Southwest Airlines Extends Companion Pass, Makes It Easier To Earn

Filed Under: Southwest

Southwest Airlines has just become the latest US airline to extend status and make it easier to earn, following in the footsteps of Delta SkyMilesUnited MileagePlus, Alaska Mileage Plan, and American AAdvantage.

Not only is Southwest extending status and making it easier to earn, but they’re also extending vouchers, and letting Rapid Rewards members convert them into points. Let’s take a look at the details:

Southwest A-List extended by 12 months

All current Southwest A-List and A-List Preferred members will have status extended through December 31, 2021, representing a 12 month extension.

For those of you not familiar with these status levels:

  • A-List ordinarily requires 25 flights or 35,000 qualifying points, and offers perks like bonus points, priority check-in, priority boarding, same-day standby, and more
  • A-List Preferred ordinarily requires 50 flights or 70,000 qualifying points, and includes many of the above perks, plus 100% bonus points, free inflight Wi-Fi, and more

Southwest Companion Pass extended by six months

All current Southwest Companion Pass memberships are now extended through June 30, 2021, which represents a six month extension.

For those of you not familiar with Companion Pass:

  • It ordinarily requires 100 flights or 125,000 qualifying points
  • The most valuable perk is that you can always have a companion fly with you for just the cost of the taxes, regardless of whether paying cash or redeeming points; this is one of the best deals in travel

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this extended even further, but I’d say a six month extension is fair for now, given that we’re only a few months into the year, and given how much this benefit can potentially cost Southwest.

Southwest makes it easier to earn status

For those who don’t have any status, there’s an offer for all Rapid Rewards members. In recognition of normal flying patterns having been interrupted, all Rapid Rewards members are getting a boost of:

  • 15,000 qualifying points and 10 flight credits towards A-List and A-List Preferred
  • 25,000 qualifying points and 25 flight credits towards Companion Pass

This potentially gets you 40% of the way to A-List, or 20% of the way to Companion Pass.

This could be a great incentive to get a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, since points earned on those cards qualify towards Companion Pass.

Southwest extending travel funds

Southwest is extending the validity of travel funds that have expired or would have expired. This applies to funds that:

  • Would have expired between March 1 and June 30, 2020
  • Were created because of a cancellation between March 1 and June 30, 2020, and had an expiration of June 30, 2021

These funds will now have an expiration date of September 7, 2022. That’s awesome, as these funds will be valid for well over two years.

Southwest will let you convert credits into points

Not only will Southwest be extending travel funds, but for members who prefer, travel funds can also be converted into Rapid Rewards points:

  • This will be valid for funds created between March 1 and September 7, 2020
  • Funds can be converted into points at the same rate you would be able to purchase tickets with points today, which should be 76-78 points per dollar
  • They’re still working on the technology associated with this, so it should be available soon

Bottom line

This is a fantastic announcement from Southwest. A-List and Companion Pass are being extended, it’s easier to earn status, travel vouchers are being extended, and these vouchers can even be converted into Rapid Rewards points.

What do you make of this announcement from Southwest Airlines?

  1. I like these extensions. Now I have a reason to fly SW this year for the companion pass (instead of just riding out my A-List status extension). With my AA status extended, I might have a shot at it this year with SW (depending on how everything gets better of course).

  2. Wait – what about Companion Passes that expire Dec 2020 – certainly these are not extended until June 2021, correct?

  3. “These funds will now have an expiration date of September 7, 2022”. That’s a little bit of a bummer for someone who has an voucher expiring Dec 31 2020.

  4. @Tim …. seriously? If you managed to earn a CP in Q1 2020 (through CC bonuses) then you already have it for 2 years. You don’t need another 6 month extension. Ben just wrote about people like you in an earlier post.

    @Lucky when will these “boosts” post to our Rapid Rewards accounts?

  5. This is great! Would happily take points instead of the travel fund vouchers any day, especially if they are being exchanged 1:1.

  6. So, if I self-canceled ahead of Southwest cancelling a flight, and my funds expire in September of 2020, then I’m not covered by the extension?

    I had booked flights to Hawaii last September for spring break in April 2020, and when the shelter-in-place order came down, I canceled the flights and got travel funds. This happened after March 1st. I had hoped that any travel funds created in March would get extended, but from what Lucky wrote, only funds created in March due to a cancellation on Southwest’s part are eligible for extension. Is that right? If so, then my only alternative if I can’t fly by September is to convert to points?

  7. Question for an expert. I had flights with Southwest to fly next week. But due to this, I canceled beginning of the month so I was given a credit. When I checked today, my flights were canceled or online it says unavailable. Could I get my money refunded instead of the credit?

  8. Okay…so what about the qualification period on companion pass? Do you still have to complete the 100 flights or 125k points by EOY? Or by the extension?

  9. A data point for you… my vouchers were set to expire on May 31 and they have been extended to Sep of 2022!

  10. @Max Who are YOU to say Tim does NOT need a 6 months extension? Look, SWA has deemed those with CP expiring Dec 31, 2020 have been negatively impacted by 6 months, thus the generous 6 months extension. So, that same 6 months travel impact to those with CP exp 12/31/2020 is the same travel impact to those with CP’s exp 12/31/2021 – right ???

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