Southwest Gifts 25,000 Reward Points to Customers Affected by Holiday Week Meltdown

“As we embark on the journey to rebuild our Customers’ faith, loyalty, and trust, we know we have much work to do."

Travelers search for their suitcases in a baggage holding area for Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Southwest Airlines is offering some customers who were affected by the Christmas week chaos a bonus of 25,000 points, a goodwill gesture as the airline works to sort out ongoing baggage issues and refunds.

The airline issued the Rapid Rewards points to customers who had their flights canceled or significantly delayed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 and who did not elect to rebook or travel, Southwest shared directly with Travel + Leisure, adding "this is available for every passenger on the reservation, up to 9 passengers."

“Over the recent holiday travel week, we disrupted many of our Customers’ travel and holiday plans, and for that, we are truly sorry,” Southwest said in a statement shared with T+L. “As we embark on the journey to rebuild our Customers’ faith, loyalty, and trust, we know we have much work to do. It’s a passionate pursuit, and our Southwest Family has never been more committed to the all-important imperative of serving our Customers with the warm Hospitality and reliability.”

However, customers trying to receive their points were in for yet another long wait. Many took to social media sites to share frustrations that after they received an email regarding their newfound points, there was then an online queue — for one customer, over an hour — in order to redeem them.

The gifted miles is Southwest’s latest gesture to make up for the Christmas week meltdown in which thousands of flights were canceled during one of the busiest travel times of the year.  Last week, Southwest’s CEO Bob Jordan apologized for the problems, explaining the airline “significantly” reduced its schedule in an effort to “catch up.”

Since then, Southwest has also offered to refund customers for unused tickets as well as for “reasonable hotel accommodations, meals, and ground transportation expenses.” Customers can also submit baggage claims online.

On Tuesday, Southwest said it was back on track and operated with a 99.1% system completion rate from Dec. 30 through Jan. 1. The carrier said it expects that “nearly all baggage delayed during the recent holiday travel week to be shipped or delivered by midweek.”

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