Southwest’s A-List status is easier to attain for many travelers than the upper echelons of SkyMiles status and gets more limited benefits, including a dedicated priority lane at check-in counters, priority boarding, a dedicated A-List phone line and same-day flight changes without paying a higher fare.
Southwest will also reduce requirements for A-List Preferred status to 40 qualifying flights in a year starting Jan. 1, 2024, down from 50 previously. And it will add a perk for A-List Preferred members, giving them two complimentary premium drinks per flight starting Nov. 6.
Southwest frequent fliers can also continue to get A-List status by earning 35,000 qualifying points in the year, or A-List preferred status with 70,000 qualifying points. The airline will next year add the ability to earn qualifying points with Southwest credit card spending.
For many frequent fliers who live in Atlanta, there are limited alternatives to Delta for nonstop flights around the world, since Delta and its partners control about 80% of flying at Hartsfield-Jackson.
But Southwest, which carries about 7.3% of the passenger traffic at the Atlanta airport, flies to dozens of U.S. cities nonstop from Atlanta.
After backlash from Delta frequent fliers to the changes to elite qualification and club access announced last month, Delta CEO Ed Bastian pledged to make adjustments.
Meanwhile, other airlines have more directly zeroed in on Delta customers around the country who feel a sense of disenfranchisement with the recently-announced Delta changes. That includes Alaska Airlines and jetBlue, which are targeting Delta elite frequent fliers with status match offers.
Alaska Airlines, which competes with Delta at its hub in Seattle, makes its pitch to Delta frequent fliers by saying: “Fell out of love with your airline loyalty program? We’ve got you covered with our best status match offer yet.”
On its website, jetBlue promotes a Delta Medallion status match with the line: “Feeling ‘Blue’ about the changes to a once-favorite loyalty program? We’ve got the answer.” JetBlue has a significant presence in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, where Delta also has hubs.
”Breaking up is hard to do,” jetBlue says on its website. “But who has to know? We’ve made it easy for you to cozy up to a new loyalty program and see where it goes.”