Southwest Airlines will make it easier to earn status in its Rapid Rewards loyalty programme next year and introduce new perks for current status holders.
For travel in 2024, the airline will lower the number of qualifying flights needed to achieve both A-List and A-List Preferred status and make it easier to earn points with qualifying credit cards, Southwest said. In addition, the airline will add new benefits for current A-List Preferred members.
“We’re making our award-winning Rapid Rewards programme even stronger by adding new enhancements to our loyalty programme to make it even easier for members to earn and enjoy their benefits,” said Jonathan Clarkson, vice president of marketing for Southwest Airlines, in a statement. “By lowering tier requirements and allowing credit card spending to count twice toward tier requirements, we’re able to deepen engagement with our brand and co-branded credit cards while maintaining the core program values our customers know and love – including unlimited award seats, no blackout dates and points that never expire.”
Beginning 1 January 2024, travellers will be able to earn A-List status by flying 20 qualifying one-way flights, down from the current 25, or by earning 35,000 qualifying tier points. Travellers will be able to earn A-List Preferred status by flying 40 one-way qualifying flights, down from the current 50, or by earning 70,000 tier qualifying points.
Passengers with a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card from Chase will also be able to earn those tier qualifying points faster next year by earning 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $5,000 they spend, down from the current $10,000 they must spend for the same reward. This applies to purchases made with Chase’s Rapid Rewards Premier, Premier Business, Priority or Performance Business credit cards.
In addition, beginning November 6, Southwest will reward current A-List Preferred members with up to two complimentary premium beverages per flight added directly to their mobile boarding pass.
And starting next spring, the airline will allow all Rapid Rewards members to pay for a trip with a combination of cash and points, with as little as 1,000 points applied to the bill.
Although the airline did not announce any updates to its popular Companion Pass program, travellers who fly with the airline through 30 November can now earn double Companion Pass qualifying points on their flights.
The changes to Southwest’s loyalty programme come weeks after Delta Air Lines announced its own changes to make it harder to earn status in 2024, which Delta CEO Ed Bastian has since said may have gone “too far”. Following that announcement, competitors including Alaska Airlines and JetBlue agreed to match status levels for Delta customers.