Southwest Makes Companion Pass And Elite Status Easier To Earn

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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.

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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, 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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  1. The promotional pass that they offered (That I got) from Jan-Feb is well less than I expected given the COVID circumstances. I won’t be able to use it once

  2. Good for SW, but this does not help me and thousands of others.

    I earned the CP in late January 2020 (good through 2021), and used it one time in February 2020 before the pandemic hit hard. During the balance of 2020, I had to cancel 8 additional trips due to weddings beings cancelled, cities being closed, and similar situations. Just like everybody else, there was no where to go, and fewer flights to get you there.

    I hope than SW will review their CP extension policies, and recognize that there are many others who would benefit from extension of expiration dates similar to what is being done for those with CP expiring in 2020.

  3. This is BS!! I earned my CP in early 2020 right when Covid hit. Why is the group most affected not being extended?

  4. I am disappointed because in December, their website showed that I was four flights away from keeping A-List status through the end of 2022. Their website as of December made it sound like they were counting the flights from 2020 along with 2021 to be combined for A-List status. I flew a lot during the first couple of months of last year, so I was excited about this. I wish that I had saved the screen shot.

  5. This is great for those who earned companion pass in 2019, which would have expired Dec 31, 2020, and now is good through 2021. Makes up for the lost year of 2020.

    Those folks can focus on qualifying in early 2022, so that pass will be valid through 2023, to include late 2021 new credit card that meet targets and post acquisition bonuses after New Year’s.

    Unfortunately, these handy 2021 credits and bonuses do not affect qualifying in 2022, unless extended.

  6. I earned my CP before the pandemic(January). But as per the Covid circumstances and as per my expectation that is very low, so I won’t be able to use it once.

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