Gaining elite status in the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program will be a little easier in 2021. The company announced a boost for all members and adjustments to a number of qualifying activities.
We’re in a virtuous cycle of recovery: our Customers continue to support Southwest Airlines by flying and engaging with us, while we aspire to remain their airline of choice as their travel needs continue to evolve… Our goal every day is to make it easier for Customers to enjoy the benefits they’ve earned, and to earn future benefits for when they are ready to travel.
– Jonathan Clarkson, Southwest Airlines Managing Director of Marketing for Loyalty, Partnerships, and Products
Boosting Rapid Rewards accounts
Rather than changing the qualification requirements akin to several other programs Southwest will pre-load the qualification counters for all members in the program. Every member will see the following credits applied to their accounts:
- 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points (TQPs)
- 25,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points (CPQPs)
- 10 qualifying one-way flight segments towards Tier Status
- 25 qualifying one-way flights towards Companion Pass
Typically qualifying for A-List status requires 35,000 points or 25 segments. The bonus credit drops that by about 40%.
For A-List Preferred qualification the requirements double, but the bonus stays the same. Getting to the higher Rapid Rewards tier will also be easier in 2021, but not as much easier.
Qualifying for the Companion Pass requires 100 segments or 125,000 points. The increased boost helps make that tier a little more attainable.
Separately, the company announced that Companion Pass qualifiers in 2019 who previously saw their pass extended through the middle of 2021 will now be eligible to use the pass for the full calendar year.
Partners matter more for Rapid Rewards in 2021
While the bonus will help some passengers the overall travel numbers are still expected to be depressed though the year. Rapid Rewards chose to open up additional partner earning options to help offset that challenge.
Most notable is the removal of a cap on qualifying earning based on the co-brand credit card. Members earn 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 in spend on the card. That is typically capped at $100,000 in spending annually. For 2021 that cap no longer applies. Members can earn A-List or A-List Preferred status through the initial bonus and credit card spend alone, though that’s a minimum of $140,000 in charges.
The credit card spend already counted towards Companion Pass earning.
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