Southwest is changing its Companion Pass and Rewards programs

Southwest shakes up its rewards program.
Southwest plane

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Some bad (and good) news for Southwest customers: the beloved low-cost airline is introducing some major changes to its rewards programs

Southwest’s popular Companion Pass has long allowed frequent flyers to travel with a partner at no additional cost. Now, earning the pass will be a bit more difficult. Starting in 2023, flyers will need to have 135,000 points to qualify for the pass instead of the current 125,000. Members must also fly on at least 100 qualifying flights.

On the bright side, the points can be earned in many ways including making purchases on the airline’s shopping portal or spending on cobranded credit cards. People who open a new cobranded credit card will automatically get 10,000 points. That number is no coincidence, given that it’s the exact amount of points Southwest is raising its rewards threshold by. 

Another plus is that Companion Pass holders will now be able to board together, which is a huge relief given that Southwest seats are first come, first serve. The Dallas-based carrier also hinted that there will be even more new ways to earn Rapid Rewards but they didn’t offer much more than that teaser. 

All, in all, the threshold to earn that Companion Pass might be larger, but making up the difference seems doable. I’m going to defer to Steven, our resident points expert, and ask him to share some more tips on finessing the points system in this week’s Smart Points newsletter.

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