Southwest Airlines is the last major US Airlines to announce changes to their frequent flyer program. Southwest Rapid Rewards Tier Status extensions are coming to all frequent flyers. Unfortunately and surprisingly, top tier status Companion Pass will not see a full year extension.
Unlike other major airlines Southwest is only extending top Tier Elite status, Companion Pass, by approximately 6 months to June 30, 2021. A-List and A-List Preferred will see a full extension to December 31, 2021. Southwest Airlines is also being more strict about extensions. Those who currently have status because of a status match or a promotion will not see an elite status extension unless the promotion criteria is actually met.
Extending Tier Status and Companion Pass
From Southwest Airlines, a much welcome extension is coming for Rapid Rewards members. If you are in the middle of a promotion though, do not worry. You also get an extension on the dealing to finish the promo to ensure you have a change to earn and keep status.
- For Companion Pass holders, who earned Companion Pass benefits through December 31, 2020, we are extending your current Companion Pass benefits through June 30, 2021.
- For A-List and A-List Preferred Members who earned A-List or A-List Preferred status through December 31, 2020 and not through any type of promotion, we are extending your current earned status through December 31, 2021.
- For Members enrolled in a promotion granting promotional A-List status or challenging a Member to extend promotional A-List status such as Status Match, Tier Challenge, Tier Experience, or a Corporate Status Challenge and who met the flight requirements by the promotion end date, we are extending your current promotional status through December 31, 2021. However, for Members enrolled in any of the above promotions and who to date have not met the flight requirements, we are extending the deadline to meet the promotion’s flight requirements to October 30, 2020.
Tier Boost – Making A List Easier
As fewer people are currently flying, Southwest Airlines has decided to give current Rapid Rewards members a boost towards status. American Airlines and United have both reduced the number of miles needed to earn status in 2020. Southwest is doing this as well through a tier boost. It’s essentially the same idea.
We are making it easier for Rapid Rewards Members to earn tier status and Companion Pass this year by giving everyone 15,000 tier qualifying points (TQPs), 10 qualifying one-way flight segments toward tier status, 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (CPQPs), and 25 qualifying one-way flight segments toward Companion Pass. This added boost will accelerate your progress toward achieving tier status and Companion Pass in 2020. As an example, for a Rapid Rewards Member who has not earned any TQPs or CPQPs in 2020 or flown any qualifying one-way flight segments toward earning tier status or Companion Pass in 2020, this Rapid Rewards Member will get a boost toward earning tier status or Companion Pass as shown in this table below:
No action is necessary on your part—the 15,000 tier qualifying points, 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points, and flight segments will be deposited into all Members’ accounts in the coming weeks. Tier qualifying points, Companion Pass qualifying points, and flight segments will be given to any Member who opened a Rapid Rewards account by April 1, 2020.
Travel Funds Extended
If you cannot fly right now and have credits towards Southwest flights, do not worry. Southwest is extending most travel funds so you can fly when it’s safe! Nearly every other airline has also done this. Most travel funds will be extended nearly 18 months.
Previously, Customers’ travel funds that have expired or would have expired between March 1 – June 30, 2020, or travel funds created because of a cancellation between March 1 – June 30, 2020, had an expiration date of June 30, 2021. Now we are expanding the window of funds eligible for extended expiration dates and extending the expiration date of these funds. Funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020, will have an expiration date of September 7, 2022.
Convert select travel funds into Rapid Rewards® points
Do you not want to travel now? Southwest is providing a very unique option of turning your travel credits into Rapid Rewards points.
Those Members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020 will have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today. We hope this provides our Members ultimate flexibility as Rapid Rewards points never expire, never have cancel or change fees (fare difference may apply), and you can redeem your points for anyone you choose.
If you are interested in buying points with your travel funds know that Rapid Rewards points cost around 3 cents per points. Purchases of 2,000-4,500 points cost 3 cents each, and purchases of 5,000-60,000 points cost 2.75 cents each. I personally would not recommend converting travel funds to points unless you have no other options. Such as if the voucher is actually going to expire.
Rapid Rewards Tier Status Extension
The extension of Rapid Rewards tier status is great for nearly everyone. Frequent flyers will be able to enjoy status into 2021 without worrying about not flying now. The boost or reduction will also help more people retain or earn A List or Companion Pass in 2020 while traveling remains below normal. I am sad to see that Southwest Airlines will not extend the most coveted program, Companion Pass through all of 2021. I do not think that Southwest extension is as generous as Delta Air Lines Elite status extension. However, we do know things change rapidly and Southwest may change their mind. Either way, the extension through June 2021 is good news for flyers. Once things return to normal, grab your buddy and get away!