Andrea Allred shows that you can change the password of a service account without restarting an instance:
Did you know that you can change the password on the SQL Service account that is running your SQL instance without a reboot or restart? Turns out this is true. We have a new round of password requirements and it means that we need to change passwords on servers more often. But, since we need our servers up and reboots have to be heavily planned, we needed a solution that kept us from having to restart an instance after a password change. This lovely msdn article explains all the details, but let me give you the cliffs notes.
This is helpful for those max uptime scenarios where even a momentary service restart requires planned downtime.