Southwest has announced a number of changes to the program this morning, they are as follows:
- Southwest companion pass will now require earning 125,000 points in a calendar year or 100 flight segments. This will begin in 2020 (e.g if you’re still trying to earn the pass this year you’ll only need 110,000 points).
- Effective immediately points will no longer expire. Previously they would expire with no earning activity within the past 24 months
- Small change to stand by rules. Starting January 1st, 2021 A-List & A-List preferred members will be offered ‘same-day standby free of airline charges’ instead of ‘free same-day standby’. This basically just means A-List & A-List preferred means still have to pay the government taxes and airport fees.
Obviously the biggest change is to the Southwest companion pass. I think everybody has expected some sort of earning change for a long time, especially when Southwest started offering a bonus of 80,000 points on the Southwest business performance card. I don’t take issue with Southwest increasing this requirement, but I do take issue with announcing this change at this time of year. Southwest knows full well that some savvy customers time applying for Southwest cards to maximize when the points post and that some people have already applied for Southwest cards in the hope of earning a companion pass for 2020. Obviously that’s a risk individual customers take, but I do think it’s a reasonable expectation that Southwest should have announced these changes to earning the pass before now.