Travel Southwest Airlines pays off PreCheck delays with points

15:36  17 may  2018
15:36  17 may  2018 Source:   sfgate.com

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* Points don’t expire as long as you have flight-earning or partner-earning activity at least once every 24 months. Southwest Airlines - TSA Precheck . their CBP-assigned PASS ID number in the "Known Traveler #" field during

a person standing in front of a store: File- This Oct. 22, 2013, file photo shows passengers walking through the pre-check lane at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport. The PreCheck program allows previously vetted fliers to use special lanes at the checkpoint. Shoes, belts and light jackets stay on. Laptops and liquids stay in bags. And these fliers go through standard metal detectors rather than the explosive-detecting full-body scanners most pass through. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc File- This Oct. 22, 2013, file photo shows passengers walking through the pre-check lane at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport. The PreCheck program allows previously vetted fliers to use special lanes at the checkpoint. Shoes, belts and light jackets stay on. Laptops and liquids stay in bags. And these fliers go through standard metal detectors rather than the explosive-detecting full-body scanners most pass through. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Starting this week, Southwest Airlines will offer PreCheck members a 2,500-point bonus if they wait in line at Oakland International Airport security longer than 10 minutes. The pilot program will last through June 29th, and if successful, could expand to other airports, according to the carrier's Chief Revenue officer Andrew Watterson.

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Those airline loyalty points can now pay off in a whole new way. Update: Southwest Airlines is now offering its Rapid Rewards members the opportunity to pay for their TSA PreCheck enrollment fee with points .

Overall, this is great news for Southwest travelers who were previously stuck waiting in regular security lines despite having paid for PreCheck . 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 02: Travelers go through the TSA PreCheck security point at Miami International Airport on June 2, 2016 in Miami, Florida. As the busy summer travel season heats up the Transportation Security Administration is encouraging people to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program to save time going through the airports security lines. Those enrolled in the program can leave their shoes, light outerwear and belt on during the terminal screening process as well as keeping their laptop in the carry-on suitcase without having to remove them at the checkpoint. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc MIAMI, FL - JUNE 02: Travelers go through the TSA PreCheck security point at Miami International Airport on June 2, 2016 in Miami, Florida. As the busy summer travel season heats up the Transportation Security Administration is encouraging people to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program to save time going through the airports security lines. Those enrolled in the program can leave their shoes, light outerwear and belt on during the terminal screening process as well as keeping their laptop in the carry-on suitcase without having to remove them at the checkpoint. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Southwest promotion says, "Get through the TSA Precheck line in 10 minutes at Oakland or Southwest will give you 2,500 Rapid Rewards bonus points." Watterson said that when a passenger feels they've waited in the PreCheck line longer than 10 minutes, he or she should approach a Southwest supervisor and ask for a 2,500 voucher. "No proof of an extended wait is required," he said.

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These passengers will not be required to submit any additional information, submit an application, or pay a fee. No, TSA PreCheck and the Southwest Airlines Fly By Priority Lane are not the same and will continue to operate separately from one other.

Perhaps I missed it, but considering the only thing you can currently get with Rapid Rewards points besides flights is a few gift cards I don't expect Southwest to offer the ability to "purchase" TSA PreCheck with points .

The effort is part of a plan to get passengers back on short haul flights, Watterson told TravelSkills in an interview this week. "After 9/11, long and medium haul travel came back, but short haul travel has never fully recovered. With PreCheck, ride sharing and other advances, the pain points of business travel are not what they used to be. We want to draw attention to that by making this guarantee," he said. He believes the time is right for a "short-haul revival."

a man standing in front of a computer: Barry Hammarback of Minnesota smiles while speaking with a reporter after going through TSA PreCheck, an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear, belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in the designated Pre-check screening lane, at Westchester County Airport, White Plains, N.Y., Dec. 6, 2013.© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Barry Hammarback of Minnesota smiles while speaking with a reporter after going through TSA PreCheck, an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear, belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in the designated Pre-check screening lane, at Westchester County Airport, White Plains, N.Y., Dec. 6, 2013.

Southwest's biggest short-haul marks are its intrastate networks in California, Texas and Florida. A revival of sorts is already happening in California, where short-haul loads are already up 12 percent year-over-year according to Watterson.

a group of people standing in front of a store: Getting through Southwests Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Getting through Southwests Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport

This pilot program is easy to administer at Oakland's Terminal 2 where Southwest is the only carrier. Making such a guarantee at airports where Southwest shares airport security with other airlines could be more cumbersome.

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