Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Qualification Changes?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped me an email about changes made to the transactions that qualify towards the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Qualification Changes

The Companion Pass has been a perk for those that travel a lot on the airline. The designated companion has been able to fly complimentary with the Companion Pass holder. The airline has now apparently tightened what qualifies towards the status.

Here’s what Southwest has up on their site about the Companion Pass:

How do I qualify for a Companion Pass?

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To qualify for a Companion Pass, you will need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points or fly 100 Southwest Airlines qualifying one-way flights per calendar year. Points must be earned and posted to your Rapid Rewards account prior to the end of the calendar year in order to count toward Companion Pass qualification. Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned by making purchases with a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners.  Purchased points, 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.

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To qualify for a Companion Pass, you will need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points from any combination of Southwest Airlines flights and Rapid Rewards Partners per calendar year, or fly 100 Southwest Airlines qualifying one-way flights per calendar year. Points must be earned and posted to your Rapid Rewards account prior to the end of the calendar year in order to count toward Companion Pass qualification.

Companion Pass

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A Member who earns 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for Companion Pass.  Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners.  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.  Points earned during a billing cycle on a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase are not available for redemption or qualification for Companion Pass status until they are posted on your billing statement and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account.  Only points posted on your billing statements and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account during the same calendar year are available for qualification for Companion Pass status.  No points or Companion Pass Qualifying Points will be awarded for flights taken by the Companion using the Companion Pass.

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A Member who earns 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points through Rapid Rewards Partners or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for a Companion Pass. Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. Points purchased for personal use or as a gift, transferred points, 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. Points earned during a billing cycle on a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase are not available for redemption or qualification for Companion Pass status until they are posted on your billing statement and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account. Only points posted on your billing statements and posted to your Rapid Rewards Account during the same calendar year are available for qualification for Companion Pass status. No points or Companion Pass Qualifying Points will awarded for flights taken by the Companion using the Companion Pass.

Conclusion

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is valid for the current and the following membership year. This change affects those that had planned to convert hotel and other points at the beginning of January 2017 to take advantages of this pass for two years.

It would have been better, however, had Southwest Airlines given proper notice about this change to its Rapid Rewards members rather than changed the rules overnight.

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  • Chris Bergstrom

    What? That is so shady of Southwest. I’m A+Pref and have had Companion status for many years (except for 2016) and was going to transfer hotel points in this week. Now, Southwest switches the rules with no notice? This was the one perk that made me fly an airline with no business class. #lostalotofloyalty

    • Cameron

      Chris, I have referrals for Premier and Plus 50k bonus–you would need to either do 10k spend or 4k spend and earn 6k SW miles (one-two flights). You could re-qualify for the Companion Status by February.

      E-mail me if you want a referral link: camtravel@protonmail.com

    • They certainly should have given advance notice about this change. I am sure that some have made transfer that now don’t count towards the Companion Pass after this change.

  • Kevin James

    This is horrible. They should’ve notified customers before now. I had a lot of hotel points I was going to transfer. This will change my whole strategy. Thanks, John for the heads up for those of us who didnt even receive just as much as an email from them.

    • Cameron

      Kevin,
      If your new strategy is Chase Southwest Premier/Plus cards, let me know I have 50k referrals for both cards. My e-mail is camtravel@protonmail.com

    • Programs often don’t send out emails about negative changes to their program.

      • Kevin James

        I guess I should’ve realized that. I guess I just showed my ignoarnce. Thanks for showing me the ropes of this loyalty world!