Southwest Airlines Status and Challenge Guide

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It is common for airlines to offer some sort of status challenge or status match program, to attract frequent flyers who are loyal to competing airlines but are considering switching. In the United States, most major airlines offer some sort of status match challenge opportunity, including Alaska, Delta, and United. In this article, I wanted to take a look at the program offered by Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Status Match to January 2022

Southwest Rapid Rewards has released a Status Match Challenge program. With this program, your elite status with virtually any other airline in the United States can be associated with Southwest A-List status for a period of 90 days. Then, depending on a number of flights taken during this period, your status can be extended for another 12 months.

Southwest offers an A-List status match challenge

What status will Southwest Airlines have?

Southwest Rapid Rewards will match elite status with any competing airline in the United States. I understand that all elite levels of competitors can be matched with A-List status (there is no match available for A-List Preferred).

Once you successfully register for a Southwest Rapid Rewards A-List Status Match Challenge, your status will be valid for 90 days and may be extended based on further qualifying activities.

How do you maintain Southwest A-List status?

You can maintain your Southwest A-List status beyond the 90-day period by completing six one-way trips (or three round trips) during this trial period.

The downside is that you not only have to take those six one-way flights within 90 days, but the flights also have to be booked within that time frame. This is a rather frustrating restriction that you don’t see in other programs.

For context, Southwest A-List status typically requires 25 one-way flights per year, so the requirement of six one-way flights over 90 days is roughly proportional.

Maintain Southwest status with six one-way flights

How long is South West List A status valid?

Beyond the initial 90-day trial period, you can extend your status for an additional 12 months after meeting the status challenge requirements. It’s not based on the calendar year, so there’s no need to issue a status challenge at a certain time in order to maximize value.

How do I request a status match with Southwest Airlines?

Requesting a Southwest A-List status match is easy. Just send an e-mail [email protected] with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Quick Rewards Number
  • Screenshot of your current elite status with a US-based carrier

There are a few other things to note when applying:

  • Approval of a status match request can take up to 12 business days
  • Current A-List members whose status expires are not eligible for this offer
  • This offer may be repeated, but is not available to those who have received A-List promotional status within the past 12 months
  • I’ve stated this above, but it’s worth pointing out – only flights booked after signing up for the offer are eligible, so previously booked trips are not eligible

What are the benefits of Southwest A-List status?

What are the benefits of Southwest A-List status like?

  • Priority boarding for you and everyone else on your reservation (you will automatically receive a priority boarding position 36 hours in advance)
  • 25% bonus points for each qualifying flight
  • Free same-day monitoring
  • Priority check-in and security lane access
  • A-List Dedicated Phone Number

As you can see, the benefits of the elite are somewhat limited compared to other US airlines. This is because Southwest does not have first class and already offers all passengers two free checked bags. But you get priority boarding, bonus points, and some airport perks, which are better than nothing when traveling southwest.

Enjoy priority check-in as an A-List member

Is a Southwest Status Match Challenge worth it?

There are pros and cons to the Southwest Airlines Status Challenge Program:

  • On the plus side, you can enter the challenge multiple times over the years, so it’s not a “once in a lifetime” situation.
  • The downside to Southwest’s Status Challenge is that you not only have to take a certain number of flights within 90 days, but also book within that timeframe, which is quite restrictive.

If you have a significant number of upcoming trips to the Southwest, then participating in a status challenge could make a lot of sense.

How do I earn the Southwest Companion Pass?

While not a traditional elite tier, Southwest also offers a Companion Pass, which is quite lucrative. With this, you can take a companion with you for just the cost of taxes and fees, whether you pay cash or redeem points. This usually requires 125,000 qualifying points in a year.

There’s no way to match status to this, although the good news is that the Companion Pass can be fairly easy to earn. The good news is that points earned from Southwest co-branded credit cards are eligible for the Companion Pass, and that even includes welcome bonuses. This includes the following cards:

In some cases, you can get most of the time to earn a companion pass with just one credit card welcome bonus.

The companion pass can be easily earned with credit cards

At the end of the line

Southwest Airlines offers a Status Match Challenge program, where you can receive A-List status for a period of 90 days, and you can extend it for 12 months after completing six one-way flights. This is a very good opportunity, especially since you can take advantage of it several times.

Have any OMAAT readers taken part in a South West status challenge? If so, what was your experience?


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