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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

There are fewer ways nowadays to earn the 110,000 points required to get a Southwest Companion Pass. But TPG reader Alex wondered if having Southwest elite status might make things a little bit easier?

Do the double points from A-List Preferred count toward Companion Pass?

TPG Reader Alex

When you purchase a ticket on Southwest, you’ll normally earn more points per dollar by buying more expensive fares. The cheapest Wanna Get Away fares earn 6 points per dollar, while the more pricey Anytime tickets get 10 points per dollar and Business Select fares earn the most at 12 points per dollar.

But if you have either A-List or A-List Preferred status on Southwest, you’ll get extra bonus points on top of those base points. A-List members get a 25% bonus on points earned from flying, while A-List Preferred elites earn a full 100% bonus on each flight. So if you’re A-List Preferred and earning double points on all your Southwest flights, you would think that’d mean you’d earn a Companion Pass in half the time, right?

Well, not quite. While Southwest Rapid Rewards is a single loyalty program, within that program are essentially three distinct types of points: redeemable points, Tier Qualifying Points and Companion Pass-qualifying points. And just because a particular activity counts as one type of point doesn’t mean it always counts as the others as well.

In this case, what we’re interested in knowing is what types of points count as Companion Pass-qualifying. We can find out by taking a close look at the Southwest Companion Pass terms and conditions:

Companion Pass qualifying points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest®, points issued on Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners in a calendar year. Purchased points, points transferred between Members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club, points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and Partner bonus points (excluding bonus points earned on the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass qualifying points. [emphasis added]

And if there’s any confusion about what constitutes tier bonus points, Southwest has clarified that in its community forum:

IMG-sw-tier-bonus-points-definition

So unfortunately the answer is no — your A-List or A-List Preferred bonus points will not count toward the Companion Pass. As of now, the only points that do count are the base 6-12 points per dollar spent from flying, base points earned from Southwest partners like Rapid Rewards Dining and the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal, and points earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards.

While you won’t be able to get a Companion Pass any faster with your A-List Preferred status, Alex, in the meantime you can always use those extra bonus points you’re earning to book award tickets for your companion. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, send us a message on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images.

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