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Southwest Doles Out 25K Bonus Points in Apology for Disruptions

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Caught up in Southwest's meltdown last week? You might want to check your inbox for an apology from the airline's CEO – plus, a healthy stash of bonus Rapids Rewards points.

Southwest began emailing customers on Tuesday afternoon, offering 25,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points apiece in a message from CEO Bob Jordan. Since the value of Southwest points are firmly tied to the cash price of a flight, those points are worth $300. Southwest points never expire.

That's far from the mountain of lost baggage, refunds, and reimbursements for additional expenses that hundreds of thousands of Americans are waiting for after Southwest canceled more than 12,000 flights last week, but Southwest says they're working diligently on that. This proactive points bonus is separate – Southwest's way of apologizing in hopes of restoring trust in the airline.

“Our purpose has always been to connect our customers to what's important in their lives. And this holiday season, as you made plans with us to do just that, we fell short. For that, please accept my personal apology,” CEO Bob Jordan wrote in the email to customers.

southwest email apology 

Jordan said the airline is working “with great urgency” to process requests for refunds, reimbursement, and lost bags. But he said the airline is offering 25,000 Rapid Rewards points “as a gesture of goodwill.”

A Southwest spokesperson confirmed the airline was proactively offering bonus points to any customer scheduled to fly between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2 whose flight was canceled or delayed by more than three hours. Those 25,000 bonus points are available for each paid customer.

Those points won't hit your account automatically. Instead, the email contains a prompt to claim the 25,000 bonus points. Readers reported the system was clearly strained by demand Tuesday afternoon as travelers tried to claim their free points.

The winter storm that swept across the country just before Christmas bent other airlines, but it broke Southwest. It hammered some of the airline's biggest airports, straining its point-to-point flying network, and rendering its crew scheduling platform useless. From last Sunday through Friday, Southwest canceled more than 12,000 flights – nearly double what United and Delta canceled combined in the entirety of 2019, according to Bureau of Transportation Statistics data.

“Southwest experienced a unique combination of events that started with severe weather at our busiest airports and transitioned into other operational challenges that stretched our people, processes, tools, and technology,” Jordan wrote.

After two years marked by mass delays and disruptions, Southwest isn't the first airline to struggle – nor the first to offer bonus miles as an apology. Over summer 2022, Delta offered 10,000 SkyMiles as a “goodwill gesture” for a slew of delays and cancellations.

Bottom Line

There's much more to do, but Southwest is starting its nationwide apology tour for last week's meltdown by handing out 25,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points to many affected customers.

If you were on a canceled or significantly delayed flight with Southwest over the last week or so, check your email inbox. You'll have to claim these miles – they won't get deposited to your account automatically.


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Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

22 Responses

    • No. I paid with points and my husband was flying free as my companion. We each received the 25,000 point goodwill gesture.

    • I booked with points, with a companion, and received two codes “valued” at 50,000 rapid rewards points. They arrived in an email yesterday.

  • I had 3 flights canceled 12/23; 12/27; 12/28
    And could not reschedule the 12/27 and 12/28 until 1/1/23. I have not received any notice of getting points. Is it 25000 for each canceled flight?

  • Has anyone been able to redeem these alleged points? The site you have to go to is totally broken, with half pages downloaded, and 404 errors. I think every one in Southwest IT should be looking for new jobs in some other field.

  • Got the email but when you click the link to claim you get a 404 error. Or get through to submit page and it crashes. So the same poor IT mess that caused this can’t handle the requests for the gesture to make up for it.
    Good luck all.

  • I have not been able to submit the Southwest form for reimbursement for luggage that did not get taken off the plane in Denver but was sent to Kansas. I filled out the reimbursement form but it will not submit when I press the submit button. How do I get reimbursement for clothing, toiletries, and medications.

  • I got 3 codes for 3 passengers. but one of them was a companion pass ticket. When redeeming it said I will get 75,000 points but it only credited 50,000 points in my Rapid Rewards account. Not sure why the third code connected with Companion pass did not work for 25,000 points.

  • Our flight was canceled on December 22nd, rebooked on 23rd and canceled again with no rebooking possible. The perimeter dates of December 24-January 2 for bonus Rapid Reward points are unfair considering the very important reason for our flight and the emotional damage incurred by our elderly 94 year old parents who were thinking due to their age it would be their last Christmas. Please show me a “goodwill gesture”!

  • my group of 5 companions all recieved the goodwill gesture email, and have secured their points, i was on the same exact flights as them that week and received no email (and no, its not in my spam or any other email account). Should I call customer service or not bother with it

  • I had my swa flight cancelled on Christmas. Then on 12/26 and 12/27 too. But I didn’t receive an email at all regarding points??!

  • The bonus rewards points expire 3/31/2023. Does anyone know whether that means that travel using those points needs to be booked by 3/31, or that travel using the rewards has to be completed by 3/31?

  • I didn’t realize these points expired on 3/31/23. I lost them and am so bummed. Our family of 4 had codes for 100K points and now they don’t work. I thought RR points never expire.

  • Have been waiting and calling to get the points, but they just keep saying will be posted to my Rapid Rewards, but almost 5 months later and still nothing.

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