Earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2014 and 2015

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This is post #6 of my blog series on the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Series includes:

  1. What is a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass?
  2. How to Earn a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass
  3. Getting Two Southwest Credit Cards to Count Towards the Companion Pass
  4. Earning Partner Points to Count Towards the Companion Pass
  5. Transferring Chase Ultimate Reward Points to Southwest for Companion Pass Status
  6. Getting the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for 2014 and 2015 Calendar Year
  7. Using the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass on Southwest and AirTran flights
  8. Changing your Companion with the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass
  9. Top 20 Questions for the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

Yesterday I posted some information on earning the Southwest Airlines companion pass which allows a companion to fly with you an UNLIMITED number of times for the calendar year it is earned plus the following calendar year. As I stated in my post, one of the easiest ways to earn the companion pass status is through the credit card sign up bonuses. While there are other ways of course, for those who are not a weekly Southwest flier, getting two of the credit cards will give you 104,000 points which is only 6,000 points away from earning this status.

Now, many readers and people who I speak to love the concept of the companion pass, but since it is already the middle of the calendar year would prefer to get almost two full years out of it instead of less than a year and a half. And if your upcoming travel doesn’t involve a Southwest flight, why get the companion pass now when it would better suite you for 2014 and 2015, right?

As of right now there is no guarantee that the credit card sign up bonus trick will help you get the companion pass later on, however, I believe if you wait you still have a really good chance. Typically the Southwest credit card offers 25,000 bonus points after meeting the minimum spend requirements, but the 50,000 bonus point offer is around quite often as well.

If you want to hold out and hope that you can get the companion pass for 2014 and 2015, this is what you do. DO NOT apply for the two credit cards now. WAIT until the next 50,000 point offer comes around (fingers crossed!) and apply for the two cards then. Typically you have three months to meet the minimum spend requirements of $2,000. Wait until January 2014 to cross over that $2,000 threshold. You can still put spend on it in 2013, but do not put more than $1,999 on it. I’d recommend waiting till 2014 though as the money spent will then count towards the points needed to meet the 110,000 points. Whatever hits a statement credit in 2013 will count towards the 2013 requirements of meeting the companion pass status and those points DO NOT carry over.

The points earned from the companion pass will hit your account a few days after your monthly statement closes. So come January 1, 2014 if you are able to spend $2,000 (assuming that’s the minimum spend threshold), you’ll earn your companion pass probably late January. The companion pass will then be valid for all of 2014 and 2015!

Credit card to help earn the companion pass: You can apply for the Southwest card here and navigate through the page to apply for the specific offer you are interested in. There are four cards in total, two personal and two business versions, but remember, the cards have different annual fees and bonus points after each year. ALL of them have the same bonus offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Comments

  1. Ever since we got the CP, I’m driving my wife crazy. Let’s go here. Let’s go there. Let’s go anywhere. LOL. The pass is a blessing (to me) and a curse (to my wife).

    The good news is that I’m saving my valuable UA and AA miles for international trips, rather than blow miles for domestic trips. Gasp!
    That’s what my South West points are for.

  2. Question: I currently have about 76K points on my SW card. If I sign up for a card and get the bonus, will that put me over the 110K threshold and give me the companion pass?

    • I have signed up for both of the Southwest card in the past twelve months and met the min spend. Neither of the 50k points earned counted toward companion pass. I also tried to transfer from hotel groups to SW to get credit towards SW CP, this also did not work.

      Has anyone else had the same results?

  3. @Danny – do yourself a favor and check before applying – it literally takes 30 seconds. 1) Login to your account 2) Click “My Account” 3) Click My Rapid Rewards. It will show you a table that lists your current qualifying points and points needed to achieve CP status.

  4. Newman – Is it possible you have the Plus card and NOT the premiere card? The former earns points that do NOT count towards A-list status, and has an annual fee of only $69.

  5. They must have changed it then. It was my understanding that was the big difference between the two cards. Besides the “less miles” upon renewal, why wouldn’t someone get the cheaper card then?

    • @rachel – to earn miles for the companion pass status the plus and premier both offer the same bonus that counts.

  6. So then what else could be the explanation for why his accrued points are not counting towards the companion pass?

  7. Okay, keep us posted. My worry is that they’ve taken it away.

    The plus card points still do not count for A-list status, correct? I had a plus card a couple years ago and I never got any special benefits beyond the 50,000 points.

  8. I earned CP with spending and bonuses from both cards for 2013. The advice to wait until January would have been good for me for 2013 and 2014. Had I thought about it. I hurried to get the points at the end of 2012, for a trip in January. Looking back it would have been wise to have paid for my wife for January then obtained the bonusses for minimimum spend. SIn ce I did this once, is it still possible for my wife to get the two cards for 2014 and earn a CP for herself? How would that work if she is not the revenue flier?

  9. If you call after you have your card, they tell you when your Closing Date is and when your Points Post (I believe a few business days after Closing Date) – so you don’t have to guess.

  10. What are the two cards that you need to get? It says the bonus offer can only be used once for new members, but it does say one new personal and one new business. Are you supposed to get one personal premier and one business premier and spend $2,000 on each?

  11. What are the two cards that you need to get? It says the bonus offer can only be used once for new members, but it does say one new personal and one new business. Are you supposed to get one personal premier and one business premier and spend $2,000 on each?

    • @rachel – you can earn the bonus points twice on two DIFFERENT cards not twice on the same card. Then you must spend $2,000 on each card.

  12. Good information on these posts and I thank you for the education. I received my first card in Feb and earned the points in April. After reading a post I checked my account and learned that the extra business card will put me over for the CP. However, this late in the year August, I would rather wait until reaching the CP status until January 2014. I am estimating that it is likely that I won’t earn the CP with the $2000.00 limit until October if I apply for the card now. My dilemma is that I don’t want to make the mistake and possibly forfeit getting it because of changes within Southwest Airlines. Each time I call the customer service number I receive conflicting information. Yesterday, I called and they said that if you wait until next year to reach CP status that it would not be good for the entire 2014 and 2015. Further that this is a special invitation and it would only be valid for 2014. This may just be to alarm folks and push them into making the decision now. It seems to me from a business standpoint that it would be better for SW to have customers have the pass for 3 months and one year instead of two full years. What advice can you offer? I trust the opinions of those who have traveled this road. Do you foresee anything changing at SW and is the risk worth it. I want to reduce my risk of not getting the pass if I delay because getting the credit card would enable me to acquire it. Thanks.

    • Whatever points earned in 2013 will not count beginning Jan 1, 2014. Getting a CP is very difficult without credit card bonus, unless you are flying anytime fares most of the time. Dining, purchasing points, etc do not count toward CP status.

  13. Look for the CP to change in the near future with the continued integration of AirTran (specifically their international routes) and Southwest’s new Hawaii routes. These flights are too costly and lucrative for allowing free companions.

  14. So, is there a way to not have to pay the annual fee and get 2 cards? I’m thinking the only way I can get the companion pass is to get 2 southwest cards, both with 50,000 points. Also, if my husband gets a basic card and so do I, can we transfer the points between ourselves to make 100,000?

    • @Jasanna – Unfortunately paying the annual fee on two cards is the only way. And you can’t transfer points from one account to another to count towards the companion pass.

  15. Looks Like the party is over. At the start of 2014 you must re qualify every year to get the companion pass according to what i am reading here.

    Companion Pass qualification will be based on a calendar year. A Companion Pass Member will maintain his/her Companion Pass for the remainder of the calendar year in which status is earned, and the entire calendar year immediately following. To continue their Companion Pass privileges, Members must re-qualify each year. (For example, a Member who earns a Companion Pass on July 15, 2013 will maintain the Companion Pass for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014. Beginning January 1, 2014, the Member must complete 100 qualifying one-way flights or accrue 110,000 Qualifying Points by December 31, 2014, and upon doing so, the Companion Pass will be extended to December 31, 2015.)

    • @joe – that is not correct. You earn the companion pass for the remainder of the year it was earned plus the entire following calendar year.

  16. Hi,

    I am having trouble finding which four credit cards qualify towards the companion pass. I know the SOuthwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premiere Card but which other three?

  17. So!

    Its Oct! I was just approved for 2 cards (50k each). Will the three months be up before Jan 1st?! I want to spend as close to the 2k minimum as possible wo going over so that come january I can spend a few hundred bucks and hit companion status. What are the dates, etc I need to keep in mind to time this right?

    Is the third month 1/15 (3 months from today)? Just want to be sure I time it right so I get the full 2 years!!!

    Thanks!

  18. Megan–

    I just signed up, too. You will be fine. However, keep in mind you have to earn 10k points (on the cards, or other methods) *beyond* the bonuses next year, too. Any spending you do that credits to your account before 1 Jan will not count.

    So you’ll have to keep track of this in order to:
    – make sure you don’t get the bonuses in 2013
    – hit the +10k next year
    – or get 10k more points beyond the cards through SWA tix, etc

    Look like you have that covered, except for the excitement of counting 3 months out! But yes, the ‘best’ strategy is to get these cards in mid to late Oct, and delay the bonuses til Jan.

    Cheers.

  19. Re: comment above
    I would like to get clarification on this, too. Say your Dec statement closed Dec 15, will all purchases from Dec 16 be considered qualifying points for CP in 2014? (Keeping in my mind also the 90 day period to hit the 2k minimum spend).

    • @Airgypsy – Points do not hit when you make the purchase, instead they hit a few dates after your statement close date. So purchases from December 16, for example, will not hit until the statement close date which will then be January 15th. Therefore, yes, they will count for CP 2014.

  20. So that means, that anything purchased on Dec 14th will count towards CP 2013? As I just opened the card (as of the date of my earlier entry), I need to be sure not to hit the 2k min on both cards, until Dec 16th (which will be within the 3 month guidelines?)

    I can at least start BUILDING towards the 2k now though right? Just ensure my final purchases are after Dec 15th?

    Sorry, I need this spelled out, ha.

  21. @Megan – To find out the exact date of when your three months is up, I suggest calling Chase. I personally suggest waiting till January 1st to put on the last spend of the $2,000 (better safe than sorry type of thing). But as reader Matt said, you still need to spend $10,000 in 2014 to total the required 110,000 points needed. This help?

  22. Yes it does – thank you!

    Going to do this super carefully. I’m going to get it relatively close to 2000 on both cards but wait to hit 2000 until jan 1st (thereabouts).

    I dont think getting the 10k points will be a problem – at the very least we should hit companion in feb

  23. Hi and thank you for the info. If I understand correctly I can apply and get a personal and biz card, then add those points to my existing 20,000 and I am all set?

    • @IronTamer – Are the existing 20,000 points qualifying points towards the companion pass? Or are they just points you currently have in your account to redeem?

  24. After adding a companion to a flight with the CP, and then changing the flight due to Southwest fault of delay of >1 hour, will they allow my companion to fly on another flight the same day?

  25. I only need about 500 points by 12/31 to earn companion pass. Do the purchase made on credit card in December, but not posted to rapid rewards account until Mid January count towards earning by 12/31?

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