Southwest Airlines is officially the world's biggest airline at the moment. The bump is owed to the fact that many airlines around the world are being forced to operate at extremely reduced capacities. Southwest's strong domestic network has enabled the carrier to preserve many of its routes amid the COVID-19 crisis. The carrier is maintaining a capacity of about 4.1 million seats per week.

News that Southwest has become the world's largest airline by default isn't the only important nugget to share. Southwest has a very important message for members of its Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program. The carrier had been silent up until recently regarding plans for handling elite status in the months to come. We finally have an answer.

Southwest will be freezing elite membership in place for its A-List and A-List Preferred status members. Members will be able to keep their current tiers through the end of 2021. It has also been revealed that Companion Pass members will have their benefits kept in place up until June 30, 2021.

Southwest is actually going a step further to lift the spirits of Rapid Rewards members during the pandemic. The airline has announced that all members will be gifted some status-boosting benefits. Here's the full rundown:

  • 15,000 elite-qualifying points.
  • 10 flight credits for 2021 elite status.
  • 25,000 Companion Pass points.
  • 25 flight credits toward Companion Pass status.

Those familiar with the Rapid Rewards program may already know that travelers must earn 35,000 points or complete 25 flights to earn A-List status. Qualifying for the Companion Pass requires 125,000 points or 100 flights. Southwest is also expanding qualifying travel funds through Sept. 7 of 2022, a customer-friendly move for sure as these were originally set to be valid only through June 30, 2021.

Lastly, Southwest is getting creative regarding its treatment of travel credits for flights canceled between March 1 and Sept. 7 of this year. Funds from qualifying canceled flights can be converted into Rapid Rewards points that never expire. These eligible funds will be converted at the same rate that would apply when purchasing a ticket with points today.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at GET.com and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: scott.dylan@get.com.