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Lyn writes about flying on Southwest on her GotoTravelGal.com blog and has a free guide that walks you step-by-step through how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. The pass lets 1 person fly nearly free with you for up to 2 years, and Emily and I believe it’s the best deal in travel. Lyn discovered a great new Southwest promotion in her account recently, and I’ve asked her to share it with you!
Lyn: While I write a lot about flying Southwest, especially showing readers how to fly FREE on the airline, I usually don’t talk much about the airline’s elite status levels. Because my goal is to stretch miles and points as far as possible, so my family of 4 can ALL fly nearly free, traveling in First Class and elite benefits are not topics I think about. Sitting in the back of the plane is just fine with me, so long as it’s free. 😉
However, when I logged into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account earlier this week, I was surprised to find a promotion offering me Southwest A-List status, one of the airline’s elite status levels, after only 3 paid round-trip flights. Usually, to achieve A-List status, you need to fly 25 one-way flights. That’s a deal!
What Is Southwest A-List Status?
A-List elite status on Southwest is not quite the same as elite status on other major airlines. There are a few perks, but because Southwest doesn’t have Business Class seating, you don’t get special privileges like leather seats, eye masks, or a curtain to separate you from the masses. 😉
In addition to earning A-List through 25 paid one-way flights, you can also achieve it by accumulating 35,000 tier-qualifying points. Unfortunately, not much qualifies you for A-List aside from:
- Points earned on paid Southwest flights
- Spending on the Chase Southwest cards; however, you only earn 1,500 tier-qualifying points for every $10,000 in purchases on the card up to a max of 15,000 tier-qualifying points each qualification period
The Targeted A-List Promotion
The targeted promotion, which several of my readers found as well, offers A-List status after:
- 3 paid round-trip flights OR
- 6 paid one-way flights OR
- 8,750 tier-qualifying points earned
You’ll need to achieve one of these by April 30, 2018.
This A-List status will only be good through December 2018. Whereas if you earned it the traditional way, it would be good from the time you earn it until the end of the FOLLOWING year, or December 2019.
A-List Status Benefits
Here’s what you get with A-List status.
1. Priority Boarding
This means you are checked-in ahead of everyone else, who can’t check-in until 24 hours before departure.
2. 25% More Points per Flight
You will earn 25% more points per paid flight. So, if you purchased a Wanna Get Away (the cheapest) fare, which normally earns you 6 points per $1, you will earn another 1.5 points per $1 spent.
3. Fly by Access
Fly by Access is a special check-in line at the airport and also includes speedier security lane access where available. You’ll need to show your A-List card, awarded when you achieve A-List status, to access these special lines.
Some airports that offer Fly by include:
- Los Angeles
- New York-LaGuardia
- And many more!
4. Free Same-Day Standby
This benefit is for those who want to catch an earlier flight than originally booked, but on the same day. You’ll need to check with a customer service agent, and it must be a flight between the same cities you have already booked.
You can catch a later flight if there is a seat available, but you will pay the difference in fares. Same-day standby does not apply to anyone else traveling with you, unfortunately. Here are more details about Southwest’s standby policy.
5. Dedicated Phone Line
You’ll get a special number you can call to reach customer service, though I generally never have a problem getting a Southwest agent on the phone quickly even without A-List.
There is a higher elite tier on Southwest called A-List Preferred, which grants bigger perks like earning double points per paid flight and free in-flight Wi-Fi. It’s earned through 50 one-way paid flights or 70,000 tier-qualifying points.
How to See If You’ve Been Targeted
I discovered this offer when logging into my Southwest Rapid Rewards account at Southwest.com and then clicking on “My Account.”
From there, scroll down the lefthand side and click on the “Promotions“ tab.
If you see it, click on the promotion, then select the “Register“ button, as you’ll need to register in order to qualify.
And that’s it! You can start flying right away to qualify.
Is It Worth It?
Because we almost NEVER pay for Southwest flights, the main benefit for us to earn A-List would be the priority boarding. Right now, we pay $15 per way for Early Bird check-in for my husband, so he can check in before everyone else to receive a better boarding order and thus, improved seat selection, because he needs more legroom. So A-List elite status could replace that Early Bird for us. And could be worth it if you’re in a similar situation.
But to get it, we’d have to fly 3 paid round-trip flights out of Indianapolis (where we live). The cheapest flights from here right now are $49 per way to New York, which would cost us $300 if we took 3 flights to New York City to get Priority Boarding (to replace Early Bird) through the end of 2018.
Alternately, if we paid $300 for Early Bird check-in, that would get us 10 flights at $15 per way. And it’s doubtful we will fly more than that on Southwest this year. So we won’t complete the promotion unless we happen to need 3 paid flights before the end of April. 🙂
In my weekly round-up of the best Southwest flight deals checked every Tuesday, I saw some flights for only ~$29 out of major cities, so it’s possible to do 3 flights for ~$180, which would be equivalent to 6 Early Bird round-trip flights (at $15 each way).
Run the numbers and see if the perks of A-List are worth it to you!
You may be able to earn Southwest A-List elite status more quickly on Southwest through a targeted promotion. Check your Southwest account, and if you’re targeted, complete 3 paid flights by April 30, 2018, to earn the status.
Depending on your situation, this could be an easy way to see if you like flying as an elite passenger on Southwest!