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This is not exactly a shocker since AirTran and Southwest Airlines are merging, and Southwest is not a Membership Rewards transfer partner, but it is still important to make a note of the date that AirTran will be leaving the Membership Rewards program. All transfers from Membership Rewards to AirTran must be completed by 2/29/2012.
Although this isn’t a surprise, it is still another loss to the Membership Rewards program. True, they have fairly recently added Choice Hotels and Virgin America, but I have my fingers crossed that they have more quality additions to the program coming soon.
In case you aren’t familiar with the transfer rates from Membership Rewards to AirTran A+ Rewards, the rate is 1,500 Membership Reward points to 1 A+ credit. Normally you earn an A+ credit by taking one coach flight on AirTran. It takes 8 A+ credits to book a one-way flight.
We don’t yet have the information about how the merged Southwest and AirTran frequent flyer systems will operate, but my bet is that it will more closely resemble the Rapid Rewards 2.0 system where points have a fixed value to be used towards the monetary cost of the reward flight, rather than the current AirTran system that is solely based on credits regardless of the cost of the reward flight. I also bet that previously earned AirTran credits will be treated similarly to previously earned Rapid Rewards 1.0 credits. During the Rapid Rewards 1.0 to 2.0 transition, you can use points from the new system to “top off” credits earned from the previous system. This is just 100% my guess, but it does mirror how Southwest treated the previous frequent flyer program transition.
If you want to top-off your AirTran balance before the merger, you can add 15,000 Membership Reward points to your point collection (enough for 10 AirTran credits) by getting the American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card and spending $1000 on the card within the first three months.
Are you going to be transferring some MR points to AirTran to top-off some rewards before the merger with Southwest?
HT to Beltway for sharing this info on Flyertalk.
Also, remember to enter to win a free CARES Harness so that your little ones can fly safely (without lugging a heavy car seat on the plane).