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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.
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
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
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