Southwest Airlines just announced some upcoming changes for its popular Rapid Rewards program. Let's start with the good news as we explore what the program will look like going forward. We have just learned that points earned through the loyalty program will no longer expire, with effect from October 17, 2019. You may recall that Rapid Rewards points used to expire after 24 months of inactivity. Southwest is following in the footsteps of United Airlines by switching to lifetime points.
The second big change coming to the Rapid Rewards program isn't quite as exciting. Southwest is changing requirements for the highly coveted Southwest Companion Pass. You may already know that the Southwest Companion Pass is a pass that allows qualifying customers to bring along one travel guest on all flights for an entire year. Holders of the Southwest Companion Pass actually have the ability to change designated companions up to three times per year.
Southwest customers must currently earn 110,000 qualifying points or fly 100 segments to earn the pass. However, that's going to change in 2020. Southwest will require customers to earn 125,000 qualifying points or fly 100 segments to qualify for the pass once changes become effective next year.
Will Rapid Rewards members be happier with the program in 2020? It's hard to say right now. Most members are going to enjoy the fact that they no longer have to worry about having a countdown to points expiring ticking over their heads. However, members who are striving for the Southwest Companion Pass are now going to have to earn 14 percent more points to qualify. The changes surrounding the Southwest Companion Pass will kick in on Jan. 1 of 2020.