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Southwest Details Rapid Rewards Changes for 2024 [Good News!]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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It can be a little stressful when airlines change their programs because we’ve all become accustomed to these changes not being good news for customers. However, Southwest Airlines just announced some big updates to the Rapid Rewards program for 2024, and thankfully, they will (mostly) benefit Southwest passengers.

Let’s dive into the details of the Rapid Rewards updates for 2024.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Changes in 2024

Southwest is making some changes to its Rapid Rewards program for 2024 — and it’s mostly good news for passengers.

Southwest plane gate Denver
Southwest is making some positive changes to the Rapid Rewards program. Image Credit: Stephen M. Keller via Southwest

Here’s a look at what you can expect to change on Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Elite Status Updates

Beginning on November 6, 2023, A-List Preferred members will receive 2 complimentary premium drinks per flight. This benefit will be automatically added to a customer’s mobile boarding pass.

Beginning on January 1, 2024, the number of qualifying one-way flights required for both A-List and A-List Preferred status will be reduced. These status levels can be earned by meeting a minimum number of flights or a minimum number of points.

  • A-List elite status: The flight requirement to earn Southwest A-List will be reduced from 25 qualifying one-way flights or 35,000 qualifying points to 20 qualifying one-way flights or 35,000 qualifying points.
  • A-List Preferred elite status: The flight requirement to earn top-tier Southwest A-List Preferred status is being reduced from 50 qualifying one-way flights or 70,000 qualifying points to 40 qualifying one-way flights or 70,000 qualifying points.

Additionally, spending on Southwest Airlines co-branded credit cards will earn tier-qualifying points even faster. Previously, cardholders earned 1,500 tier-qualifying points (TQP) toward A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent. Beginning on January 1, 2024, cardholders will receive 1,500 tier-qualifying points (TQPs) for every $5,000 spent.

Bottom Line:

In 2024, Southwest Airlines elite status will be easier to earn. The flight requirements are being reduced to 20 one-way flights for A-List status and 40 one-way flights for A-List Preferred status. It will also be easier to earn tier-qualifying points through credit card spend. Southwest cardholders will be able to earn 1,500 TQPs for every $5,000 spent instead of the current $10,000 threshold.

Cash + Points Option

The last change is one even infrequent travelers will be excited about. Starting in the spring of 2024, Southwest will introduce the ability to purchase flights with a Cash + Points option.

Southwest cash points
Starting in the spring, Southwest flyers can book using cash and points. Image Credit: Southwest Airlines

Southwest members will be able to use cash and Rapid Rewards points to pay for their booking using up to 5 pre-set Cash + Points options, starting at just 1,000 points.

While it would be ideal to be able to choose any combination of cash and points, having this option is still a great development for Rapid Rewards members.

It’s unclear at this point if the value of the points redeemed via Cash + Points will be the same as they are now, which is about 1.3 cents per point. This will be a less appealing option if the Cash + Points redemption value is lower.

The only big downside to the new Cash + Points feature is that these tickets won’t earn Rapid Rewards points, tier-qualifying points, or Companion Pass qualifying points. That means you could pay for a good chunk of your ticket with cash but not earn redeemable points or points that qualify for elite status or the Companion Pass. However, Cash + Points tickets will count toward the one-way flight requirements for elite status.

While this detail is a bummer, these are positive changes for Southwest Airlines customers overall.

Bottom Line:

Southwest Airlines will introduce a new Cash + Points feature in the spring of 2024. Customers will be able to choose from pre-determined cash and points amounts to pay for their flights, with points amounts starting at just 1,000.

Final Thoughts

Southwest is making some big changes to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program for 2024. Thankfully, these changes will benefit customers, including lowered elite status requirements, increased TQP earning through credit cards, a Cash + Points option, and free drinks for A-List Preferred members.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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