Southwest extends companion pass and qualifying period by a month

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Gary at View from the Wing reports that Southwest Airlines is making a couple of customer-friendly moves to extend Companion Pass benefits and the qualifying period for elite status. Obviously Southwest has a lot of work cut out for it in terms of regaining its footing, but this is another small step in the right direction.

Gary reports that Southwest will:

  • Extend the elite-qualifying period for 2022 status to include January 2023. In other words, if you have been earning toward A-list or A-list preferred but you ended up a segment or two short because of last week’s cancellations, you’re in luck — January 2023 travel will count along with your 2022 activity. Note that January will also count toward earning status in 2023 (for 2024).
  • Extend Companion Passes that are set to expire on 12/31/22 to now expire on 1/31/23. While it’s just one extra month, it means that those who missed out on a last chance to use their expiring Companion Pass will now get an extended last dance with it. Note that I don’t think this is reflecting yet in accounts, but I expect it will by 1/1.

January travel won’t save Christmas 2022, but an extra month of time to use a Companion Pass or earn status borne out of a disruption that lasted just about a week seems like a reasonable start towards making things right by customers. It certainly won’t be “enough” to wipe away all of the ill will they earned this past week, but I’m glad to see them get started with something.

While I understand Gary’s reporting to mean that the elite-qualifying period has been extended in terms of the chance to earn A-list or A-list Preferred status will be extended until the end of January, I don’t know whether they are also extending the time period to earn a Companion Pass. I expect that the extra month-long qualifying period will apply not only to earning A-list status but probably also apply to earning a Companion Pass (it certainly should). If you are a few thousand miles short of a Companion Pass, it looks like you might be getting an extra month.

So far, Southwest has stated that they will reimburse reasonable expense requests related to their meltdown and now they offer this extension. We haven’t yet seen what Southwest considers reasonable (the email we got said that we’d hear back within 10 days) and this extra month won’t be enough to erase the frustration of many (and it does nothing for those who weren’t chasing status and had no companion pass). But I’m glad to see them continue to do something. As Gary suggests, I certainly hope to see more — hopefully including an accelerated path toward status and/or a Companion Pass in 2023.

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Kevin Wrede

Has anyone seen their account reset to January 31, 2023 exp for their 2022 CP? I don’t see it.

Laurie

Nope. I called yesterday and they told me they have to enter all the companion pass extensions manually. The rep couldn’t tell me when that would be done. Frustrating

Brent Youngs

I have called every day asking for the extension and have 12 open case from the 1st and have not received one phone call back.I have had companion pass every year for the last nine years and earned over 2,000,000 points and southwest still won’t call me back. 

Mohammad Yousuf

Great flight

Pbjclimber

I plan on earning a companion pass in January. It would get slightly confusing if you could earn both a 2022 and a 2023 companion pass in January

Neil

I expect to get CP on Jan 18. I found myself wondering if there is any chance that WN will now say that I earned the CP pass for 2022 and then only have it for 2023?? Seems unlikely but it does create a strange overlap as I imagine not a lot of people earn CP in January.

Chister

The expected date to get CP, is that the end of the statement date, or the payment due date? Thanks.

Nathan

It was actually my last minute two status qualifying fights that were canceled in Hawaii (still weather related… hmm). But yea, made out with extra money and points.

patrick

Nick…
Here’s what I got in response to an email i sent to SWA about my flight being cancelled and it was going to be #25 that got me to A-list status.

“…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.)
Additionally, we are identifying Members whose disrupted travel would have qualified them for A-List, or A-List Preferred, and/or Companion Pass in 2023, and will provide further communication soon…”

I like that last bolded (not mine, theirs) section the best.

Robert

I’m glad they’re only helping those who would have requalified had their scheduled trips happened.
Multiple years in a row now WN had penalized me for earning companion pass early, I’m really getting tired of it. They consistently push out end dates at the last minute, what point is long term loyalty if they continually reward the last minute loyal flyers?

Chister

Wouldn’t it benefit you too if SW push out end dates for the companion pass?

Say you had CP for 2021 and 2022. With the push out, now you have it for an extra month of Jan 2023.

Robert

Since I’ve already requalified for 2023 the only thi.ng that would benefit me is if they pushed my expiration date to Jan 31 2024. But WN doesn’t think like that, they don’t want to already help the truly loyal customer