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HomeCredit cardsHow To Accumulate Southwest Airlines Tier Points While On The Ground

How To Accumulate Southwest Airlines Tier Points While On The Ground

Summary Elite status qualifying Tier Points are earned through flying or credit card spending only.
Tier Qualifying Points for elite status can be earned with several co-branded credit cards.
Other non-flying activities do not earn elite status qualifying points, but could help qualify for the valuable Companion Pass.
Rapid Rewards is the loyalty program of Southwest Airlines. Although the airline is regarded as low-cost, its loyalty program has evolved to become a solid and rewarding option for Southwest Airlines flyers.
Elite status offers tangible benefits when flying Southwest Airlines. Like all loyalty programs, the main way to earn Tier Points towards elite status is by flying (in this case, only with Southwest). Credit card spending can go a long way in helping – but no other non-flying activities will earn elite qualifying points.
Tier Points to earn status
Elite status earning in Rapid Rewards is based on Tier Qualifying Points. These are awarded in the same way as standard (spendable) Rapid Rewards Points, but only certain types of spending are classified as Tier Qualifying Points.
There are just two elite status levels in the Rapid Rewards program, awarded with increasing levels of flying or other points earning. These are called A-List and A-List Preferred. These require the following earnings over a year;
A-List status: 25 flights or 35,000 qualifying points.
A-List Preferred status: 50 flights or 70,000 qualifying points.
Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock
Love learning about points and miles? Read more of our loyalty news and guides here .
Earning Tier Qualifying Points with credit cards
Besides flying, credit card spending is the only way to earn Tier Qualifying Points. Use of the following co-branded credit cards will earn Tier Qualifying Points:
Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Photo: Southwest Airlines
The earning of Tier Qualifying Points from spending is different from the earning of standard (redeemable) points. Standard points are earned based on spending – all cards will earn at least one Rapid Rewards point per dollar spent, with several additional bonus categories. Tier Qualifying Points are earned in increments, with no bonus point categories.
Earning from all cards is as follows:
1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $5,000 in spending.
Note that this earning rate was recently doubled – it used to be 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in spending.
This can be a great way to expedite elite status earnings if fully utilized. Of course, there are plenty of choices for credit cards, and very regular travelers may choose to take out other cards to earn rewards with other programs. However, committed Southwest users who use a card as their main spending choice could do well.
It would still, of course, be difficult to earn elite status just from cards. In reality, this would not really make sense, as anyone who values Rapid Rewards status would be flying as well!
Read about the best airline credit cards in the US market in 2024
What does not earn Tier Qualifying Points
There are many other ways to earn points with Rapid Rewards. It is important to realize, though, that these points will not qualify for elite status. Other than flying and credit card spending, no other points earned are elite status qualifying. This includes the numerous ways to earn standard points without flying, including:
Bonus points from flights (only the base points are elite qualifying).
Purchased or gifted points.
Points from any other Rapid Rewards partners (including hotel, dining, car hire, and retail options).
Points transferred into the Rapid Rewards program from other sources (such as other credit card reward programs).
Related The Different Ways To Earn Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points With Rapid Rewards, you can earn points with Southwest Airlines plus through a network of non-flying partners.
Elite status with Southwest Airlines
Once you have elite status, what are the benefits? As Southwest Airlines is not a member of any of the major airlines, there are no global cross-alliance benefits to take advantage of. Nor are there lucrative opportunities to access top business or first class cabins. But there are solid and valuable benefits, including:
With A-List status:
A 25% bonus on points earned from flights
Priority check-in, security (where available), and priority boarding
Same-day flight change and same-day standby
A-List Preferred status adds:
A 100% bonus on points earned from flights
Free inflight WiFi
Related The Different Tiers Of Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards Program Southwest Airlines has a simple elite system, but with some benefits in mileage bonuses and onboard savings
Southwest Airlines Companion Pass and qualifying points
Southwest Airlines also offers an excellent benefit for frequent flyers with the Companion Pass. This is a great perk (one of the best in the loyalty market) that offers one free ticket for a named companion when you buy a cash or points ticket.
The pass is awarded with 100 one-way flights on 135,000 companion pass qualifying points.
Photo: Bradley Caslin | Shutterstock
Confusingly (but positively) the qualifying criteria for this are different from elite status. All Tier Qualifying Points from flying and credit card spending also count towards Companion Pass qualification. Other eligible non-flying sources include:
For any co-branded Rapid Reward credit card holder, there is a 10,000-point boost each year (this effectively reduces the requirement for the Companion Pass to 125,000 points).
All other points earned from credit card spending qualify as well.
Points earned from spending on hotels, car hire, and dining.
Points earned through the Rapid Rewards retail portal and other home and lifestyle options.
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Do you use the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program? How do you qualify for elite status? Feel free to discuss this in the comments section below.

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