Southwest Is Just Trolling Us Now

On Sunday we learned that Southwest is no better than the network carriers when they stealthily changed their program rules without advance warning.

I thought that move was dirty pool. Airlines make billions of dollars annually selling their miles to banks, hotels, and other partners. They owe it to consumers to give notice when they want to move the goal posts.

Some commenters felt I was wrong for telling people to write to Southwest executive and to complain to the DoT about Southwest’s change without warning here..
I don’t see what is wrong with asking the DoT their opinion on mileage program changes that are made without warning.

But now Southwest is just trolling us.

This morning they sent out an email to tons of former Companion Pass holders with the subject, “Congrats! You earned Companion Pass”
Lots of DDF members got this email, despite no longer having a companion pass:

southwest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get your hopes up. Southwest isn’t handing out Companion passes if you got the email and didn’t earn it:

Stay classy there Southwest.

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27 Responses to “Southwest Is Just Trolling Us Now”

  1. Neil Says:
    1

    They troll you when you log on to your Rapid Rewards account. When you log in there is a “Tier Status Pending” notification, even if you are nowhere near A List/Companion pass level.

    ReplyReply
  2. AsherO Says:
    2

    They made the decision too close the the new year, and didn’t have a chance to make the necessary changes to their IT systems. WN is notorious for their outdated IT systems compared to the other major carriers.

    ReplyReply
  3. Perpetually Perplexed Says:
    3

    Dan, I transferred Marriott points to southwest on the second of this year and the points posted today. I then received the email you referenced above but in my account the status does not show. Anyway to fight this one?

    ReplyReply
  4. Common sense Says:
    4

    No need to whine. Southwest can do whatever they want in regards to their program and if they accidentally sent an email that you were receiving something you didn’t earn, you can’t then get mad when theyou fix the error as you didn’t earn it in the first place.

    ReplyReply
  5. dan1 Says:
    5

    yep, it was very unsportsmanlike on WN; even if they announced in late Dec, customers would have got CP only til 12/31/17 or only 1 yr

    ReplyReply
  6. Cappy Says:
    6

    @Common sense: Actually, they cannot do whatever they want with their program.

    The mistake email though would not legally be considered false advertising.

    ReplyReply
  7. montreid Says:
    7

    WN can change EARNING rules of the program as long as doesn’t violate the agreement with said parties. From the sounds of it since Marriott isn’t complaining, it wasn’t in the agreement–hence the ‘loophole’. Much like the ‘unpublished’ benefit of Continental awards moved to United and then closed off.

    If it’s not published and advertised benefit or not in contract agreement, it’s open to WN’s own actions without prior notice needed.

    D*** move? sure. Illegal? Nope.

    ReplyReply
  8. Dan Says:
    8

    I don’t think anyone is saying it was illegal.

    I think it’s deceptive to change major terms without warning and I’m curious to know what the DoT has to say about it.

    ReplyReply
  9. Doubtful Says:
    9

    The clout you had with google drive was a one-time thing. Don’t now expect us all to follow along with every whim you have.

    ReplyReply
  10. Dan Says:
    10

    I’m not doing this for clout.
    I’m doing this to express what I think is right.
    It is my blog last time I checked…

    ReplyReply
  11. Andy Says:
    11

    I have to disagree with you on this one Dan. When a company finds out they are losing money on a service, you cannot expect them to continue that service. As a shareholder I’m glad to cut our losses. This is also another reminder of the danger of hoarding airline miles and points.

    ReplyReply
  12. Dan Says:
    12

    @Andy:
    Of course they should be entitled to cut it.
    But I still maintain that it’s deceptive to not provide advanced warning.

    What if they feel that points should only be worth half as much tomorrow. Should they be allowed to do that without advance notice?

    Why should consumers not ask the DoT their opinion of unannounced changes?

    ReplyReply
  13. jak Says:
    13

    kudos to you dan!
    the power of the people is a fantastic thing, and thank you for being one for us to rally behind.
    whether right or wrong, as customers we have a right to express our feelings and opinions, and if a company chooses to ignore it-thats their roght. in turn, we get to decide our allegiance to a company that doesnt believe in the rightness of the customer.
    you rok!
    keep it up

    ReplyReply
  14. Dan Says:
    14

    @jak:
    Crazy how many people believe we should be good little sheep and not speak up when we feel wronged.

    ReplyReply
  15. Josh Says:
    15

    Wife and I closed our southwest rapid rewards cc’s after this nonsense. Holders since 2014. We were not trying for companion pass but when a company shows no concern for its customers and members, it loses our business. We will no longer fly southwest.

    FYI- The best way to show southwest, that its decision was unethical (not illegal) is with your wallet!!!

    ReplyReply
  16. Neil Says:
    16

    I’m wondering if an AG or two would want to look into whether its a deceptive trade practice to do this after people spent the year earning points towards a goal which has now been eliminated/curtailed.

    Maybe even worth a call to a class action lawyer.

    ReplyReply
  17. jeff Says:
    17

    got the email and called in
    the rep was very confused
    Thought it was just a mistake
    would be very unhappy to learn it was purposeful
    Lef me know if you hear anything via wikileaks Dan

    ReplyReply
  18. Kbzsk Says:
    18

    Yep, got the email, too. I got excited! Oh well.

    About your blog…you absolutely made the right call. That’s freedom of speech last time I checked. Great job, as always, Dan.

    ReplyReply
  19. Doug Says:
    19

    @Neil: That’s not what happened here… the change went into effect 1/1/2017.

    If you “spent the year earning points…” you needed to do it during the calendar year anyway, and if you would have reached your goal you’d have received your pass. That resets 1/1 every year though, so that is actually the MOST FAIR time for SW to change things.

    Sure, it would’ve been nice of them to say a few months ago that they were going to do this on 1/1/2017, but I guess they really did want to hose people who were waiting to get a 2 year comp pass (like I planned on doing).

    Either way, SW didn’t do anything wrong here. I don’t like it either, but I took a gamble waiting for 1/1/2017 to try to milk 2 years out of them and I lost. I accept that.

    ReplyReply
  20. Firm Docc Says:
    20

    These things happen. You should have done what I did and get CP in late 2016. Sure it’s only good for 1 year but at least I got it. Now that I have it I’m glad they shut it down.

    ReplyReply
  21. JaK Says:
    21

    Fully agree with Dan. I also received the two emails today. I was A-List and had CP until 12/31 Southwest has every right to modify the rules, but to do so with no notice, especially when their program encouraged people to seek CP on or after January 1, is a terrible abuse of power on their part. SW is no longer a “low-cost” airline, their service is not great, the once friendly and fun agents are now more like employees of the legacy airlines, and SW management clearly doesn’t appreciate their loyal customers. I have a good number of SW miles, I will use those, and only fly SW when their pricing makes it the best option, which I suspect won’t be very often.

    ReplyReply
  22. chaz Says:
    22

    yes andy and i bought ten dollars worth of shares last month! we feel like were running the company. oh how good it feels to be rich! sorry folks as “share holders” we have the final say.

    ReplyReply
  23. Stick with the good deals Says:
    23

    Quit complaining Dan and focus on getting us good deals… SW was totally within their rights here. Bogus complaints/whining to the DOT don’t do us any good; lets wait for the real deals that are taken away before complaining to the DOT

    ReplyReply
  24. Eliyahu Says:
    24

    @chaz: If you own a mutual fund, you are probably a Southwest shareholder.

    If you have a 401(k), you are probably a Southwest shareholder.

    If you have life insurance, you are probably a Southwest shareholder.

    If you are a beneficiary of a pension fund, you are probably a Southwest shareholder.

    ReplyReply
  25. sam Says:
    25

    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!

    ReplyReply
  26. Juda Says:
    26

    Southwest just reversed their policy. Allowing transfer from hotel to be considered towards companion until March 31, 2017!!!!

    ReplyReply
  27. Anonymous Says:
    27

    @Dan: I’m not saying it’s good from a publicity standpoint. However you need to always remember that the airlines own the Miles, not you. They can set the value to whatever they want. It’s usually less not more. And no they are not required to give notice. This has all been clearly spelled out in the terms and conditions. I just wish you would also use this as a teaching example to others about the possible dangers of hoarding miles and points.

    ReplyReply

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