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Looks like the first sad news of the year just hit! According to this flyertalk forum, effective today Southwest no longer counts hotel points transfer as qualification for its very popular Companion Pass!  

Companion Pass is a popular Southwest Airline benefit that lets you choose one person to fly free with you every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. To qualify, you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Qualifying Points in a calendar year.  Companion Pass is good for the remainder of the year in which you earned it and the following full calendar year,  So if you qualify in January, you technically have two full years to use it!

[SEE ALSO: What is Southwest Companion Pass and how to get it.]

For years, you could transfer hotel points to Southwest and the points would count towards qualification for the Companion Pass.  But effective today, hotel points transferred will no longer count! The new policy is already reflected on Southwest’s website:

Southwest Companion Pass Earning

While points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards never counted towards the 110,000 points requirement, now points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs are also specifically excluded! This means, Chase transfer to Hyatt, as well as Marriott Travel Packages, no longer works for Companion Pass.

This is a huge blow to many Southwest flyers who have been loyal to Southwest because of the Companion Pass, and to those who loaded up SPG points just last month under the 50% discount promotion. While it is surprising that this trick lasted for so long, it is extremely bad public relations for Southwest to change this policy without any advance notice.  I know that many people had been transferring SPG points to Marriott or stockpiling Marriott or Hyatt points in order to transfer to Southwest in January, since that would give an extra year to have the Companion Pass (companion passes earned in Jan 2017 would be good through the end of 2018).

My family doesn’t usually fly Southwest so this news doesn’t affect us. But I imagine many out there are very upset about this zero-notice policy change! Are you one of them?

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