No flying necessary: Earn Southwest elite status by just spending on a credit card

May 4, 2020

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In recent weeks, most of the major U.S. airlines announced elite status extensions to the relief of grounded frequent flyers everywhere. This includes expedited ways to hit elite status due to the effects of coronavirus on travel.

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Southwest is one such airline, extending elite status through the end of 2021 and extending companion pass benefits through June 2021. Additionally, Southwest announced a boost for all Rapid Rewards members this year, making it easier to qualify for status and hit companion pass requirements.

On the elite status front, members will receive 15,000 tier qualifying points (TPQs) and 10 flight credits towards A-List and A-List Preferred status. This effectively drops the requirements for status to the following:

  • A-List Status: 20,000 more tier qualifying points or 15 more flights
  • A-List Preferred Status: 55,000 more tier qualifying points or 45 more flights

Related reading: What is Southwest elite status worth?

Southwest new elite status offer

As of today, Southwest will now also allow you to earn all of your TPQs through spending on select Southwest cobranded credit cards. Here are the key points to know:

  • Unlike before, there’s no cap on tier qualifying points earned with the Southwest cards.
  • Southwest will double the number of TQPs earned from 1,500 to 3,000 for every $10,000 in spend.

This offer is eligible for existing Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card cardmembers and applies for any credit card spend between the first day of your billing cycle ending in May 2020 and the last day of your billing cycle ending in December 2020. The information for the Southwest Premier Business and the Southwest Performance Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

In practice, this means that if you’re starting completely from scratch, you’ll be able to hit A-List Status by spending $70,000 or hit A-List Preferred Status by spending $240,000 on one of these cards. Of course, we’re not recommending you go out right now and do that, but it makes for a compelling case to use a Southwest card if you were aiming to reach for status anyways. 

Of course, you also earn TPQs from flying and can combine that with your credit card spending:

  • Wanna Get Away fares: 6 TQPs per dollar spent on base fares (excluding taxes and fees)
  • Anytime fares: 10 TQPs per dollar spent
  • Business Select fares: 12 TQPs per dollar spent

Related reading: Current bonus offers on Southwest credit cards

Bottom line

Get priority boarding with Southwest A-List status (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In recent weeks, we’ve seen major card issuers and cobrand partners alike try to entice customers during a time when people are being cautious with their spending habits. The times have changed, and credit card companies are eager for your business.

This credit card promotion from Southwest is valid through the rest of 2020, whether you fly or not. Southwest is joining other airlines like United and American in making it easier to earn elite status through cobranded card spending. In United’s case, it’s a bonus PQP promotion for cardholders. For American flyers, it opens the door to help reach Million Miler status.

Related reading: Southwest consumer cardmembers will also earn 3x points on groceries

Featured photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Earn 2 points per $1 on Southwest and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. This card also comes with an annual $75 travel credit.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$149
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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