Southwest Airlines Offers 25K Points As “Gesture Of Goodwill”

Southwest Airlines Offers 25K Points As “Gesture Of Goodwill”

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As the whole world knows by now, Southwest Airlines had a meltdown of epic proportions over the holidays. While the airline will have to reimburse customers for expenses related to this, Southwest is now also offering a proactive “gesture of goodwill.”

Southwest offers Rapid Rewards points as compensation

Southwest Airlines is offering 25,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points as a “gesture of goodwill” to those who were impacted by the recent operational meltdown. Specifically, this is being offered to those who had their flights canceled or delayed by more than three hours between December 24, 2022, and January 2, 2023.

The way the airline is going about it isn’t necessarily what you’d expect, though. The airline isn’t simply depositing points in the accounts of eligible Rapid Rewards members, but rather is emailing travelers with promotion codes that they can redeem for the points.

The email is signed by CEO Bob Jordan, and in part states the following:

“I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience. For those who have requested refunds, reimbursements and/or are waiting to be reunited with lost bag(s), those processes are being handled with great urgency and we appreciate your patience. Additionally, please accept this gesture of good will of 25,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points.”

The way this works, these emails contain customized codes that can be redeemed on points.com for 25,000 Rapid Rewards points. Interestingly these seem to be transferable, so if you were traveling as a group, you could have all your points deposited in one account. The codes must be redeemed by March 31, 2023, and will post within 72 hours of making the request.

The website to redeem these vouchers has been so popular that there have even been virtual queues to redeem these vouchers. That should give you a sense of just how many people have been impacted by this mess.

Southwest is offering 25K points compensation

How much are Rapid Rewards points worth?

So, how much are those 25,000 Rapid Rewards points worth? Rapid Rewards is a revenue based frequent flyer program, and it takes around 83 points to redeem for one dollar of airfare. In other words, 25,000 Rapid Rewards points could get you roughly $300 worth of airfare on Southwest.

That’s a pretty significant gesture of goodwill, when you consider that this is in addition to being reimbursed for all necessary expenses. Some passengers will get a full refund for their flight, a full reimbursement for whatever they ended up booking, and 25,000 points. While no one would want to go through this mess, that’s not half bad.

I can’t help but wonder just how many of these vouchers were sent out. It’s believed that over one million passengers were impacted by this mess, so if that’s accurate, that means voucher codes for 25 billion Rapid Rewards points were potentially sent out, and those points are worth around $300 million in airfare.

Now, I imagine not everyone will request these points, and even among those that do, many won’t get around to redeeming the points for flights. There’s always breakage with stuff like this. However, the moral of the story is that this meltdown is going to be extremely costly for Southwest, especially as this is only one small aspect of what Southwest is on the hook for.

This is a pretty solid offer, in my opinion

Bottom line

Southwest is trying to recover and repair its image following the operational meltdown it suffered in the past couple of weeks. As part of this, the airline is offering 25,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points to those who had significantly delayed or canceled flights. That’s worth around $300 in airfare on Southwest, and is in addition to any other reimbursements.

I’d say that’s a pretty solid proactive offer, especially when you consider how many people will be getting this. I can’t help but wonder when the next Rapid Rewards devaluation will be.

What do you make of this compensation from Southwest?

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  1. Toni LOHMAN Guest

    What if I deleted my rewards codes? How do I get new ones.

  2. Pam Guest

    My flights were canceled and still waiting for the goodwill funds.

  3. Jaime Zindler Guest

    I keep getting a "failed to validate claim" message when I try to download the points. No one on Southwest seems to be able to help me figure this out. Anyone else have this issue? Suggestions?

    1. Hello Guest

      I have had the same issue! The codes were supposed to be customized to a specific Rapid Rewards account (so they couldn’t be stolen, I assume), but mine doesn’t work.

  4. Cindy Guest

    We didn’t get the letter from the CEO
    Any way to request it?

  5. Mike R Guest

    Does anyone know if Southwest is giving the 25,000 point bonus to "companions" whose reservations under the Companion Pass program were canceled?

  6. William Bigham Guest

    Regardless of hard feelings and travel disruptions this gesture may keep me as a Southwest Customer. Time will tell. The Good Will is expected and Southwest is walking their talk!

    1. Cross Guest

      did you actually receive your "good will" 25K? seems to be a lot of hoops. SWA should just put into RR accounts without hassles.

  7. Chris S Guest

    Has anyone heard if these points would count toward earning a companion pass? My wife and I each got 25k codes and I'm wondering if I should apply both to one account (and then apply for an 80k business account) to get us there more easily?

    Do they count toward a companion pass?

    1. John M Guest

      That’s a very good question. I called SWA and these miles do not count toward any reward levels such as Companion Pass or A-List

    2. Chris S Guest

      Great to know, thanks!

  8. Ben Guest

    This is a clever hack around US accounting. The way that US accounting works is airlines book a liability for every issued point out there. For example, if I have 100 Rapid Rewards Point in my account, Southwest's accounting will show they have $1 less in revenue (in general, airlines book 1 point as being worth 1 cent for accounting purposes). However, with a deal like this where folks have to _claim_ their points, the...

    This is a clever hack around US accounting. The way that US accounting works is airlines book a liability for every issued point out there. For example, if I have 100 Rapid Rewards Point in my account, Southwest's accounting will show they have $1 less in revenue (in general, airlines book 1 point as being worth 1 cent for accounting purposes). However, with a deal like this where folks have to _claim_ their points, the airline only has to show less revenue for points that are actually redeemed via code.

    For those wondering, airlines will generally have a heuristic they use for when to no longer count a point as a liability. For example, if an account hasn't been active for x years, Your Favorite Airline can be reasonably confident the points in there will never be redeemed (x varies from airline to airline). This is also why it's preferable for companies to have points that expire: a point that doesn't exist will definitely never be redeemed and ruin an accountant's spreadsheet!

  9. iamhere Guest

    I personally don't think that is enough points, but they are a low cost carrier. It also depends on the level of inconvenience.

  10. DR Guest

    Pennies. I was canceled Dec 23rd out of la guardia and rebooked to Monday the 26th, canceled on Monday no notice. Curbside checking informed us. Three hours on the phone that night, only flight out of Pittsburgh, rented car drove there canceled no car rental beyond that at the airport, thank God for Turo. My 11 yr old had Christmas on New Years eve and I had to pay $3400 to fly AA not even...

    Pennies. I was canceled Dec 23rd out of la guardia and rebooked to Monday the 26th, canceled on Monday no notice. Curbside checking informed us. Three hours on the phone that night, only flight out of Pittsburgh, rented car drove there canceled no car rental beyond that at the airport, thank God for Turo. My 11 yr old had Christmas on New Years eve and I had to pay $3400 to fly AA not even direct. Incurred over 6k in expenses and damn near had a coronary. Pathetic. If I don’t get reimbursed fully will sue along with everyone else.

  11. mark Guest

    @Adam I received points for the same situation as yours, but when I claimed them at the website I got an initial email indicating the points were being transferred and then a later email saying the offer was rescinded. Ticks me off that they got my hopes up. Now my existing points will be devalued by this giveaway, and I won't receive any points to offset the devaluation. There will now be thousands more people grabbing up the cheaper rewards seats.

  12. Adam Guest

    I had flights booked on Dec 30 and Jan 1. I canceled both on Dec 29. Both ended up being on time. I still got a refund and the 25k voucher. Interesting.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And that shows exactly how incompetent Southwest systems are.

      Bob Jordan's leadership is failing shareholders.

  13. Tim Guest

    Will these count towards companion pass?

    1. Gary Guest

      No, they do not. I redeemed a code and it was added to my point total but not my companion pass point total.

  14. George N Romey Guest

    Two things:
    1. Airlines are credit card mills and the point is to get applications for their co=branded credit cards
    2. Airlines, including Southwest, know that they can continue to fill planes with cheap fares making the difference up in cost cutting and retail partner income and selling FF miles.

    Hence, this cycle will continue to repeat on multiple airlines.

  15. Eskimo Guest

    The board really needs to fire Bob Jordan ASAP.

    He might be good in the operations, he is destroying value under his (lack of) leadership.

    The biggest meltdown in aviation history and he still thinks people wants their meltdown currency?
    This is way beyond operations or finance. It's salvaging the airline reputation.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      So Mr. CEO pisses the current loyal customers, won't make the meltdown passengers whole, rubs it in the face with points (and inflation), only to scares off future passengers with no improvements.
      You effectively did nothing to make things right for your customers except to make it worse.
      Leadership really wanna get away Plus.

      Just to make it clear. Dumping the market with points will also likely lead to devaluation like everyone predicted,...

      So Mr. CEO pisses the current loyal customers, won't make the meltdown passengers whole, rubs it in the face with points (and inflation), only to scares off future passengers with no improvements.
      You effectively did nothing to make things right for your customers except to make it worse.
      Leadership really wanna get away Plus.

      Just to make it clear. Dumping the market with points will also likely lead to devaluation like everyone predicted, which means Bob Jordan is taking a cheap exit to compensate the meltdown at the expense of people who are loyal to the airline and have points before the meltdown.

      Ever consider using what ever "goodwill" they have left and invest to improve and prevent future meltdowns like this? The past week, the only news I hear is cleaning up the puddle, never once I hear about actually fixing the leak.

  16. TProphet Guest

    Devaluation coming in 3....2....

  17. Adele Guest

    I had a booking on Southwest on the tail end of the affected period. My flight was not delayed at all, in fact it departed 2 minutes early. Received the 25k points nonetheless. No sure what logic they use to issue these, but I’ll take it. I suppose that’s for my mental struggle checking the status compulsively leading up to the departure date.

    Good luck to those who actually had their travel messed up and are waiting for reimbursements.

  18. Cat Guest

    I got nothing. After having to rent a car and drive 2K miles to get home, I got no cade, no reimbursement (yes, i submitted receipts), they haven't given me didley squat!

  19. John Hierbaum Guest

    My flight was cancelled on December 26th. I had to drive 1,300 miles home. I have not received any email regarding the 25,000 miles.
    I did receive an email saying that they are refunding me for my cancelled flight. But no extra 25,000 miles.
    Is there a way to get in touch with SW to get these miles?

  20. Jim Guest

    I was impacted had 2 flights cancelled, delayed by over 12 hours and since we made it home and I never received an email. There appears to be no way to request the miles since the flight we eventually got rebooked on was only 2.5 hours late leaving. Seems like it is a crappy solution not geared towards everyone.

  21. Super Gold

    Lucky - quick correction on your math. If 1M passengers get 25k points that = 25B points, not 250B :)

    Also, I wonder if redeeming points on flights for SouthWest is about to be useless because of such a substantial amount of people now having enough points to redeem for a flight at the same time.

    1. Adele Guest

      Considering the points values are pretty much fixed on Southwest, and just tied to the cash price of the ticket, I don’t see this being a problem - unless WN goes out and devalues the points, as they have done in the past a few times.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Adele

      You are missing the point. Just like the last TP, hand sanitizer, N95 famine.
      Your Dollars still hold value, but goods are nowhere to be found at normal prices.

      With airline dynamic pricing tied to points, cheap fares will be bought out by many of these 25B points.

    3. Super Gold

      @eskimo got it right. Saver level availability might be wiped out.

    4. Polar Bear Guest

      @Eskimo

      When you can’t find goods at normal prices, that means your dollars have not held value at all…

    5. Eskimo Guest

      @Polar Bear

      When you don't understand simple concepts like this, maybe you deserve to get ripped off.

      While you can't buy TP or hand sanitizers and normal prices.

      My 'LOL' Dollars that "have not held value at all" was able to buy gas cheaper, travel cheaper, gym membership cheaper, clothing cheaper, and $28 is more than enough for TacoBell.
      That is of course before Sleepy Brandon decides to start of proxy war.
      Now that made my Dollars hold less value.

  22. Ryan Guest

    Codes are actually redeemed through a custom link to points.com. On the points.com you have to put in a name and a RR Account ##, so they are absolutely transferable.

  23. AH Guest

    I'm still waiting to hear back on my flight cancellations. No one has even reached out to rebook us. Have submitted my expenses but no word yet and to top it no response on twitter for over a week now. I bet they're using some shitty technology to reach out to certain folks and not everyone impacted.

    1. Trup Guest

      Same here. Some of my flights they cancelled but they never cancelled my reservation and my reservation would show my flight as on time...

  24. Trup Guest

    I had 3 different flights cancelled for 4 passengers each. 2 flights got reimbursed automatically, but one flight did not and i have a request in, as well as a request in for $800 in lodging and rental car fees.
    So far i have received 2 $100 vouchers but no points. will see how long it all takes.

  25. Robert Guest

    I luckily wasn't part of the people who missed out on their Christmas holiday. But I have to say that I'm pretty upset with this gesture of goodwill. I've had travel disruptions in the past with Southwest, the most recent one just 3 weeks ago. When I complained, and even asked for some sort of goodwill offering to compensate for the problems, just to be told that 'We don't do that'. Yet here they are...

    I luckily wasn't part of the people who missed out on their Christmas holiday. But I have to say that I'm pretty upset with this gesture of goodwill. I've had travel disruptions in the past with Southwest, the most recent one just 3 weeks ago. When I complained, and even asked for some sort of goodwill offering to compensate for the problems, just to be told that 'We don't do that'. Yet here they are doing it. Thanks for only taking care of your customers when you've affected this many but not before, you're really earning loyalty.

  26. Mark F Guest

    ‘There is a virtual queue to redeem vouchers’ is the most Southwest thing I’ve read.

    1. bobo Guest

      Southwest is STILL making thoughtless human decisions as of today. This morning they sent an email blast to qualifiers for last fall's companion pass promotion, as promised for January 4th, saying to go online now and select your companion. When I couldn't, and called, after 2 hours on hold it was "oh that is not live until this afternoon."

      So ... just don't send the email early. Or say it will be live later today....

      Southwest is STILL making thoughtless human decisions as of today. This morning they sent an email blast to qualifiers for last fall's companion pass promotion, as promised for January 4th, saying to go online now and select your companion. When I couldn't, and called, after 2 hours on hold it was "oh that is not live until this afternoon."

      So ... just don't send the email early. Or say it will be live later today. Yes, a small thing, but it is not just software that is out of whack at Southwest.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Eskimo Guest

The board really needs to fire Bob Jordan ASAP. He might be good in the operations, he is destroying value under his (lack of) leadership. The biggest meltdown in aviation history and he still thinks people wants their meltdown currency? This is way beyond operations or finance. It's salvaging the airline reputation.

1
Eskimo Guest

@Adele You are missing the point. Just like the last TP, hand sanitizer, N95 famine. Your Dollars still hold value, but goods are nowhere to be found at normal prices. With airline dynamic pricing tied to points, cheap fares will be bought out by many of these 25B points.

1
Cross Guest

did you actually receive your "good will" 25K? seems to be a lot of hoops. SWA should just put into RR accounts without hassles.

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