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On New Years Day, Southwest decided to update their terms and conditions for what would and what not work for earning the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. Up until that point, all hotel transfers from partner loyalty programs counted towards the 110,000 points needed. Because of some strong transfer ratios, this made it much easier to earn the pass which allows a companion to fly with you for FREE (plus taxes) for an UNLIMITED number of times during the life of the pass. Unfortunately though, this change on January 1st excluded hotel transfers to count.
While many people called this a “loophole” in the Southwest system, I personally did not. In my mind it was just one of the ways you count earn points that counted towards the pass. Myself and many other loyal Southwest members were extremely disappointed with this change that came with zero advance notice. And while I absolutely understand why they are making the change, I did not condone the part where they didn’t let people know prior to the change.
Fortunately, after many complaints, Southwest has decided to make good and will allow hotel transfers to count through March 31, 2017. While they state that the points need to be transferred by this date, I believe the points need to actually post by this date, so do not wait till the last day of March to make your transfer. Also ,you are better off transferring them sooner then later anyways so you can actually earn the pass and start using it.
According to a Southwest representative who reached out to The Points Guy:
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.
I am so glad that Southwest decided to extend this deadline to their customers. Not only does it give folks the opportunity to now earn the pass, it also reduces the number of customers burned by this last minute decision. While I personally will not be taking advantage of this redemption, I know many folks will! I currently have the pass until December 2017, so redeeming points now will only extend my pass for another year. I was hoping I could have redeemed in January 2018, but I guess that will no longer be an option.
I’ll write a post in the next day or two on how you can transfer hotel points to Southwest and the best transfer ratios. Until then, for those that were hoarding points to earn that Companion Pass, congrats! If you earn the pass now, you’ll have it until December 31, 2018!