Southwest makes Changes to Companion Pass Requirements and More
Southwest Airlines has made changes to Companion Pass requirements. Plus there’s a couple of other items on the list of changes.
Companion Pass Requirements
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is a benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. That person just needs to pay taxes and fees, from $5.60 one-way.
Currently, to qualify, you need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. You earn the Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it. Earning 110K points is usually the way to go, especially with credit card signup bonuses.
Now that requirement will be increased for 2020. Here’s what is says on the Southwest website:
Starting January 1, 2020, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to earn Companion Pass.
- Starting immediately, Southwest points will no longer expire. Previously, you needed to have flight-earning or partner-earning activity at least once every 24 months to keep points from expiring.
- 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’. It means that you still have to pay any additional government taxes and fees.
The changes to Companion Pass requirements are what most people will be concerned about. Starting on 2020, you will need to earn 125,000 points in a calendar year, instead of 110,000. The increase is not huge, but it’s the timing that most people could have an issue with. At this time of year most people start working, or have already started to work on qualifying for Companion Pass for 2020 and 2021. That was probably done through the 80K bonus that just expired for the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card. That would put you close to the requirement, and now those people will need to earn 15,000 more points to get their Companion Pass.
Southwest knows this. And that is likely why they waited until that bonus expired, to announce this change to the Companion Pass.
The Southwest Companion Pass is still a great program, even with the increased requirements. Yes, you’ll need to earn 15,000 more points going forward. But flying with a companion for free for almost two years, if timed right, gets you lots of value.
Does this hust your plans for getting the Companion Pass? Let me know what you think.