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Earlier this year, Southwest decided to kick off the new year with a very unfortunate change. A loophole that previously allowed customers to transfer points from hotel and car rental programs in order to earn the incredibly valuable Companion Pass was immediately closed.
While this move wasn’t terribly surprising, especially given an incredible opportunity that appeared following the Marriott-Starwood merger, allowing SPG members to obtain the Companion Pass for nearly two years — plus seven nights in a Marriott hotel — for just 90,000 Starpoints, many members were disappointed that Southwest didn’t provide any notice before making the change.
Now, much to our surprise, the airline has temporarily reversed this decision! A Southwest representative just reached out to share some very exciting news: Hotel transfers will once again be eligible for Companion Pass qualification, but only through March 31, 2017.
Here’s the full statement from Southwest:
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!
Given the news, this phenomenal 90,000 Starpoints redemption is once again available — as are the following hotel transfer options:
- Best Western: 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards points (~4.2:1)
- Carlson Rezidor: 2,000 Club Carlson points = 200 Rapid Rewards points (10:1); 50,000 Club Carlson points = 5,000 Rapid Rewards points (10:1); 100,000 Club Carlson points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards points (10:1)
- Choice Hotels: 6,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,800 Rapid Rewards points (~2.8:1)
- Hyatt: 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points = 2,400 Rapid Rewards points (~2.1:1). Ratio remains constant as you convert in increments of 1,250 Hyatt points to 600 Southwest points. Any transfers of 50,000 points or more will earn you a bonus of 6,000 Rapid Rewards points (so transferring 50,000 Hyatt points = 30,000 Southwest points, a ratio of ~1.7:1)
- La Quinta: 6,000 La Quinta Returns points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards points (5:1)
- Marriott: See full details here.
If you’ve been thinking about earning the Companion Pass, now’s the time to do it! Once you have 110,000 qualifying points in your account, you’ll have the companion pass for the rest of this year, plus all of 2018. That’s an absolutely insane deal! You’ll also be able to qualify via spend on the airline’s co-branded cards, including the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.
Will you be transferring points to earn the Companion Pass?
Know before you go.
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