My DeltaPoints Interview

DeltaPoints interviewed me for his ‘fireside chat’ series.

On Southwest Airlines:

flew Southwest once.  That was 1993.  They used to have seats that faced backwards, but of course not like British Airways or United (lie flat seats).  Southwest is great, it isn’t generally cheaper than its head-to-head competition but I think they’re a good reliable airline and they’ve brought a lot to the communities they serve.  I used to love sparring online with their founding President Lamar Muse, and his autobiography is a great must-read.  I loved the stories about their commitment to putting skylights in their first planes so passengers could look up to the heavens (helped them get financial backing) and of how the La Quinta chain got its name (a Southwest board member founded it, and was looking for the cheapest furniture possible which happened to have a Southwestern motif — and needed a name to match).  But there’s no possibility of an upgrade on Southwest, and Southwest points can’t be leveraged.  So the two things I value most are impossible.

On the future of frequent flyer progams:

Frequent flyer programs are the most successful marketing innovations of all time.  They are profitable as standalone businesses.  While there are changes in the offing, many of the programs are funded by smart business people who won’t undermine the fundamental value proposition that supports their profitability.  And there are too many frequent flyer programs around the world to count, which means there are plenty of places for mileage junkies to go to continue getting real value.  So I don’t worry too much.

Read the whole thing.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. My view on southwest. I like their frequent flyer program, 100K points by CC spend or miles gets you a companion pass. The companion flies free, no restrictions or limitations including being able to fly on a award ticket. Low points award tickets are always available two weeks out for a reasonable number of points. No change fees, full cancellation . no baggage charge.

    What I dislike about Southwest, the schedules are always chafing. Flights are rarely on time.

  2. I’ve flown on Southwest once. The actual airport/flight experience was fine. What wasn’t fine was the fact that it took me almost 2 hours to get to MDW from home and another 2 hours to get back. That, in and of itself, will prevent me from ever going back to MDW if I can help it. ORD is about 35 min (45-50 with traffic), and even MKE is a shorter drive than MDW from where I live.

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