Southwest Officially Extends Date for Companion Pass Hotel Transfers!

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

Sometimes when negative feedback hits a certain threshold, hotel and airline loyalty programs will occasionally walk back some unannounced changes. That has thankfully happened in the case of the no-notice change that Southwest recently made as to which types of points count towards earning the valuable Southwest Companion Pass!

As I shared yesterday, on January 1, 2017, Southwest made a no-notice change to what types of points count towards the 110,000 points needed to earn the Companion Pass each calendar year. Namely, Rapid Reward points earned when transferring in from their hotel partners such as Marriott, Hyatt, and more no longer counted towards the points needed for the Companion Pass as of 1/1/17, even if the transfer was initiated before the change but posted on or after that date. While January 1st is a logical date for such a change to kick-in, the no-notice style of the change, and especially the fact that some people had points caught mid-transfer, made this change seem especially un-friendly.

As I shared in yesterday’s post, I had hoped that they would at least make exceptions for those who initiated the transfer before the change was announced, but they have done even better than that. Southwest is now giving notice of the change and they will allow for transfers from hotel partners to count towards earning the 110,000 Companion Pass points needed through March 31, 2017!

Here is the official statement from their site:

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!

This is great news for those who need a boost to go ahead and earn a Companion Pass this year! You can now again do something like transfer 90,000 points from SPG to Marriott to have the 270,000 Marriott points needed to not only get 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points (more than the 110k needed for the pass), but also 7 nights in a Category 1-5 Marriott property.

 

Note that March 31, 2017 is a “hard deadline” so initiate your transfers well in advance of that date. Kudos to Southwest for ultimately giving a grace period before making such a big change!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Does you know if the 5 night travel package with Marriott still exists? And, if so, must you use the certificate within 12 months of getting it? I was planning to hold off going for the SW companion pass until 2018 (my husband has had it for 2016 and 2017) and also because we wanted to go to Hawaii in the summer of 2018 with our 3 kids. But since the SW companion pass loophole is going away in March, I was considering getting it for me now. But I really wanted the 5 night cert for Hawaii. You get the problem….So my 2 questions are:
    1. Can I still get the 5 night package?
    2. Can I extend the life of the 5 night hotel certificate?

    • Comments on other blogs are that the 5 nights is for Marriott Vacation Club Members only and is being strickly enforced.

      I’m certainly going to ask. Will post followup data point sometime this weekend.

      So your answers are:
      1. No
      2. N/A*

      *however there seems to be pretty good data showing the 7night packages will be extended upon request.

    • I don’t know about the 5-night cert but the “normal” 7-night cert I did call and ask about. They said that its good for a year and if you call 2 weeks before it expires they would extend it another year. So you could in theory get 2 years assuming they honor that. That was from a phone rep at Marriott. Didn’t get name as I don’t think it still makes sense for me (was hoping I could split the nights into a 4 night and 3 night stay but no luck) – so ymmv but that was at least what I was told by a marriott rep.

  2. No luck with the 5 night packages for me. Everything else I’ve read is the same. I made three different calls spread over the last two days. It’s pretty clear that the 5 nights loophole has been closed. Unless you’re a timeshare holder, you’re most likely not getting it. I guess I’ll just have to spend 7 nights in Hawaii, or Atlantis, or Aruba…damn!!!

    They were all cool with extending the package if I had problems using it within a year. They seem to understand availability can be lacking sometimes. Marriott was very easy to deal with.

    Good luck.

  3. How hard is it to book a 7 night certificate stay at Tier 4 or 5 when selecting the top tier plus miles for companion pass and is that smart
    I usually prefer to stay at nice hotel, so should I select Ritz tier 4-5 for 540,000 miles.

    thoughts or suggestions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *