Anyone who travels frequently knows by now that any offer from an airline that sounds too good to be true probably is. However, it looked for a long time as though the Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines was the golden ticket that was going to defy that rule. That all changed with the announcement that the airline would be making some alterations to make it a bit more difficult to obtain what many people consider the best perk in the airline world.
The good news is that you still have a window of time to get all your travel ducks in a row and qualify for what might be your last chance to take advantage of an extraordinary loophole.
What's The Buzz Surrounding The Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of those things that frequent travelers and industry insiders all speak about with gleams in their eyes. This pass is an extraordinary perk because it essentially allows qualifying members to bring along travel companions on flights for free. The policy regarding this coveted perk up until very recently was that members of the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program could earn the pass by traveling on Southwest flights or transferring points from hotel stays and car rentals.
However, the powers that be at Southwest recently decided that it was simply too easy for customers to earn such a valuable reward. Southwest is now viewing the policy of allowing members to use transfer points to earn a Companion Pass as an unfair loophole.
This is where the changes come in. Travelers are about to discover that earning a Companion Pass in 2017 won't be as easy as it has been in previous years.
A Loophole Gets Closed In 2017
Changes regarding how members of the Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program can qualify for the Companion Pass went into effect on the first day of 2017. Southwest announced that members can no longer qualify for the Companion Pass using points transfers. However, the story doesn't end there.
There was actually a huge outpouring of complaints from travel blogs, publications and the public following the change. Southwest then decided to alter its previous policy change in response to the backlash.
The airline decided to allow a temporary window for customers to continue to qualify for the Companion Pass using points transfer. Customers now have until March 31, 2017 to use converted points to obtain these passes. Southwest has made it very clear that the March deadline is permanent.
Will Changes To The Companion Pass Affect You?
Whether or not Southwest's announcement regarding changes to its Companion Pass program will affect you depends on how you typically accrue points. The good news is that customers seeking to gain the pass using traditional points earned through Southwest flights won't experience any changes. However, you might be in for a bitter surprise if you had planned to get a pass this year using transferred points.
What can you do to avoid the changes? Accruing as many traditional and transfer points as possible before the March deadline will ensure that you can take advantage of this loophole one last time before it becomes extinct for good. And of course, it doesn't hurt to be rewarded when you make your purchases with a credit card that helps you earn points and miles.