Today’s announcement that Southwest has a new marketing relationship with a rideshare company was no surprise. As rideshare services have become an ever-larger part of the travel landscape, such tie-ups have proliferated. It won’t be long before every airline and hotel loyalty program has a rideshare company on its roster of points-earning partners.
Somewhat surprising however was the identity of the designated rideshare partner. It wasn’t Uber; it was Lyft.
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Of the two, Uber has a presence in more markets than Lyft. And Uber’s coverage isn’t only wider, it’s deeper as well, with far more available cars on tap. Which explains why Uber was chosen over Lyft by American, United, Hilton, and Starwood.
As such tie-ups go, the new Southwest-Lyft partnership is more hookup than marriage. Through the end of the year, first-time Lyft users can earn a one-time bonus of 1,100 Rapid Rewards points for their first ride in any of 11 markets:
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
- Chicago Midway International Airport
- Dallas Love Field
- Los Angeles International Airport
- Louisville International Airport
- McCarren International Airport (Las Vegas)
- Nashville International Airport
- Oakland International Airport
- Reagan National Airport (Washington, D.C.)
- San Antonio International Airport
- San Diego International Airport
So, limited time, limited markets, limited earning potential. At this point, it all feels pretty tentative. But it could be the first step toward Lyft becoming a Rapid Rewards earning partner on an ongoing basis.
This isn’t the first time Southwest and Lyft have teamed up. Last summer, Southwest featured Lyft discount offers for flyers departing from Dallas Love Field in the airline’s flight-confirmation emails.
Reader Reality Check
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.