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A couple of days ago, we reported that Southwest had terminated the option to transfer points from hotel programs to earn the Companion Pass. The change was effective immediately from January 1, 2017.  While you could still transfer points to Southwest, they would not be credited towards earning your Companion Pass. Well, it seems that Southwest has made a temporary U-turn, realizing the error in their ways.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Logo

Statement from Southwest

In a press release, Southwest stated that they have temporarily reversed their decision, and will extend the window for transferring hotel points to earn the Companion Pass until March 31, 2017. The full text of the Southwest statement is available below:

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!

Great News, Yes!

The single best part of this reversal is that Southwest has listened to the community. They made a decision, the travel world erupted due to the lack of notice, and Southwest did right.

This extension reopens the great option to secure the Companion Pass for almost two years, plus 7 nights in a Marriot hotel for a mere 90K Starwood points. In the meantime, several other hotel programs also will let you transfer points to Southwest and earn miles towards your Companion Pass:

  • Marriott: Transfers are more complex, but as mentioned earlier you can earn a ton of points using SPG to Marriott then Southwest.
  • Hyatt: transfers have two ratios; below 50K points the ratio is 2.1:1 so 5,000 World of Hyatt points = 2,400 Rapid Rewards points. Above 50K there is a 6,000 points bonus which improves the ratio to 1.7:1, so a 50K transfer would yield 30K Rapid Rewards points
  • La Quinta: transfer points at a 5:1 ratio, with 6,000 La Quinta points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards points
  • Choice Hotels: transfer points at a 2.8:1 ratio, with 6,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,800 Rapid Rewards points
  • Best Western: transfer points at a 4.2:1 ratio with 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards points
  • Carlson Rezidor: transfer points at a ratio of 10:1, with 100,000 Club Carlson points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards points

Conclusion

If you were considering going for the Companion Pass using a points transfer, NOW is the time to do it. This opportunity will end in less than three months. Moving the points now will not only let you earn the Companion Pass, but you’ll also keep it through the end of 2018, which is nearly two years of free companion travel.

Source: The Points Guy/Zach Honig

Southwest Reprieve on Companion Pass through March 2017
4.5 (89.33%) 15 votes
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Comments

  • This is great news indeed.
    Now if only other airlines would also listen to the community and rollback some devaluations…

  • Got to give credit to Southwest for this (reluctantly). It’s so rare for companies to be so responsive.

  • This is why I am loyal to Southwest, no change fees is HUGE boon for customers.

  • Good news for Southwest fliers. However, there are better domestic airlines these days. If they service your destination, Alaska and JetBlue, for example, have far superior hard and soft products.

  • This would be great news.. but I’m 100k Marriott points short. I need to work fast! But really cool of SW to ease the transition!

    • here is what you do……both you wife apply for the Marriott card, get the 80k points by spending 3k in the first 30 days (immediately do this…mortgage, trips, flights, ect) then you will have 160k points total. Transfer her account points of 80k to yours and you will then have 160k ADDITIONAL points! You could do the same thing with the SPG cards and both get 25k points each which converts to 75k points each when converting to Marriott points, thus would get 150k total from these cards PLUS the additional 3k each for spending the 3k in the first 90 days

  • Bertrand Say says:

    Hope everyone can take advantage of the reprieve from Southwest Airlines

  • Nice that they listened to their customers. Too bad that they couldn’t keep the option open.

  • Two quick questions if anyone has done this…I have transferred the points over to Marriott and I see the package “7 nights, category 1-5, up to 132,000 ff miles.”

    It looks like I have to add that to my dreams and then redeem, correct?

    Why does it say “up to 132,000 miles” when the package on the previous page says “7 Nights + 120,000 Rapid Reward Points?”

  • Good move on the part of WN.

  • Any updates on having my Southwest account sync up with Award Wallet so I don’t have to manually adjust it anymore?

    • Jonathan, for now you can use your private/personal AwardWallet email address to help track your Southwest Rapid Rewards. Set this email address in your Southwest profile, we’ll parse emails sent and then transparently forward them on to you. You receive what appears to be the original message but we’ve pulled out the info about your balance and any travel plans, which are then added to your profile.

      We’ve love to get Southwest back on board, but unfortunately they don’t want us — yet! We’re not giving up, but for now: https://awardwallet.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5230

  • I love my companion pass. I got with CC signed up and do not have enough miles for transferring or using Marriots for next year.

  • In addition to the hotel transfers and 2-card method, you can also rack up a bunch of RR points on the SW portal, though you need a good rate and the right reselling opportunity. Even if the numbers weren’t great, if it cost you a couple hundred dollars because you lost money on the resale (hello tax deduction?), the CP is certainly worth that much if you are going to get good use out of it.

  • Do Chase Sapphire points transferred to SW count towards the CP??

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