This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.
There are several Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards changes you should be aware of. The good news is that your Rapid Rewards points no longer expire. However, it’s now harder to earn the Southwest Companion Pass plus fees and taxes must be paid for same-day standby flights.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Changes
The Companion Pass changes go into effect on January 1, 2020. Southwest begins passing on the same-day standby government fees and taxes starting January 1, 2021.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the various Rapid Rewards changes.
Rapid Rewards Points Don’t Expire
Your Southwest Rapid Rewards points no longer expire starting October 17, 2019. This used to be standard policy for the major airlines. Now, Southwest Rapid Rewards and Delta SkyMiles are two of the very few programs with a no expiration policy (unless you own a co-brand airline credit card of course).
Southwest Companion Pass
Starting January 1, 2020, you will either need to earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 one-way qualifying flights within a calendar year to get the standard Southwest Companion Pass.
To earn the pass in 2021, you need to earn 125,000 points or fly 100 one-way flights. Once you earn the pass, it’s good for the rest of the current calendar year and all of next year. Earning the standard Companion Pass in 2021 means it expires on December 31, 2022.
Southwest Airlines Credit Card Purchases Qualify
Every Rapid Rewards point you earn from the best Southwest credit cards (and the credit card signup bonuses if you qualify) count toward the annual point requirement.
Any points your transfer from a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card or another travel loyalty program don’t qualify.
If you want to maximize your Rapid Reward point-earning potential, consider applying for one of these two Southwest Airlines credit cards.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most benefit-rich personal credit card.
Cardholders earn 2x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases. Non-bonus purchases earn 1x point per $1 spent.
New cardholders can earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 3x points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
You also get 7,500-anniversary points each card renewal, an annual $75 Southwest travel credit, and 4 Upgraded Bookings per year (when available).
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
One of the best small business credit cards for airline miles is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card. Get 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x points for online advertising and Internet, cable and phone services, and 1x point for everything else.
You also get 9,000 bonus points each card anniversary, 365 annual inflight WiFi credits, and 4 Upgraded Bookings each year (when available). If you need, your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee is reimbursed.
New Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card cardmembers can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
Same-Day Standby Fees and Taxes
On January 1, 2021, you will start paying government fees and taxes for same-day fees and taxes. There won’t be any Southwest Airline-imposed charges when this change goes into effect.
Despite this additional cost, flying standby is still cheaper with Southwest than other airlines. For instance, you may pay up to $75 for standby status with other legacy airlines.
What Remains the Same
The following Rapid Rewards perks are not changing:
- First 2 checked bags fly free
- One free carry-on and personal item
- No blackout dates when redeeming Rapid Rewards for award flights
- No change fees or cancellation fees
- Free in-flight entertainment
All of these Rapid Rewards changes aren’t exactly going to be welcomed with open arms. However, Southwest Airlines is still a low-cost leader if you live near a hub. The good news is that your Rapid Rewards points no longer expire. For the other changes, you have to time to prepare and adjust your travel patterns as needed.
- 7 Best Miles Credit Cards for October 2019
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs Southwest Credit Card
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards & Ultimate Rewards to See Hawaii
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.