Many travelers were wondering what would happen to their very valuable Southwest Companion Pass in light of the coronavirus travel restrictions. Fortunately, Southwest has finally made this information known though it may not be for as long as they were hoping for. Here is the information on the Southwest extensions.
Southwest Extensions for the Companion Pass and More
Link: Southwest Extensions
Extensions and Help for Elite Status and the Companion Pass
For the legendary Southwest Companion Pass, Southwest is extending until June 30, 2021. This is not a full year extension but for those travelers that had their Pass expiring December 31, 2020, it gives you a solid extra 6 months. This also may change if travel is substantially disrupted past June 30 of this year.
For current A-List and A-List Preferred Members, they are extending your current earned status through December 31, 2021. This means that you can continue to enjoy that elite status for another year. For all members, they are giving all Rapid Rewards Members a “boost” of 15,000 tier qualifying points and 10 flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred status
Southwest Companion Pass Is Easier This Year – At Least for Credit Card Customers
For those that were trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass this year for this year and next year, Southwest is giving you a bit of a boost. The new requirement of 125,000 points was in place for this year but they are giving everyone a boost of 25,000 points and 25 flight credits towards the Pass. These points are not points to spend but it effectively lowers that Companion Pass requirement this year to 100,000 points.
This is actually a very helpful thing since you can get those 100,000 points through credit card points. That includes sign-up bonuses on current cards, spending, and even referral bonuses! My wife is at 50,000 points this year just through referral points!
New Expiration on Some Travel Funds
Here is what they are doing for travel funds:
- Customers’ funds that have expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020, will now expire September 7, 2022.
- Any travel funds created because you cancel a flight between March 1 – September 7, 2020, will expire September 7, 2022.
This is the example they give:
- Your original unused travel funds with confirmation number OLD111 expired on March 19, 2020.
- These unused travel funds were extended to an expiration date of September 7, 2022.
- You use some of those funds on August 1, 2020 to book new travel in September under confirmation number NEW111.
- If for some reason you need to cancel this new flight, your unused travel funds associated with confirmation number NEW111 will be valid for 12 months from the booking date which means they will expire August 1, 2021.
- Any remaining unused travel funds tied to OLD111 will be available through September 7, 2022.
Plus, if you decide you want to convert the travel funds, you can do that as well. Here is how this works:
Those Members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020 will have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today.
I am sure there will be many Southwest customers unhappy without an extension of a full year for the Companion Pass. But, I think it is a reasonable measure given where travel is today. If travel starts up very slowly, they may even extend it further until like September of next year. But, unlike elite status, the Companion Pass represents loss ticket revenue each time it is used.