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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
AirTran loyalty program members are about to feel the pain of the integration with Southwest up close and personal — in their mileage redemptions.
Southwest Airlines Co. spokeswoman Thais Conway said Friday that the company began notifying customers of the changes about two weeks ago but did not make a public announcement.
AirTran has a simple program in which members earn a single credit for a coach flight and a half-credit bonus for flying business class. Reward flights cost eight credits in coach or 16 in business class. Southwest’s program is much more complicated, with a point system based on how much customers spend.
Among the changes coming for AirTran customers:
— They have until Nov. 1 to earn, redeem and travel on AirTran credits.
— Each AirTran credit that hasn’t expired will be converted on Nov. 1 into 1,200 Southwest points.
— Elite-status frequent fliers on AirTran will be given Southwest “A-List” status through the end of 2015.
Dallas-based Southwest bought AirTran Airways in 2011 and plans to switch all its planes to the Southwest brand by year end.