Beginning January 1, 2020, Southwest has announced that earning its coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly free with you for the life of the pass, is going to get a little bit harder.
Right now, you need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points to secure a Southwest Companion Pass, which is good from the time you earn it until the end of the FOLLOWING year.
Beginning January, 1, 2020, you’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points to get a pass.
Many of you are upset about this, but guys, I really don’t think this a big deal (feel free to disagree ;-)). In the grand scheme of things, another 15,000 Southwest points is NOT that hard to get, especially if you are open to applying for credit cards to earn the majority of your points.
You can also still earn the Southwest Companion Pass by completing 100 one-way flights, but I think that is unrealistic for most unless you fly frequently for travel.
The Companion Pass is STILL good from the time you earn it until the end of the FOLLOWING year.
How to Earn Another 15,000 Southwest Points
Each year, I manage to earn my Southwest Companion Pass for the next year without any new card sign-ups. Here’s how do it.
Off the top of my head (but we’re at Disney, folks, so I’m a bit tired and not as clear-headed as usual :)), here are some ways I would consider earning those 15,000 additional points:
- Apply for 1 or BOTH Southwest business cards. You can currently hold BOTH, and BOTH have 60,000-70,000-point offers. You’ll have to meet the $3,000-5$,000 minimum spend for both, so do so responsibly, but this is a viable option.
- Increased spending of everyday expenses on the Southwest card
- 1-2 more 10,000-point hotel rooms booked through SouthwestHotels.com (this will cost you something, but if you consider the Southwest Companion Pass saves us $8,000+ every year, I’m willing to spend a couple of $150 hotel nights for the extra points needed)
- Refer people to ANY Southwest card using your referral link to earn up to 50,000 points per year
- Better use of Rapid Rewards Shopping deals
Stay tuned next week for a more detailed post on my tips for how to earn these remaining points.
Other Southwest Changes
Southwest also announced several other fairly major changes recently as well.
A positive one is that now Southwest points will NEVER expire! This begins October 17, 2019.
Previously, they expired after 24 months of inactivity UNLESS you held a Southwest credit card, which also kept your points from ever expiring.
Second, Southwest is getting rid of Senior Fares beginning December 11, 2019.
This is really no major loss, as they were usually never as cheap as Wanna Get Away fares, but were REFUNDABLE. You can still book Anytime fares, which were usually about the same as Senior fares, if you want a fully REFUNDABLE fare.
Third, if you hold Southwest elite status and ever fly stand-by, they’ve said that beginning January 1, 2021, if you change your itinerary using same-day standby, you’ll be responsible for any additional government taxes and fees as a result of that change.
So, what you do you think guys? I know I’m just glad they still HAVE the Southwest Companion Pass. I am always worried they might get rid of it entirely!
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