transfer AirTran credits and Southwest Rapid Rewards points back and forth.
- AirTran accounts will be closed on November 1.
- You’ll be able to set up permanent linking later in the year so that points from AirTran will transfer smoothly (at 1 credit -> 1200 points, and half credits become 600 points) when the transition happens.
- If you have an AirTran account and not a Southwest one (or they can’t find your Southwest account), they’ll create a Rapid Rewards account for you. You’ll be better off creating and linking your own accounts later in the year, however, since there’s no risk in winding up with duplicate accounts that way.
Should You Convert Points Yourself or Wait for Integration?
Converting points yourself may be potentially more generous than waiting for the End of Days, since you can convert points in 1/4 point increments while it appears that the end of the AirTran program will convert only in 1/2 point increments.
In the meantime, AirTran’s fixed point system is better on expensive tickets and Southwest’s system is better on advance purchase Wanna Get Away cheapies and you can continue to arbitrage that.
AirTran partner earning will actually cease earlier than November 2 — September 30 for Hertz, e-rewards, and e-miles, and during the month of October for the AirTran Chase co-brand credit card (existing cardholders will become Southwest cardholders, so anyone with an AirTran card may wish to apply for a Southwest one proactively before that in order to be eligible for a bonus).
Airtran elite members at November 1 will become Southwest A-List members through December 2015 automatically. If you have an AirTran companion pass that’s valid on November 1 it will become a Southwest companion pass valid through December 2015.
2015 Southwest A-List status and Companion Pass will be calculated based on combined activity on both airlines during 2014.
Members with 25–49 revenue flights in 2014 on Southwest and AirTran combined will receive Rapid Rewards A-List status.
Members with 50 or more revenue flights in 2014 on Southwest and AirTran combined will receive Rapid Rewards A-List Preferred status.
Members with 100 or more revenue flights in 2014 on Southwest and AirTran combined will receive a Companion Pass.
(HT: Inside Flyer)