Southwest just announced some major changes to their Rapid Reward program. There’s good news and bad news.
Let’s start with the bad news:
Starting in January 2020, Rapid Rewards members will need to earn 125,000 points within a calendar year to qualify for the famous Companion Pass. That’s up from 110,000 points.
If you’re aiming to earn the Companion Pass in 2019, you’re not affected. The requirement is still 110,000 points.
You can still earn the Companion Pass by completing 100 one-way flights in a calendar year — that number won’t change in 2020.
Points earned through the Southwest credit cards still count toward the 125,000-point threshold.
And the good news:
Effective immediately, Rapid Rewards points no longer expire. That’s a great benefit, especially for infrequent Southwest travelers.
It’s good to see Southwest join United, Delta and JetBlue in removing those annoying point and mile expirations. And we appreciate any airline that’s willing to throw some sweet news in with the sour.
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That said, the 15,000-mile increase in the Companion Pass threshold is tough no matter how you slice it, especially since for many, the news comes too late in the year to take advantage of the lower 2019 requirement.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide How to maximize your Southwest card sign-up bonus