RewardExpert.com is an independent website that is supported by advertising. RewardExpert.com may be compensated by credit card issuers whose offers appear on the site. Because we are paid by our advertising partners it may impact placement of products on the site, including the order in which they appear. Not all available credit card issuers or card offers are included on the site.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Elite Status: How to Get it and What’s in it for You

icon-comments Comments

The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program is very different from those of legacy carriers. While the major U.S. airlines started making transitions to revenue-based programs last year, Rapid Rewards has been revenue-based for years. In addition, Southwest doesn’t have business class, and unlike most airlines, it offers perks like free checked baggage and free cancellation to all, and not just elite customers. So while Rapid Rewards does have elite tiers, its perks and benefits are quite different from other programs.

Earning Status

There are two elite levels and a special status in the Rapid Rewards program: A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass. Qualification requirements are as follows:

  • A-List: 25 one-way qualifying flights or 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points
  • A-List Preferred: 50 one-way qualifying flights or 70,000 Tier Qualifying Points
  • Companion Pass (not a separate tier, but a great benefit): 100 one-way qualifying flights or 110,000 Tier Qualifying Points

Two elite levels and a special status in the Rapid Rewards program
Two elite levels and a special status in the Rapid Rewards program

Upgrades

  • None: Southwest doesn’t have premium classes of service

Rapid Rewards Bonus Miles

  • A-List: 25% earning bonus
  • A-List Preferred: 100% earning bonus
  • Companion Pass: Partner flies for free

Fee Waivers

  • None

Airport Services

  • A-List and A-List Preferred:
    • Priority boarding
    • Priority check-in and security lane access
    • Standby priority
    • Dedicated A-List or A-List Preferred Member phone line.

Complimentary Lounge Access

  • None.

Notable Additional Rewards for Elite members

  • A-List Preferred:
    • Free Inflight WiFi
    • Companion Pass

Companion Pass

Companion Pass allows you to fly a partner for free. This is probably the most generous free ticket of its kind, since not only are there no fare restrictions, but you can also use it with an award flight. That means you can get two seats for the price of one award ticket.

Other Ways to Earn Status

Chase issues four Southwest credit cards that can help you get some tier qualifying points toward elite status.

Chase issues Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards
Chase issues Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards

You get 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 spent on the card, topped at 15,000 points per year. Note that these are not real Rapid Rewards points that you can use for award booking, but only status points.

However, since Southwest doesn’t have upgrades or lounges, which are the most valuable perks for frequent travelers, the Companion Pass appears to be the most valuable. And it’s easy to reach, too.

You can become eligible for the Companion Pass by accumulating 110,000 points per year in almost any way you want. You can get them by earning points with the Chase Southwest credit cards or transferring points from hotel programs with very few restrictions. As soon as you reach 110,000 Southwest points, you qualify for the Companion Pass, which is valid until the end of the next calendar year.

Please note that having the Companion Pass does not qualify you for A-List or A-List Preferred.

Status Match/Status Challenge

Southwest appears to offer Status Challenge on a case-to-case basis from domestic airlines. If you are approved for the challenge, you will probably get a 6-month A-List status and need to fly six one-way or three round-trip flights within 90 days. Send your request to RapidRewards@wnco.com.

Earning Elite Points on Partner Airlines

  • Not available

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

UGC Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

travel_card_main_banner_9
travel_cards_main_banner_1 travel_card_main_banner_3 travel_card_main_banner_5 travel_card_main_banner_7