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Southwest Airlines hadn’t yet shared reduced requirements for elite status and companion pass in 2021. That’s changed. And like Marriott they’re giving members credit towards status rather than lowering requirements. They’re also extending Companion Passes that were earned in 2019 for 2020.
- Elite status easier to earn. All accounts that were open December 31 will receive 15,000 tier qualifying points and 10 flight credits towards elite status.
- Earn unlimited tier points towards status with credit card spend Southwest credit cards won’t have a cap on the elite status credit that can be earned through spend this year. Their normal 1500 qualifying points per $10,000 spend has no limit. It’s calculated based on billing cycle end days (“from the first day of the January 2021 billing cycle through the last statement of 2021”).
- Companion Pass easier to earn. All accounts that were open December 31 will receive 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 qualifying flights towards Companion Pass.
With the Companion Pass you can bring a second person along with you on your travels. You need to earn 125,000 eligible points in 2021 for a pass that will be valid through the end of 2022. And Southwest credit card initial bonuses and points-earning from spend on those cards count towards companion pass.
- Companion passes extended. Companion passes earned in 2019 for 2020, which were already extended to June 30, 2021, are being extended to December 31, 2021. (I earned a Companion Pass in mid-January 2020, already valid through December 31, 2021 and sadly cancelled all of my booked trips using it. These are not being extended. Promotional companion passes also are not part of this extension.)
Southwest Airlines in Austin
Gifted tier and companion pass points and flight credits will appear in accounts in a week. This is how they adjusted requirements in 2020 as well – and is an interesting approach compared to reducing requirements. It has largely the same effect, but does make it feel like you’ve ‘already made progress’ towards the goal rather than starting at zero towards a lower goal.