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Expires Dec. 31: Status-match to Southwest for A-List elite status

Nov. 08, 2019
7 min read
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Elite status makes travel easier (and sometimes cheaper) and it's great when an airline makes it easy to match your status from one program to another. That's especially true during the holiday season when you may be traveling more than usual. Here's a chance to status-match Southwest's A-List elite status, but hurry -- the promotion ends Dec. 31, 2019.

Related: Best credit cards for Southwest flyers

Status match for Southwest elite status

Southwest is offering a status-match opportunity for its A-List elite status. This means if you have elite status with another airline, you can receive complimentary Southwest A-List elite status. This status match will be valid for 90 days and if, during that timeframe, you fly three paid round-trips (or six one-way trips), your status will be extended another 12 months. This promotion is not open to those who have used a promotional Southwest A-List match or offer in the last 12 months.

Southwest's Companion Pass is another valuable tool for frequent flyers. (Photo by The Points Guy.)

Combining both the easy-to-earn Companion Pass and elite status match will give you everything you've ever wanted with Southwest: Use your Rapid Rewards points to fly basically for free (or even transfer more from Chase Ultimate Rewards), use your Companion Pass to fly a friend or family member with you for just the cost of taxes/fees, board the plane early, scoot through airport security and earn bonus points by stacking these opportunities.

A-List status benefits

Typically, you need to fly 25 qualifying flights or earn 35,000 tier-qualifying points to earn Southwest A-List status. Being handed the status without having to fulfill any requirements other than matching from another airline is a good offer. Sure, Southwest elite status won't get you an upgraded business-class seat or lounge access, but it still carries very real perks.

Southwest A-List benefits include:

  • Priority boarding
  • 25% point-earning bonus
  • Free same-day standby for an earlier flight
  • Priority check-in and security lane access
  • Dedicated A-List member phone line

My favorite benefits are the priority boarding and free same-day standby. Southwest has an open-seating policy and you board the plane based on your boarding number. (Here's how to score the best seats when flying Southwest.) Of course, you can always pay for EarlyBird Check-in or an upgraded boarding position, but that costs money. Having priority boarding means you’ll receive a boarding number 36 hours prior to your flight, instead of the 24-hour mark that applies to general check-in. It will almost guarantee you an A boarding group number, which means you have your pick of most seats on the plane. Southwest's no-assigned-seats policy gives some flyers anxiety but knowing that you have first dibs at seats helps.

Southwest usually has a pretty strict policy when it comes to trying to take an earlier flight on the day of travel. United, for example, would charge a flat $75 for a same-day flight change, but in order to go standby on Southwest you have to pay the difference between your previous fare and the going rate for an earlier flight, which is likely to be much higher on the day of travel than when you purchased the ticket. Since same-day fares can be quite expensive, being able to fly standby with no added cost by having A-List status is very valuable. Just keep in mind though that your traveling companion(s) will not inherit your A-List status benefits and they will not be able to go standby with you for free. They will need to request their own A-List status matches to access these benefits.

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Board your Southwest flight before the A group. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.)

Requesting Southwest A-List status

Southwest makes it easy to get your status match. To status-match, send an email to and include the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards number
  • Screen shot of current elite status with a U.S.-based carrier other than Southwest Airlines

When I took advantage of this promotion earlier this year, my account was updated within five days of sending the email, though the terms state it can take 12 business days. Since this promotion is set to run through Dec. 31, 2019, be strategic regarding when you request the status. Find a time period where you actually have three round-trip flights within a 90-day period and match your status before that time. Or, if you are just looking to try the status for 90 days, wait until a week or two before your upcoming Southwest flights to submit the status match.

The one caveat to this promotion is that your qualifying flights (if you are looking to maintain status for an additional 12 months) must be booked after you are registered for this promotion. If you already have flights booked and they have not increased in price, you can always cancel and rebook after you receive the confirmed enrollment email back from Southwest. (Note: You cannot simply re-price your flight for it to qualify as you'll need an entirely new confirmation number.)

Pairing status with points earning

If you'd like to work on increasing your Southwest Rapid Rewards balance, look to any of these cobranded Southwest credit cards (listed here with their current welcome bonuses):

  • Up to 75,000-point welcome bonus; 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months account is open. Plus, earn an additional 35,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months account is open.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
  • 70,000-point welcome bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months:
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

Bottom line

Southwest is making it easy for travelers to fly in comfort for the holidays. This match for Southwest elite status could help you get the best seat for your long international or Hawaii flight without having to pay anything more for a better boarding position. If you have any elite status with Delta, American, United, JetBlue, Alaska, Hawaiian or Frontier Airlines, jump on this offer if you have Southwest flights in your travel plans.

Learn more about Southwest here:

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.