Today we learn of news of Southwest’s changes to the Southwest Companion Pass, and how the needed 110,000 Rapid Rewards points are calculated, or rather, what points count, and what points do not count. I can’t say that this surprises me. While many would like to blame Bloggers for killing the deal, I would rather ask the question of Corporate Responsibility.
Lets accept the fact that many bloggers blogged about the Southwest Companion Pass and the different ways you can get it. I won’t even bother to link to such posts because they were a dime a dozen. It was a great deal, it really was. But lets look at the others side:
Ok, so, lets think like a Southwest Rapid Rewards program executive. I’m seeing tons of different posts about how people can get the Southwest Companion Pass without flying my airline. I need to put a stop to this!
I’m thinking that if such an executive were to believe this, that they would’ve made either (1) a no-notice change, or (2) an announcement now and change to come, right?
No, instead, they choose to make the changes at the start of the new year. While this is probably logical, in that, it doesn’t hurt Southwest by leaving the door open until 1 January, it probably hurt others.
Lets look at a few data points:
I did a single search and here’s what I got:
Ok, that’s not necessarily the point I was getting at, but, let me play things out further.
For example, Deals We Like blogged about how you can buy Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points at 50% off, and then transfer them to Marriott (getting 3 Marriott Rewards Points per 1 SPG point), and then get a Marriott Points and Hotel Vacation package, including getting 100,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
And Deals we Like is not the only one who blogged about it! Many discussed the idea of buying points specifically for the purposes of getting the Southwest Companion Pass.
Getting to Corporate Responsibility
What I’m getting at is the fact that anyone at Southwest that saw how much press their Companion Pass was getting, would similarly see the different ways that one could accrue sufficient points to get that Companion Pass. It seems to me that it is very irresponsible of Southwest to make a change on 1 January, when in fact many people would have already made significant purchases in order to have sufficient points for the new year.
So while we many will argue that Bloggers kill deals. But, on that logic, if the airlines and hotel companies are reading these blogs, then shouldn’t they be responsible too? Sure, kill a deal. But have some Corporate Responsibility. Don’t leave a deal out there until just before everyone wants to jump on it. Southwest likely didn’t gain anything by waiting. SPG-Marriott probably got a ton. Chase maybe even some, but Southwest, the primary offender in this case, got nothing. Whereas, they could’ve probably saved many people some angst by announcing significantly earlier.
What do you think? Should Southwest get some of the blame here?