Southwest Airlines Will Status Match Over and Over and Over!

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Last summer Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards launched a status match program.

They’ll give you 90 days of elite status if you have status with another US-based airline, and you can extend that status for a year with six one way flight segments within 90 days of confirmation of your enrollment for this promotion.

Here are the benefits of A List status:

  • Priority boarding (a low boarding group number) better than the low number you buy for $15 per flight through Early Bird check-in.

  • 25% bonus on points-earning. If you actually earned 35,000 points from flying in a year that would mean 8750 bonus points worth about $114.

  • Free standby. Southwest doesn’t have change fees but if you want to get on a different flight day of departure – if you don’t have status – you’ll be buying up to the then-current fare. So standby is useful, but only on routes where Southwest offers several flights. On my primary route of Washington National – Austin they have only one flight a day (and they are the only ones legally permitted to fly it) so standby would help not at all. In Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles for instance this is a meaningful benefit.

  • Priority check-in and security (but if you have PreCheck and don’t often check bags this isn’t worth much) and a reservations phone number (for however often you call though Southwest’s regular line hold times aren’t as bad as other carriers in my experience.

I have Southwest Airlines A-List status and I find early boarding invaluable. It isn’t just better than the paid Early Bird check-in, it ensures I have a good boarding position (and get a good seat) even when I get onto a flight literally at the last minute. In May I bought a ticket a few hours in advance and wound up with C-53, but still got an aisle seat.

Readers know I’m jonesing for the New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card which is offering 80,000 Rapid Rewards points with $5000 spend within 3 months and reimburses Southwest Airlines wifi purchases, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4 years, and offers 4 upgraded boardings per year, A1-15 boarding, which you purchase at the gate and get statement credit back for.

I was looking at how much spend I’d have to do to ensure I requalify for status this year, the card also earns 1,500 tier qualifying points for each $10,000 in purchases (up to $100,000 in purchases annually for 15,000 qualifying points), and I realized something — maybe I’m the last person in the world to realize it?

Southwest’s status match offer isn’t once in a lifetime. Under the terms they’ve described I should be able to status match using my American Airlines status once my current Southwest status expires, and do that each and every year. (You just need current status with a US domestic airline.)

There are two eligibility restrictions in the terms and conditions.

  • “Current A-List Members whose status is expiring are not eligible for the promotion” so you cannot take advantage of the promotion while you have Southwest status. You have to wait for your status to expire.

  • “This complimentary promotional A-List promotion is available to you if you have not received promotional A-List status in any other promotion in the last 12 months” so you have to wait a year between status matches, but Southwest is explicit that this is not a ‘once in a lifetime’ type of match.

As long as Southwest runs this offer, provided they honor its terms, elites with any US airline should be eligible for continued Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards A-List status — you just need to let your Southwest status lapse before applying again.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. but only 90 days every year right, so 1/4 of the time you would have status, or 1/5 depending on whether it’s 15 month cycle…what am I missing?

  2. Are there one or more other airlines with repeatable matches that’d allow you to continuously Merry-go-round this?

  3. ok got it – I am assuming you don’t meet the challenge, so only 20% of the time you would have A list

  4. Six segments? Pretty easy — just one round trip with double connects or one-and-a-half regular trips with a single connection.

    Wish you’d written this when I had temporary AA plat earlier this year.

  5. It says 3 round trips or six one ways. I don’t think 6 segments on one round trip would do it. All my bookings are points but of course I could have done a cash one. But for me this would have been over $1,000 the way I read it and the flights I was taking at the time.

  6. Gary, you say A-List “ensures I have a good boarding position (and get a good seat) even when I get onto a flight literally at the last minute. In May I bought a ticket a few hours in advance and wound up with C-53, but still got an aisle seat.” But the Southwest terms and conditions explicitly say that A-List does not provide priority boarding for “reservations booked less than 36 hours prior to scheduled departure.” How exactly did your A-List status help you in this case?

  7. @Andy
    That just means that the system can’t check you in automatically, before (or with) the Earlybitd folks and A-listers, to give you a shot at an A16-60 boarding pass, but no matter what number you get, C53 in this instance, you can still board right after the A group.

  8. @Andy – A list members are called for boarding after passengers with A boarding passes and before passengers with B boarding passes. You don’t get a boarding order based on your status booking close in (I was C-53!) but they still board you earlier than your boarding order.

  9. I’m in ATL, one of the “targeted” cities for the promotion but I cannot find anything about it on the SW site. I’m Silver with Delta which means 0 in ATL, but if it gets me A-List, that would be sweet. Do you have an SW link to the promotion ?

  10. Aha! Thanks for the explanation. As a thoroughly disillusioned AA Executive Platinum, I’d be jumping on this . . . if Southwest hadn’t largely abandoned Philadelphia a couple years ago.

  11. PJYOO

    Yes i was gifted gold status American Airlines with 0 points from another status match.
    Yes Southwest matched to Alist for nighty days

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