Until the end of 2019, Southwest Airlines is giving frequent fliers the chance to double down on their status—prove you have elite status with a domestic airline other than Southwest, and you’ll get reciprocal A-List status with Southwest.
To do so, you’ll first need to sign up for Southwest’s Rapid Rewards loyalty program (if you’re not already a member). Then, you’ll need to provide your name and account number, along with proof of your elite status with another domestic carrier, including United, Delta, American, JetBlue, Hawaiian, and Alaska Airlines.
Once your information has been verified and approved (Southwest estimates it will take up to 12 business days to do so), you’ll receive A-List status with Southwest for three months from the time of approval. If you fly three round-trip flights (or six one-way flights) during those three months, your A-List status will be extended for an additional 9 months for 12 months’ total of status.
Southwest has three tiers of elite status: A-List, A-List Preferred, and the coveted Companion Pass. To earn A-List status, travelers typically need to have racked up 25 one-way flights or 35,000 miles in a calendar year. If you earn the A-List extension, you can continue to works toward A-List Preferred (which includes free in-flight Wi-Fi and a double points bonus on flights), but you cannot use it toward the Companion Pass, which allows you to have someone travel with you for a year or more for free. That one you’ll have to earn the good ol’ fashioned way, with 100 one-way flights or 110,000 points (125,000 points starting January 1, 2020).
Southwest’s A-List members get to board earlier and can change their flight for a same-day standby flight at no cost. They can earn bonus points on qualifying flights, and at the majority of airports Southwest flies out of, the carrier has implemented what it calls Fly By lanes, priority customer service and check-in lanes that A-List members have access to.