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How to earn Southwest status: A-list and Companion Pass qualification

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This article was last updated Jan 02, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

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Southwest Airlines has three status tiers that afford you extra benefits when you fly Southwest: A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass.

A-List and A-List Preferred give you priority over other fliers when you fly, so you can snag better seats and board more quickly, while Companion Pass is a lucrative deal that lets you bring a designated companion along for no additional airfare on all your Southwest flights for over a year.

Unfortunately, Southwest buries a lot of the details on how to earn status in the fine print of its website, but we’ve summarized what you need to know below.

What are qualifying points?

Southwest uses two different kinds of point balances to track whether you qualify for A-List or Companion Pass status:

  • A-List “Tier Qualifying Points”
  • Companion Pass “Qualifying Points”

Keep in mind these are just balances for tracking purposes. They have nothing to do with the number of Rapid Rewards points you have available to book yourself award flights. And you can earn both kinds of qualifying points at the same time.

When do points count for status?

Your status earning goal clock starts ticking in January each year, and keeps running until December 31. Once you reach the goal, you’ll get your status for the remainder of the year, and all of the next year. So if you qualify really early in the year, you can enjoy status for almost two years.

What do you need to earn for A-List status?

Earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points OR fly 25 one-way flights (paid flights, not award tickets or flights where you’re a free companion)

What do you need to earn for A-List Preferred status?

Earn 70,000 Tier Qualifying Points OR fly 50 one-way flights (paid flights, not award tickets or flights where you’re a free companion)

What do you need to earn for Companion Pass status?

Earn 110,000 Qualifying Points OR 100 one-way flights

Note that earning Companion Pass won’t earn you A-List status unless you earn enough A-List Tier Qualifying Points.

Basically, if you earn Companion Pass without much flying, you probably won’t get A-List status. But if you earn it mostly through flying, you’ll end up with both A-List and Companion Pass status.

What points count for A-List?

  • Wanna Get Away fares: 6 points per dollar of base fare
  • Anytime fares: 10 points per dollar of base fare
  • Business Select fares: 12 points per dollar of base fare
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card points: You can earn 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points per $10,000 you spend on the card, up to a maximum of 15,000 Tier Qualifying Points each year. These points are separate from the Rapid Rewards points you earn and use for award flights. Only the Premier level credit card can earn these points, not the lower annual fee Plus card.

What does NOT count toward A-list Tier Qualifying

  • Points transferred into your Southwest account
  • Introductory bonuses on your Southwest Premier card
  • Points earned from Southwest Rapid Rewards® partners
  • Special promotional flight bonuses
  • Points you buy

NOTE: Points earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card hit your account after your statement has closed, not when you make a purchase. So if it’s close to the end of the year, there’s a risk your points will hit the account after December 31, and not count toward qualifying in the year you’re finishing off.

What points count for Companion Pass?

  • Wanna Get Away fares: 6 points per dollar of base fare
  • Anytime fares: 10 points per dollar of base fare
  • Business Select fares: 12 points per dollar of base fare
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card points: any points you earn from these cards, including introductory sign on bonuses, count toward Companion Pass status
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Partners: base points you earn from Rapid Rewards Partners, like hotels, car rentals, Rapid Rewards Shopping, and Rapid Rewards Dining, are Companion Pass Qualifying. Points transferred in from hotel partners like Marriott will count only until March 31, 2017. After that, these transfers will not count.

What will NOT count

Points transferred directly from credit card rewards programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, won’t count toward Companion Pass.

Points you buy also don’t count.

As of March 31, 2017, transfers from hotel partners and car rental partners don’t count.

And bonus points from partners don’t count (though base points earned from partners do).

Here’s the official language:

“Purchased points, transferred points transferred between members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.”

Does Southwest match status?

Southwest generally won’t match your status from another airline program, but it may offer you a ‘challenge’ that asks you to complete some flights in a short period of time, and that can earn you status more quickly than completing a full year’s worth of requirements.


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