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Southwest Airlines announced new enhancements to its Rapid Rewards™ program and unlike many times where you hear the word “enhancement” and something is devalued, this seems positive. For 2025 (qualifying activity in 2024), the thresholds for elite status have actually been lowered. Here are the changes that members can look forward to next year:
- Earn A-List and A-List Preferred Status Faster: Starting January 1st, Southwest Rapid Rewards™ members need to only fly 20 one-way qualifying flights (previously 25) or earn 35,000 tier qualifying points to reach A-List status. For A-List Preferred status, the numbers drop to 40 one-way qualifying flights (previously 50) or 70,000 tier qualifying points.
- Earn Tier Qualifying Points Faster with Southwest Rapid Rewards™ Credit Cards from Chase: Starting January 1st, Rapid Rewards™ credit cardmembers will receive 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $5,000 spent (previously $10,000) on purchases using their Rapid Rewards™ Premier, Premier Business, Priority, or Performance Business credit cards from Chase.
- Complimentary Premium Drinks for A-List Preferred Status: Starting on November 6th, A-List Preferred Members can receive up to two complimentary premium drinks per flight, added directly to their mobile boarding passes.
- Redeem with Cash + Points: Starting in the spring of 2024, Rapid Rewards™ members will have the option to pay for their flight with a combination of cash and points, starting with as few as 1,000 points.
Jonathan Clarkson, Vice President of Marketing at Southwest, told The Points Guy:
There’s been a shift from business to leisure travel, so these changes are more in line with what we’re seeing from those leisure passengers. There’s also more spend on our co-branded credit cards, so these changes seemed to make sense.”
Anthony’s Take: It’s rare to see positive changes with a loyalty program (just see Delta’s recent announcement for evidence of that). Southwest seems to be adapting to the new reality of its flyers and making changes to accommodate.
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