Southwest compensating passengers with 25K points each as a goodwill gesture (check your email!)


Southwest Airlines is compensating at least some passengers who caught caught up in the crazy Southwest Airlines meltdown over the holidays by sending out apology points. If you were scheduled to fly during that fiasco, check your email for the subject line “A message from Southwest CEO Bob Jordan”: I just received such an email and I’m seeing similar reports from readers in our Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group. It appears that Southwest is compensating passengers with codes for 25,000 Rapid Rewards points per passenger as a goodwill gesture, but the subject line doesn’t indicate that’s what’s inside, so I wanted to send out this alert for readers ASAP. This is on top of their efforts at reimbursements announced last week, not in place of it. That amounts to more than $300 worth of points per passenger and at least in my case it’s more than quadruple the original cost of my flight. I’m sure that this won’t be enough for everyone, but it is yet another step in the right direction.

Note that if you haven’t yet received the email, don’t panic. I saw reports coming in our Facebook group a little while before the email arrived in my inbox, so it seems the emails are going out on some sort of a rolling basis.

a man taking a selfie
Not quite the last row, but close.

As noted at the top, the subject line of the email Southwest is sending says “A message from Southwest CEO Bob Jordan”. I know that’s the kind of email I’ll usually skip over in my inbox — and truth be told, if I hadn’t seen Facebook group members posting about this, I probably would have skipped over that email too. I wanted to publish a quick post about this because rather than just credit your account with points, Southwest is providing codes that you must redeem to get the points.

Here’s the email in its entirety:

a screenshot of a emaila screenshot of a message

In my case, we had four passengers on a reservation that Southwest cancelled on 12/24, so I got 4 codes. One group member posted that they received 9 codes for 9 passengers on an itinerary and another posted that she received the codes for a flight that she proactively cancelled before Southwest cancelled it. That data point is interesting as I wouldn’t have expected to receive something if you proactively cancelled your flight.

As you can see in the details, it looks like you can deposit the points in anyone’s Rapid Rewards account, which makes the gesture as flexible as possible.

My initial reaction was that it was a shame to offer codes that customers need to redeem since passengers must take action to redeem the points — at first glance, this seems set up to intentionally cause breakage because some passengers won’t see the email or will delete it or just forget to redeem the codes. However, upon further consideration, I realize that not all passengers have or enter a Rapid Rewards number and some passengers may prefer to have all of the points in one account or another (I’d certainly rather have 100K points in one account than have 25K in each of my kids’ accounts since I have no reasonable way to top up their accounts for an award).

Note that the email is clear that this is a goodwill gesture and that reimbursement efforts are continuing (for more on how to submit for reimbursements, see: Southwest offering reimbursement for “reasonable” expenses). I do not expect that this will replace getting reimbursed for reasonable expenses as a result of the meltdown. Furthermore, I have read some reports of passengers having issues getting refunded for Southwest-cancelled travel. I did not proactively cancel our 12/24 flight and we did not receive an immediate refund of the points used to book, but I noticed that overnight last night Southwest refunded our points for our 12/24 flights. We had paid about 8,000 points per passenger, but my reservation was free as a companion, so that works out to an initial cost of about 6K points per passenger. They’ve already refunded that and now given us 25K points per passenger on top of the refund. If Southwest also reimburses me for gas and hotel to drive to my destination and back home, I’ll forgive them as much as one could since these points more than make me whole along with those reimbursements.

But I’m sure that those who were stranded in more extenuating circumstances probably still won’t be satisfied that Southwest has done enough. That’s certainly understandable and surely fair in many instances. That said, it certainly seems like Southwest is continuing to be proactive in making up for their missteps, so I’m hopeful that those who incurred far more expense will be made whole in the end. Like the extension to Companion Passes and the extra month to finish earning elite status, this is another step in the right direction. Hopefully they really start to hit their stride on reimbursements in short order and fix the issues that caused the meltdown in the first place.

Speaking of those reimbursements, I haven’t yet seen any update about when to expect them, but Southwest’s email confirming receipt of a submitted claim indicated that they were intending to respond within 10 days. That seemed to me like an ambitious turnaround time given the volume of requests they must have to process, but we’ll see when we reach the end of that window whether or not people have begun receiving reimbursements in addition to this goodwill gesture.

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John Rundlof

I received the email and read how my miles will never expire, but didn’t see after his signature that I needed to download said points. So I went to use today and was told coupon expired 3/31 but they have made concessions. I emailed per their request but curious if you have any info to add?


So I got the email with the 25000 points and now I can’t find it ……it just disappeared and I have called southwest to resend the email and have heard nothing ….anyone else have the email just disappear……I have searched every folder and trash …..

Lorry Krone

Nope, no email. Yes, I checked SPAM and ALL my folders. I did not get this email but my friend who DID NOT TRAVEL AT ALL during this time did get one. I can not tell you how ANNOYED I am by this process. If it s a true “goodwill gesture” just put the points in my RR account! Don’t make me get the email, find the code, do the hokey pokey, etc.


I got the email but when I tried to enter the rewards codes they say they are invalid. Help!

Deborah Hill

Looked in my Spam just now and no email. How long should I wait to receive one.


I changed my flight before it could be canceled to save on the anxiety of possibly being stranded and they still sent me the 25K points! This helped me with my next flight. I love SW and am sorry for those who had a horrible experience.

Lana Riley

Yep…got the email. Still don’t trust them and won’t fly Southwest again. They’ve got problems that need fixing before I’ll trust them again!

Brian G.

Can I get 25k points for the displaced WN pax that my boarded my AA flight and tried to steal my seat? 🙂 Based off the logic that 9C was my boarding group position not my seat on the airplane. Took two FAs to explain to her that she was incorrect.

Norman Trujillo

My daughter transferred her 25K reward points to me and they charged her $250.00

What the heck??


Transfer? Or used the reimbursement code?


Were you able to get the $250 back? We made the same mistake depositing into one acct and now can’t move them to each persons acct


Yeah they say goodwill but instead will treat this as your “compensation”. What we need are broader passenger rights bills passed that forces airlines to refund any money lost in connection with cancelled flights and makes it illegal to lock people in with credit or vouchers.


Like the EU does I got 5K points from AA could have been $600. Change the rules FM u Have the Power..ALOHA


Received mine and got the confirmation e-mail but got a second one in the middle of the night that it failed. Confirmed no typos and tried again, we’ll see.

For those who were taking advantage of the promotional companion pass, for which yesterday was the day where it became active, it was also a bit of a debacle designating a companion (the time it went live was pushed around a few times), followed by issues adding said companion to flights for a few hours thereafter.

All in all not the best day yesterday for Southwest IT.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joe

Mine failed too, but I called them and I stayed on the telephone and did it again, the next day I got my 25,000 point. So try it again.


Yeah, except that the four codes they sent me all failed. Got the confirmation email saying pending, then a few minutes later, four individual emails- one for each code- saying they had failed.

Marcy Frick

Are people still receiving the email. My husband received his points for 2 cancelled flights, but I haven’t received anything for my cancelled points. They were separate reservations.


I did a search in my email just now and found it was sent Tues. My code worked perfectly

Suzanne Richardson

What if one would prefer CASH instead of reward points because they will NEVER fly Southwest Airlines ever again?

Connie D

The are required by law to give you a cash refund. Fight for it!


The points can be redeemed for gift cards. That’s close to cash. ‍♀️

Suzanne Richardson

Good idea, thanks.


Every airline has had these issues one time or another. The previous time I flew southwest, that same day American was cancelling all theirs. Don’t swear them off I love them,,shit happens and SW can’t change the horrible weather. They did the best they could and are going above and beyond to make it right.


SWA has deficiencies in their crew and equipment scheduling processes and systems not experienced by other airlines. I wonder if they continue as the lower cost carrier whether they will pull the trigger to correct and replace the processes and systems.

Pure ROI may indicate not.

Connie D

By law airlines have to give you a cash refund!