Daily Points: Companion Pass Changes; JetBlue-Norwegian Partnership; SkyMiles Select

Daily Points

Happy Friday! There were some big changes announced for the Southwest Companion Pass, JetBlue and Norwegian are teaming up, Delta launching a new annual program, and Spirit Airlines unveiled a new headquarters.

Southwest Increases Companion Pass Requirements

Southwest Companion Pass Tracker

 

Southwest Airlines is raising the Companion Pass requirements from 110,000 points to 125,000 points starting in 2020. 

This announcement comes only a day after Southwest’s elevated credit card offers ended, in which many people opened up cards in early October so that their sign-up bonus points would be credited in January 2020. Now people will have to find a way to earn an additional 15,000 points to obtain the amazing Companion Pass. 

Background: Southwest Airlines’ Companion Pass allows one person to fly with you for free for only the taxes and fees ($5.60 each way within the U.S.). You could earn the Companion Pass by earning 110,000 points either through a combination of flying and credit cards. It was a great deal since many people could earn the Companion Pass by opening up two credit cards.

Southwest also announced some other changes:

  • Southwest points now no longer expire. Previously, expires after 24 months of inactivity. 
  • Starting January 1, 2021, Southwest elite members will be offered “same-day standby free of airline charges” instead of “free same-day standby.” This means that elite members will still have to pay any additional government taxes and fees.

JetBlue and Norwegian Airlines Launch Partnership

JetBlue and Norwegian Airlines are teaming up starting in Summer 2020. Passengers will be able to book flights involving both airlines on each of their websites, and passengers will be able to check bags to their final destination.

The main connecting points for the two airlines will be Boston, New York-JFK, and Fort Lauderdale.

JetBlue is launching flights to London starting in 2021, so this partnership would allow JetBlue to offer more destinations in Europe. This announcement also indicates that JetBlue is highly likely to fly into London-Gatwick rather than London-Heathrow since Norwegian is based in Gatwick.

Delta Launches SkyMiles Select

Delta launched a new program for $59 per year called SkyMiles Select that allows you to get: Main Cabin 1 Boarding, 8 drink vouchers, and a limited edition bag tag.

However, this program is not a good deal if you already have a Delta Airlines credit card since you would get the same boarding zone and 20% off drinks.

It will be interesting to see if this program triggers the American Express Platinum incidental fee credit for those people who don’t have a Delta credit card.

 

Spirit Airlines Building New Headquarters

The ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines announced they are building a new 500,000 square-foot headquarters about a mile and a half from Fort Lauderdale Airport.

The estimated cost is $250 million and it will house more than 1,000 employees. The new headquarters will also allow Spirit to consolidate their training facilities into a single location.

Travel News

  • Etihad Airways and Air Arabia are working together to create a low-cost carrier based in Abu Dhabi. The new airlines will be called Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. It will be interesting to see how it works out considering Etihad has recently been moving to a low-cost business model to stop their mounting financial losses. [Flight Global]
  • Asiana Airlines is required to cease flying to San Francisco for 45 days after South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld a suspension stemming from Asiana’s deadly 2013 plane crash in San Francisco. Service will be suspended from March 3, 2020, to April 16, 2020. The suspension is projected to cost $9.3 million in lost sales. [Reuters]
  • Spirit Airlines adds three routes to Cancun from Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
  • Turkish Airlines is launching a flight to Vancouver from Istanbul.
  • United Airlines is adding a summer daily flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Anchorage. United hasn’t flown from Los Angeles to Anchorage since 2002.
  • TAP Portugal is launching EconomyXtra that includes extra legroom, a more spacious chair, improved meals, and power outlets.
  • Air New Zealand is launching Economy Stretch, which includes an additional four inches of legroom over economy’s 31 inches. There will be 42 stretch seats available on their newly reconfigured Boeing 777s.

Points News

  • American Express extended Lufthansa Lounge access for Platinum and Centurion Cardholders until March 31, 2020.
  • Alaska Airline’s Lounge in Anchorage is leaving Priority Pass effective November 1, 2019. [DOC]
  • Plastiq temporarily suspends Capital One payments. 
  • You can earn up to 15,000 bonus Southwest points with their current promotion if you register by November 21, 2019. You earn 4,000 points for one round trip, 5,000 more points for a second round trip flight, and 6,000 points for a third round trip flight.

Deal News

  • New Amex Offers
    • Office Supply Stores: Spend $350 and get $40 back.
    • Lowes: Get 15% back up to $15.
    • Hotels.com: Buy $50 gift card, get $10 back or 1,000 Membership Rewards.