Southwest Increases Companion Pass Requirement To 135,000 Points (For Those Without Cobranded Card)

Southwest announced today a few changes to their Rapid Rewards program via email. Below are the details, along with my commentary:

  1. Southwest is increasing the points required to earn Companion Pass benefits from 125,000 to 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. This change takes effect on January 1, 2023.
  2. As a new benefit, Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers will receive a boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points every year.
    • Since most of us get the Companion Pass in conjunction with applying for at least one Southwest card, the increased points requirement won’t have any effect.
    • Effective January 2023, Members with an open Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card on the first business day of each calendar year will earn one boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points each calendar year. The boost will be deposited into eligible Member’s account by January 31st of the calendar year. When a Member opens a Rapid Rewards Credit Card after the first business day of the calendar year, they will receive one boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to 30 days after opening the Rapid Rewards Credit Card. Only one boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points can be earned each calendar year by each Rapid Rewards account no matter how many Rapid Rewards Credit Cards are open for the Rapid Rewards account. Eligible Members will see the boost added to their Rapid Rewards account by logging in to their account on Southwest.com®. The Companion Pass Qualifying Points boost cannot be used for redemption.

  3. Companion Pass holders can now board together with their Companions (unless the Companion Pass holder purchased a Business Select fare, purchased Upgraded Boarding, or added the Companion after they had been assigned a boarding position).
    • For A-List and A-List Preferred Members who have also qualified for Companion Pass, A-List and A-List Preferred benefits are not available to the Companion unless the Companion is also an A-List or A-List Preferred member. Except for Business Select fares, upon check-in, you and your Companion will receive sequential boarding positions unless you purchased Upgraded Boarding, or added the Companion after you had been assigned a boarding position.  If you purchased a Business Select fare, purchased Upgraded Boarding, or added the Companion after you had been assigned a boarding position, you and your Companions will not receive sequential boarding positions. You and your Companion will not receive sequential boarding positions for any same-day change or same-day standby. For Business Select fares, only the purchaser will receive an A1-A15 boarding position and the Companion will receive a boarding position based on whichever is applicable—time of check-in, A-List or A-List Preferred status, or EarlyBird Check-In.

  4. Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cardmembers are getting even more ways to redeem and enjoy the points they’ve earned beginning 2023.
    • No details on what these additional redemption options will be
  5. When you book Wanna Get Away or Wanna Get Away Plus travel with your Rapid Rewards points, if your plans change and you want a points refund, you must cancel the reservation at least 10 minutes before the flight’s original scheduled departure time. Failure to cancel the trip 10 minutes before scheduled departure will result in forfeited points, starting summer 2023.
    • Currently, cash bookings need to be cancelled at least 10 minutes in advance while points bookings get auto-refunded regardless. Beginning in summer 2023, points bookings will also need to be cancelled.
    • Starting summer 2023, for Wanna Get Away® or Wanna Get Away Plus™ reward travel reservations: if you do not cancel your reservation at least 10 minutes before the flight’s original scheduled departure time, any points used for booking will be forfeited, along with any taxes and fees associated with your award travel reservation. For Anytime or Business Select reward travel reservation: the points used for booking will continue to be redeposited to the purchaser’s Rapid Rewards account, and any taxes and fees associated with the reward travel reservation will be converted into a flight credit for future use.

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Fay White
Fay White

Chuck Chase is offering increased personal SW personal offers. It may be only referrals as I don’t see on Chase main site.

https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/AEP75kPlus1122?REF=FULLSITE&CELL=6PLV&cbid=6851070&clk=6851070

VL
VL

Very reasonable changes… if only every other loyalty program followed those rules.

Cancelling the tix 10 min prior the flight is common courtesy, you can do it even if you are late for the flight…

10K requirements increase is only hurting the people who is actually flying for CP… although this is probably more like inflation adjustment factor (as the prices go up), and the requirements based on the number of segments did not change. 10K qualifying miles are added for Chase cardholders to not piss off Chase (my guess).

All in all – very reasonable. I wish they would have a better coverage and flew to more places.

Dan
Dan

Anyone seen any increased bonus offers for in flight Apps?

RAYMOND GEISMAN
RAYMOND GEISMAN

Southwest have been giving companions the next boarding position, even if only the pass holder has purchased early bird, for a long time now. No reason for the companion to purchase early bird.

Harry
Harry

I’ve earned the pass enough times to have it every year since 2015 and now through 2023. This will probably be my last time as SW has drastically cut nonstop routes out of my home airport (PHL) and completely pulled out of (EWR). In today’s environment I as most folks really try to avoid connections, so I find myself using other airlines out of convenience. Just not worth the effort for me until SW returns to pre covid availability near me.

TD
TD

EDIT First word, ummmmmm, it’s Chase’s Rapid Rewards program now? I mean basically it probably is since airlines are totally dependent on their ff programs to make a profit nowadays but let’s not accelerate the banker takeover of society anymore than we have to, ok? Although, if you’ve ever dealt with Chase, that would certainly explain the sharp decline in service standards and product at Southwest.

Sean Tran
Sean Tran

The 135k will be a bit more challenging if you don’t do the normal+biz card. This past year it was my wife turn to get CP and luckily there was a 100k bonus in Nov. We had 3 ways to go. 100K+$25k in spending.(would take a while). 100K+20k referral or normal+biz. We did the referral route but surprisingly she got approved for the biz card so she ended up getting the fastest CP status on Jan 5th.

Kurt
Kurt

As long as you have any SW credit card, the new 135,000 requirement is exactly the same as last year’s 125,000 requirement.

Matisyahu
Matisyahu

Maybe they are bringing back Amazon redemption option?

Doug
Doug

It depends when the 10,000 points hit the account, right? If I sign up for the card in November 2022 planning to hit the bonuses in January 2023, then an extra 10k in November 2022 or November 2023 doesn’t help.

EDIT: I now see that the points are deposited each calendar year by January 31. So they will help after all. Never mind!

Matt
Matt

Thanks for doing those mental gymnastics for me. I had the exact same question.

Greg
Greg

The current policy for points travel is that if you no-show and don’t cancel, you get the points refunded. The new points policy is the same as the cash policy, which is that you have to tell them you’re canceling by 10 minutes before departure to get a refund.

Eric V
Eric V

Seems perfectly reasonable