I did a Travel Package on 1/2/17, already knowing that SWA had stopped allowing hotel points to count for the Companion Pass. The 120,000 points I sent to SWA hit my account today. When I opened my e-mail this morning my heart skipped a beat when I saw an e-mail from SWA stating "Congrats! You've earned Companion Pass". Apparently they have not updated the web site to reflect the policy change. Bummer.
Ouch, sorry for the bad news:
That's a bad mistake on their part to their loyal customers.
It's a Southwest Roller Coaster! You will get a Companion Pass after all. Southwest has changed their mind. Marriott points transferred by March 31, 2017 will now count!!
Wow, what a whirlwind the last few days have been for Southwest. I think this is the right move to do good by their customers, but now they just put exponentially more eyeballs on finding ways to game the systems by March. I can almost guarantee they will see many, many more people achieve Companion Pass in this first quarter than any prior first quarter.
I'm one of them. Thanks to the helpful information above and especially the link provided by vaboywnder , I have to check out an opportunity I have been completely oblivious to. This looks like a no brainer to anyone flying Southwest frequently.
curiousone, so this is exciting that they've closed a door and opened a window. I love to see good companies make the tough decisions to do right by their customers. Southwest could easily have stuck to their guns and just left the loophole closed. They didn't do easy. They realized that without providing some notice of their intent to make this change, they had hurt some folks caught in the gap. They reversed course to take care of those folks because they listened and because they care. That's rare folks! This is a company that thinks with its head and its heart. It shouldn't be that rare, but it is these days. Loyalty reciprocated - imagine that! Way to go Southwest!
what do you think about the value of this decision as regards customer loyalty? The b-school crowd is scratching their collective heads!
(that'll learn ya to zap me )
It appears to me that Southwest, often known for their strong customer relations (building significant brand equity) made an effective post hoc revision of a perceived uncharacteristically harsh policy decision.
Behavioral economics (which differs from economics in that it involves the effects of emotional and psychological factors in our buying decisions - i.e., we aren't always 'rational') teaches us that the majority of customers/clients (although as we've seen in this forum, there's always an exception to the rule) can disappointingly live with business decisions that don't go in the consumers favor, but resent corporate policy that they deem to be unfair.
As Charlie Dent and the boys learned, ineffective (or in their case stupid) decisions can be reversed, but often the damage has been done. In this case, it appears SW (who few can begrudge removing the richly rewarding companion pass) has probably reduced the damage, although still incurring an incremental cost to their high customer relations reputation (but most, except marketing nuts like yours truly, forgive and forget over time).
Our own folks at Marriott have faced similar issues and often just storm right through it, virtually giggling as they go, with the tremendous numbers they post, quarter after quarter. An example was the elimination of the Gift Card for 135k points benefit without any notice other than an ever so small print termination date at the bottom of a page that few, if any, ever read. More recently they then went on to do a similar sleight of hand communication with the previous MegaBonus, slipping in a non-retroactive registration date.
Perhaps, finally Marriott realized that for the insignificant benefit, they were incurring a disproportionate cost in customer attitude, and they went back to the program where all stays within the time period counted as long as you registered before the deadline. In doing scores of deals, one learns that often momentum is lost (if not deals) when sharpening the pencil comes at the expense of mandatory good faith.
We are seeing a similar reaction to the ending of the Shop My Way site - the beef isn't necessarily over the ending of the site (although certainly customers are disappointed), the beef is over the weaselly (a finance term ) way they hid the termination date and provided 'drop dead' notice.
And in closing, as I've written before; when I raise a stink, it's not over Marriott being a corporation and implementing policy, that's their prerogative (especially in a program where the very first rule is - "we can end this sucker anytime we want"), my beef is when they act like I'm wearing my stupid clothes and imply the change is doing me a favor.
Yet another completely outstanding post by our pal erc. While I do not fly Southwest (just something wrong with making an hour plus drive both ways), I will say they are a well run company and for the most part always have been. I still think Herb is pulling the strings from afar and if not the current team certainly learned well from him.
Oh, and for the record.....I did NOT put him up to "setting off the erc-o-meter". What can I say, he's a quick learner!!
Amen to your comments about both Herb K and erc. As a newcomer, I wondered who the "legendary erc" might be when TIPPLE plans were discussed, including whether he might reappear. So glad he did. The erc-o-meter should be left on permanently!
curiousone - I'm so glad you posted this and received the input from others, as I wasn't aware of the Southwest Companion Pass opportunity before. Since January I was able to get 60,000 SW Rapid Rewards bonus points with my new Chase business card and today I redeemed enough Marriott points for a 7 day travel package and 50,000 Southwest rapid rewards points, which takes me well over the 110,000 needed to obtain the Companion Pass. Best of all, consistent with what MRI contributors have reported, I have a year to book the 7 day stay, they will extend if I want them to, and I can choose a different tier by just redeeming the additional points needed. The Marriott Rewards rep told me the Rapid Rewards points will be posted within 3 business days, so the 3/31 deadline will be met. This truly is a no-brainer for someone flying Southwest a lot. The link provided above by vaboywnder is invaluable and very much appreciated as well.