Posted by William Charles on October 17, 2019
Airline Rewards

Published on October 17th, 2019 | by William Charles

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Southwest To Increase Companion Pass Earning Requirement To 125,000 Points (& Other Smaller Changes)

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.

Our Verdict

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.



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Chong786
Chong786

15000 miles more?! No big deal as long as we can earn CP with credit card bonus

Jim
Jim

To clarify, the 125k RR requirement begins in 2020 (2.5 months)?

That would stink — I oped the 60k

Thomas
Thomas

2x 60k + minimum spend is still enough.

1x 60k wouldnt be enough anyways.

Stinger
Stinger

Bummer. I did the 60K business and 50K personal. Of course I now know I should have done the 80K premium business card. I had it timed to get companion pass by Jan 15, but now it will take longer. Oh well, still a good deal. Just not what I was planning on.

OyVey
OyVey

I’m in the same position. Decided to go with Business Premier over Performance to save $100. Oops, Southwest had other ideas.

Jay
Jay

Why would you do that? $300 in extra flights for $100, plus perks?

Dima
Dima

That doesn’t make a ton of sense IMO unless you’re really tight on cash or have too many SW pts. For the extra $100 you get 20k extra with sign up bonus, 3k extra for the first anniversary and a bunch of other perks. Even if you value other perks like GE credit and free WiFi at 0 getting SW pts at around 0.4 CPP makes sense.

OyVey
OyVey

It’s all very subjective. I decided to limit out of pocket expense, while I want the CP I don’t fly enough to burn through the points quickly. I don’t look at value alone as the deciding factor, there is something to be said about cash in your pocket as well.

Bridget
Bridget

The business performance cc spend was higher too – so the AF isn’t the only factor to get the 20k extra points.

Krista check my posts
Krista check my posts

Sorry to hear. 110k will still put you close enough that you can get it with a little hard work.

Fortunately some last minute math save me. I use miles for everything so it’s easy for me to forget their true value. Fortunately, I concluded the extra 20K miles is easily worth $100 and the other benefits are just a bonus. (I recently got Global Entry so that’s no value to me. 4 upgrades are a little sparse for them to be a real benefit but I am still a little excited to try them. I will likely use Wi-Fi with it being free but I assign no value to it. If Southwest was selling Wi-Fi for a dollar I still wouldn’t purchase it.)

Avi
Avi

Given that a 2020-2021 pass is primarily intended to be earned by people flying over the course of 2020, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for them to have announced it now and not earlier. I’m grateful they didn’t wait until Jan 1 to announce it. And frankly, I’m surprised the CP is still a thing, and that they allow it to be earned with CC bonuses. The first time I got one several years ago and started using it I thought it was doomed and could never have predicted Southwest would keep it around until 2020 and beyond.

YoniPDX

Agreed.

I think it was quite reasonable to expect an increase esp in light of the higher 80K (85K w/MSR).

I also think people overlook the fact that this was not an overnight devaluation – but 75 day lead.

Considering that you can MS the CP as well as tier points.

Overall it’s far superior to AS, DL, AA, an BA. CP offers at they are 1X and after 13 months and your paying 2AF +Tax for first CP (or $121 + $75AF on AS).

Sexy_kitten7
Sexy_kitten7

I disagree. Sure it is standard to announce upcoming changes in October but many flyers have already booked travel for 2019. For example when DL when revenue based, they announced it a full year in advance: Jan 2013. (I’ve been going down memory lane in light of the latest United-gate.) With that being said, something like 90% of tickets are booked inside of 90 days so hopefully this won’t affect too many people

Avi
Avi

An important distinction here is that Southwest didn’t fundamentally change the way CP is earned, it just slightly increased the number of points required. That’s to be expected over time, especially as the CC bonuses for their cards have increased and the points themselves have been devalued. Considering the 110k point threshold had been in place since 2011 (or was it 2012?), this is just normal point inflation.

CJ
CJ

Not a surprise, but Southwest is definitely not an airline I frequent. I know that folks like the airline, but it’s not my cup of tea.

escot
escot

Yup, this is not a pleasant surprise, and I too “take issue” — umbrage even. I’d be even more annoyed if I’d followed the herd and fallen for the new card…. Chase knew full well to wait to announce this change til after the 80k card was pulled…. Unlike the “Que Sira, Sira….” crowd below (and bloggers for whom Chase butters their bread), an extra 15k spend to get to the new CP IS a big deal — unwelcome surprise. (This will especially sting those who got the new 80k card thinking they could spend their way to the cp threshold…. )

Happens I’m on my third cp ….. and frankly, I’ve grown very tired of the Southwest cattle car experience…. (It’s getting harder and harder, even with paying the extra fees, to get a decent boarding position…..)

Have a cp currently, and had originally planed to use it for flights to Hawaii…. may yet, but the wife is understandably having nightmares already of being stuck in a miserable middle or window seat in “luv” cattle car flights that long…. (even more nightmares if those badly designed Boeing 737 MAX ever get un-grounded)

To those who sell the Chase/SW cards, this predictably will be “no big deal” and “whatever will be, will be.” I’ll be looking harder at the alternatives..

CW
CW

The 80k offer is still active

J
J

For the record, it’s “que sera, sera”

qmc
qmc

(It’s getting harder and harder, even with paying the extra fees, to get a decent boarding position…..)

how? if you’re paying for early boarding, you’re in the first 30 or so.

AFAIK, none of the Hawaii flights are connecting, so there isn’t even anyone else on board already.

Alex
Alex

That’s not true. Flights from Seattle connect in California. I’ve routinely been getting B position for the Hawaii flights. Having said that, I’m still able to get seats together with my wife.

Chris
Chris

Long time listener, first time caller. I just had to say, what a hard life you must have, buddy. That’s all.

P.S. Chase definitely doesn’t butter my bread and I opened WN’s email with dread, but I came away with an even better view of the company.

TrojanFan
TrojanFan

Well, your welcome to your humble opinion, but so am I… and I think you’re overreacting. Is this a positive change? no. Does it fundamentally change anything about earning the companion pass? not really. You can still time 2 credit cards to post in January. All the extra point requirement does is delay qualifying by a month or two. For a savvy manufactured spender, probably no delay at all. In some ways, this could be a positive if it deters some from attempting the companion pass, keeping it viable in the long run for the rest of us who are smart enough to read Doc.

And you’re sick of the Southwest “cattle car” experience? Try flying basic economy on any of the other major carriers. That will give your wife real nightmares. If you’re looking for luxury and experience, buy a business or first class ticket, but don’t try to compare that to the value Southwest offers — it’s apples and oranges.

Stan
Stan

i have no sympathy for people signing up on Oct. 1 so they can finish spend on Jan. 1, 2020.

Stinger
Stinger

Good to know Stan. Thanks for sharing.

Matthew
Matthew

Cool story!

JK
JK

How about me? I signed up Oct 13th?

Dorothy
Dorothy

Okay Stan, Cool, Hook Em !

SA
SA

Good to know. I guess I will be still good as with Perf Biz and Priority it will be 120K. I can do max part of my spendon 2 cards in last statement period so that it posts in Jan 2020, so that will add at least another 5K which will make me hit 125K. Glad they did not increase it to 150K!

mcafeeee
mcafeeee

125K seems reasonable and attainable for most people who value the CP

Ryan
Ryan

Dang! Bad timing for me. Now the points won’t expire. 70k pound expired on me recently. I was booking flights with points thinking it would keep it from expiring. That was devastating.

CongestionCharge
CongestionCharge

Ouch, this even hurt me. I would call and beg for them back, in light of their recent changes

qmc
qmc

That sucks, but it does show pretty clearly when you’re logged what the activity or expiration dates are.

Ryan
Ryan

I didn’t pay attention and just assumed everything was fine as I was flying with them twice a year. I learned it the hard way that I needed to book a revenue flight. I will call them soon. Thanks guys.

dan
dan

Ryan if haven’t used / flown, possible to cancel to get pts back to the acct?

Ryan
Ryan

At this point I just need to beg them.

mrredskin
mrredskin

good luck. friend of mine lost his two years ago and had three agents deny it each time

YoniPDX

The car rental trick may work to revive them read post at DDF:
“All About Mileage Expiration And Transfer Options For 57 Loyalty Programs: Keep Points From Expiring And Bring Them Back To Life!”

Matthew
Matthew

Bummer, I was hoping to get CP with just the 80k Performance and some MS, this will mean either adding to my 5/24 with a Personal or doing the additional MS.

YoniPDX

75 days is still better than than this week’s overnight devaluation that killed stop overs on Alaska partner awards in Asia.

“Those bast***ds!”

Vincent
Vincent

Where did you find out about this? Would this also occur on Pacific partners? Was planning a SFO-Fiji-Melbourne flight with free stopover in Fiji for next year…

YoniPDX

No, its just Asia flights. on AS award page “Stopovers are not available on Intra- Asia award redemption’s.”

I’m working on a similar trip PDX-LAX-NAN-ACK then MEB- SYD -PDX for next Spring or Fall

If your traveling after July look for seats on the new Fiji A350 instead off A330-200 which has angled lie flat seats for 11 hours – the A330-300 has fully lie flat for the 11:20 hour from LAX-NAN or 11:10 from SFO, but I think that new A350 is only out of LAX – You could get equipment switched and end up with the angled lie flat seats of the A332.

Vincent

Dima
Dima

Applied and got approved for the Biz card with 80k bonus yesterday. Was thinking about getting to 110k pts with organic spend, but an additional 15k pts requirement will likely mean that I will need to get a SW personal card.

Alex
Alex

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if I wasn’t planning to do this one organically. Just got approved for the 80K card and figured worst case scenario I would have CP next October after the 9,000 pts post from the annual fee bonus (so there was only 21000 needed). Now it would be 36000 spend… I’ll have to MS if I end up not getting another card. Waiting till November to try to apply for the second card.

dan
dan

recently got approved for the perf biz cc for 80k pts bonus, now need to get a personal’s in-fight for 50k pts

JK
JK

The 80k mile card requires 5k spend, doesn’t it? That’s 85k miles. The current 40k mile only requires 1k spend. That’s 41k miles. 85k miles plus 41k miles = 126k miles!

anthony
anthony

Is it possible to get one of these without being in-flight?

Ray
Ray

Yes, there’s a few links floating around.

mrredskin
mrredskin

the 80k offer was still up this morning slightly after this announcement was made. I know because I applied under the 80k offer right after I saw this and the 80k page was still there.

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