Yay: Southwest Backtracks On Companion Pass Changes

It’s nice when big corporations realize they didn’t handle something well, and then do the right thing. That’s exactly what’s happening here. On January 1, 2017, Southwest changed their policy on Companion Pass qualification without notice, which caught a lot of people off guard.

While the change as such was reasonable, they should have done better than to provide no notice of the change, and it seems they agree. Southwest has backtracked on their no-notice change.

While hotel and car rental points transfers won’t count towards Companion Pass, that policy will only kick in as of April 1, 2017. Per Southwest’s statement:

As we began the New Year on January 1, we took the opportunity to close a loophole in our Rapid Rewards Companion Pass terms and conditions related to transferred points from our Partners. This was an effort intended to clarify qualification requirements for Companion Pass, one of the best benefits in travel, as well as to protect the integrity and value of the Rapid Rewards program.

In doing so, we updated our terms and conditions which now clearly state that points transferred from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club will no longer count toward qualification for a Companion Pass. Members will continue to earn toward Companion Pass benefits through paid flights flown on Southwest, Points earned through spend with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners.

Many of you have reached out to us since then, and we greatly appreciate your honest and candid feedback. Because we are a Company that values our Customers and believes in doing the right thing, we are offering a limited window for Customers to earn toward Companion Pass by transferring their loyalty points from these Partners.

To that end, points converted from the above mentioned programs will count towards a Companion Pass until March 31, 2017. This is a hard deadline and we will not be able to make any exceptions beyond March 31. If you have points with these Partners that you wanted to transfer, please do not wait. Make the transfer before the deadline.

We appreciate all of our Customers and look forward to seeing you onboard very soon!

Well done, Southwest!


(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)


  1. I made the Marriott Nights + Flights transfer to Southwest during our mourning period on January 2. Just called SWA to see if my CP would need to be manually pushed through given their change of heart and the call center supervisor had no idea what I was talking about. I guess word hasn’t trickled down that far yet. I’m going to give it a few days then call customer relations if it doesn’t post.

  2. So 90 days to earn and move miles to my Marriott account , book a package with Marriott get my 120k miles and earn my CP. sounds easy enough.

  3. Stand Up! Nice to see big business apply common sense logic to their decision. I had a great SW roundtrip ONT-LAS this past weekend, and simply could not find fault in the value offered. Great PR move as I surely will lean a little more Southwest going forward due to this move. Kudos

  4. Ben- Since I’ve already earned companion pass for 2016 and have 60-70 flight for this year I’m southwest it doesn’t make sense for me to transfer over the total needed. If I transfer the 25-30k points before the deadline will they count when I hit the 110k total later this year?

  5. Southwest is a terrific company. They may not have 1st class seating and fine dining, but they treat their customers with respect. The ability to make changes without ridiculous penalties is refreshing and no status is required. The big three have destroyed the concept of loyalty. SWA gives you a great flight experience and the Companion Pass is a crazy good deal!

  6. @Daniel

    Southwest deliberately capitalizes words such as Customer, Employee, Company, in all of their corporate communications as a sign of respect and commitment to all the people with whom the company interacts. It’s part of the corporate culture. One consequence is that it keeps their folks focused on the people aspect of the business.


  7. I want to confirm that transfers are being posted and counted towards CP qualification/requalification. 2000 Rapid Rewards points from an e-Rewards redemption I made on 1/2 posted into my RR account on 1/4 and are noted within my current CP pass requalification status.

  8. @Neil – if it really kept “their folks focused on the people aspect of the business”, gaffes like this one would never happen.

    And no, @Alan, they don’t treat their customers with respect, at least not consistently, both in the air and on the ground. Out of my top ten worst customer service experiences with an airline, three have been with Southwest, and I’ve only flown them five times (and I’ve flown on the Big Three – or their predecessors – and JetBlue dozens of times each.)

  9. Hey guys, has anybody done this since they reinstated it?

    I’m having issues with Marriott’s site I think – I transferred 90k SPG points to Marriott, and then clicked on “view” in the Travel and Air Package 3 for 270,000 points. However, once clicking on that, I can’t get past step one: “Select quantity”, as there’s nothing for me to click on! I can click on terms and conditions, more info, etc…but it appears the pop-up box itself is broken and I can’t actually advance to step #2.

    Do i need to CALL Marriott or Southwest to make this work?

    It doesn’t appear so (why would they give you 3 steps and not let you advance past step 1?) – I’ve tried it on Safari, Firefox, and Chrome and the same thing on each.

  10. I was going stop flying southwest forever because I was one of the people that waited until Jan 1. I am happy they are bringing it back for 90 days. I will stick with them now.

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