Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
A-List and A-List Preferred give you priority over other fliers when you fly, so you can snag better seats and board more quickly, while Companion Pass is a lucrative deal that lets you bring a designated companion along for no additional airfare on all your Southwest flights for over a year.
Unfortunately, Southwest buries a lot of the details on how to earn status in the fine print of its website, but we’ve summarized what you need to know below.
Southwest uses two different kinds of point balances to track whether you qualify for A-List or Companion Pass status:
Keep in mind these are just balances for tracking purposes. They have nothing to do with the number of Rapid Rewards points you have available to book yourself award flights. And you can earn both kinds of qualifying points at the same time.
Your status earning goal clock starts ticking in January each year, and keeps running until December 31. Once you reach the goal, you’ll get your status for the remainder of the year, and all of the next year. So if you qualify really early in the year, you can enjoy status for almost two years.
Earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points OR fly 25 one-way flights (paid flights, not award tickets or flights where you’re a free companion)
Earn 70,000 Tier Qualifying Points OR fly 50 one-way flights (paid flights, not award tickets or flights where you’re a free companion)
Earn 110,000 Qualifying Points OR 100 one-way flights
Note that earning Companion Pass won’t earn you A-List status unless you earn enough A-List Tier Qualifying Points.
Basically, if you earn Companion Pass without much flying, you probably won’t get A-List status. But if you earn it mostly through flying, you’ll end up with both A-List and Companion Pass status.
What does NOT count toward A-list Tier Qualifying
NOTE: Points earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card hit your account after your statement has closed, not when you make a purchase. So if it’s close to the end of the year, there’s a risk your points will hit the account after December 31, and not count toward qualifying in the year you’re finishing off.
What will NOT count
Points you buy also don’t count.
As of March 31, 2017, transfers from hotel partners and car rental partners don’t count.
And bonus points from partners don’t count (though base points earned from partners do).
Here’s the official language:
“Purchased points, transferred points transferred between members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.”
Southwest generally won’t match your status from another airline program, but it may offer you a ‘challenge’ that asks you to complete some flights in a short period of time, and that can earn you status more quickly than completing a full year’s worth of requirements.
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