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Southwest Airlines suffered catastrophic cancellations over the Christmas holidays. Now, Southwest is working to compensate members and reunite lost bags. In an effort to help travelers affected by its mass cancellations, Southwest is offering an extension to the validity of expiring Companion Pass and A-List status.
Plus, travelers will get an extra month to qualify for a 2023 Companion Pass and/or A-List status. Both of these extensions are available to all Rapid Rewards members — whether or not you were impacted by cancellations. Here's what you need to know about these extensions.
2022 Companion Pass & A-List Extension
Southwest is extending the validity of 2022 Companion Pass and A-List elite status (set to expire on December 31, 2022) through the end of January 2023. That means existing Companion Pass members can enjoy another month of buy-one-get-one-almost-free travel for another month. Plus, A-List status members — who didn't requalify in 2022 — will enjoy another month of perks.
Many affected Rapid Rewards members should already see this extension coded in their accounts. For others, Southwest should see this extension added soon.
One traveler reported getting this email from Southwest about this extension:
In an effort to ease your travel experience, we have extended your 2022 Companion Pass®, and/or A-List, or A-List Preferred status through January 31, 2023. This extension will allow you to complete your disrupted travel with your current tier status. (If you have requalified for tier status in 2023, your previously earned expiration date will supersede the January 31, 2023 extended expiration.)
2023 Companion Pass Qualification Extension
Additionally, Rapid Rewards members will get another month to earn a Companion Pass for 2023. This extension is clutch for those that were counting on earning the Companion Pass over the holidays. However, it's worth noting that this extension is available to all Rapid Rewards members — even if you weren't impacted by Southwest's cancellations.
The Southwest Companion Pass is good for the calendar year and the following year in which it is earned. However, that's not the case for this extension. If you earn at least 125,000 qualifying points between January 1, 2022 and January 31, 2023, you'll earn the Southwest Companion Pass through December 31, 2023.
Impact on earning 2024 Companion Pass
If you're planning to earn the Southwest Companion Pass in 2023, you might wonder what impact this extension will have on your plans. AwardWallet confirmed with Southwest that all earning activity in January 2023 will also count toward your 2024 Companion Pass (earned in 2023, valid through 2024).
That means you don't have to worry about delaying activity — such as a new Southwest credit card sign-up bonus — until February 2023. This double-dip makes January 2023 an excellent time to earn a Southwest credit card sign-up bonus.
- Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
- Earn 4X pts on Southwest® purchases.
- Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
- Earn 2X points on rideshare.
- Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
- 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
- Member FDIC
- 4X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases
- 3X points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners
- 2X points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
- 2X points per $1 spent on rideshare
- 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Could Southwest Do More?
While these extensions are a nice gesture, it's not going to appease all travelers. After all, flights in January are typically much cheaper than the holiday flights pass holders may have lost.
Plus, Southwest recently rewarded any traveler that flew a round-trip with a two-month Companion Pass for January-February 2023. So, it would be nice if Southwest offered the same to flyers that earned the Companion Pass the hard way.
It's also worth noting that Southwest may be compensating members by crediting canceled flights toward Companion Pass or elite status earnings. Southwest informed some travelers that it would be in touch with travelers who were in this situation.
The thousands of cancellations in the past week by Southwest Airlines certainly haven't been good — especially for a company that has been known to be one of the best airlines.
This Companion Pass and A-List extension is just one of the announcements Southwest has made to pacify customers. Southwest pledges to reimburse “reasonable expenses” is waiving the fare difference on changes for new flights within 30 days of the canceled flight.
It will probably take months before Southwest covers its stature and prestige. At least the Companion Pass extension will help with any rescheduled flights over the next month.
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