Southwest Companion Pass Criteria is Not Accurate

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Mar 8, 2016
I thought I had earned a Companion Pass with Southwest Airlines by earning more than 110,000 credit card points during calendar year 2015. My wife and I were excited because we have a new graddaughter on the east coast and we live on the west coast. Not so according to Southwest because the last 3,000+ points were not posted to Southwest by Chase until after the close of the "December" billing cycle on January 2, 2016.

Your spouse, your best friend, or maybe your mother. Whomever you choose, your Companion can fly with you when you have Companion Pass status. Simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Qualifying Points in one calendar year.

The above descripotion was taken directly from the Southwest website. There is no asterick or other information to prompt the reader to look further. With more research, the actual rule in the "Terms and Conditions" is that the accounting of the points is based on billing cycle. In this instance, the end of my billing cycle is the 2nd of the month- almost the worst possible scenario. I made several purchases after Dec 2nd but well before the end of the calendar year. Those points put me well over the 110,000 point threshold.

The most frustrating part is that I called Soutwest TWICE and specifically asked if purchases made in 2015 would be counted in 2015. Both times I was told yes (apparently they read the same thing I did) so I did nothing further. After finding out in January that I was 3,000 points short, I emailed Southwest three times with my complaint.

Eventually, I talked to a representative, Fernando Lopez. He understood my frustration but could "do nothing" but apologize and state that he would point out to management that the calendar year criteria is not accurate and should be revised to be more clear.

I argued that the specific wording used in their website and on their advertisements is NEVER actually the criteria that is used because of the billing cycle stipulation. No credit card has a billling cycle passed the 28th for obvious reasons (I checked with Chase). Therefore, the calendar year is never actually used. As a absolute minimum, the last three days of December are never included. If you have a very late billing cycle it will be close, but in my case, it was calendar year less the last 29 days of December, a very significant difference.

I can easily prove that I earned 110,000 points in calendar year 2015. That is not the real criteria according to Southwest even though that is exactly what is says, until you take the time to read the fine print. I didn't a take the time to read the fine print until it was too late. Shame on me.

I did however, call twice and got confirmation that the calendar year was indeed the criteria and that their accounting process would use purchase dates to confirm when the points were earned.

The other way to qualify for a Companion Pass is to complete 100 qualifying flights. What if someone completes the 100th flight on December 31? The accounting of that flight may not be competed until early 2016. Would that invalid the 100th flight? If so, then the calendar year is completely bogus. If not, the calendar year is applied different for those two methods to qualify. That should be stated at the website and on the adverisements, not in the fine print.
Mar 17, 2015
Creek, I think you should write to the company executives from the link provided above. If the wording states calendar year and no other language is available for the terms and conditions (is it anywhere in anything?) then they are bound by the language they used. Write and keep your e-mail a bit shorter. You earned over 110k miles through CC spending in 2015, believing that a Calendar year meant Jan 1, XXXX to December 31, XXXX, not for billing periods ending in 2015. These are two separate things and time frames. Be polite, be succinct, and hopefully an exec at Southwest will make this correct.

At the very least, southwest or the CC owes you the language and where that was disclosed to you so that you would have been put on notice.

Congrats on the new addition to the family!
Likes: AngelS
Dec 12, 2014
Hopefully appealing to the Southwest contacts will help, however, slightly in their defense, the points transferred by Chase always occur on or around the credit card statement date and are not separated by when the spend occurred. It is very possible that your Jan 2015 points included quite a few Dec 2014 charged dollars and I imagine in the long run is a wash.

I know they have made exceptions in the past regarding companion pass for fliers close to the threshold, so hopefully your appeal will work

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
I did find this about the credit card and it specifies billing cycle (see below) and states not available until posted on your statement AND Rapid Rewards account, so not sure why you didn't see this in the T&C.

State facts only, take out the "we won't fly Aa again".Write to customer service and make your letter clear and concise with facts only. Use bullet points for the facts if you can.
If you know your billing cycle ends on the second of the month,you really needed to ensure qualifying purchases were posted by the cycle that ended on Dec. 2.

And the point made by rbrunson that you may have points credited towards the 2015 years cycle that were actually earned in Dec. of 2014. It kind of washes out in the end.

I do think you should write to th Company Contacts for SW on top of our pages.

From now on stop calling and write to the customer service address we show.

Wait a week for a response. If you don't hear from them or their response isn't acceptable, write to the first executive. Wait a week and if you still aren't satisfied, write to the next, wait a week, etc.

You might also call Chase and ask them to
adjust your close out date on your statement to the end of the month. Many credit cards will do a one time statement cutoff change.

Let us know what happens from your writing.

Companion Pass

A Member who earns 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points through Rapid Rewards Partners or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for a Companion Pass. “Companion Pass Qualifying Points” are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. Points purchased for personal use or as a gift, transferred points, points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and Partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points. Points earned during a billing cycle on a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase are not available for redemption or qualification for Companion Pass status until they are posted on your billing statement and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account. Only points posted on your billing statements and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account during the same calendar year are available for qualification for Companion Pass status. No points or Companion Pass Qualifying Points will awarded for flights taken by the Companion using the Companion Pass.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
I also found this in Chase site about the billing statement which pretty much corresponds to my previous statement about cutoff of you December statement, which you state would have been Dec.2.

Net Purchases. (“Year” means, for your first year as a cardmember, the period beginning with your Enrollment Date through your billing cycle with a December closing date of that same year. For each year thereafter, “Year” means the twelve billing cycle period beginning the day after your billing cycle with a December closing date through your billing cycle with a ñ year.) See Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Credit Card Program Rules and Regulations, which will be mailed after your account is established.
Likes: Realitoes