Earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018 and 2019!!

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If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you are probably already aware that the Southwest Companion pass is my favorite benefit in the entire travel world! With this pass, a companion can fly with you an UNLIMITED number of times for the calendar year it is earned plus the following calendar year. While there are many ways to earn the pass, the easiest way is by signing up for their credit card (if you are okay with that).

Fortunately, through October 4, 2017, ALL three Southwest credit cards are offering an increased sign up bonus of 60,000 points:

Key Links:

  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $69 annual fee. This card will earn you 3,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. You can learn more about Airline credit cards here.
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $99 annual fee. This card will earn you 6,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. You can learn more about Airline credit cards here.
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months; $99 annual fee. This card will earn you 6,000 bonus points on your account anniversary. You can learn more about this credit card here.

*If you have any questions on which credit card to apply for, feel free to email me!

As of today, the 60,000 points DO COUNT towards the 110,000 points required to obtain the pass. Apply for two different Southwest cards (yes, you are allowed to have two Southwest credit cards in your wallet) and that will give you 120,000 points – more then the required amount for the companion pass! That means you’ll automatically receive the pass once the points post. Now, if you call Southwest to inquire if the points count towards the companion pass they will most likely tell you no. Do not be discouraged, in my experience they have no idea what they are talking about (Sorry Southwest!).

So lets say you apply for the two cards now. Since you have 3 months to meet the minimum spend, you will want to wait until January 1, 2018 to actually spend that last dollar. Technically, you can meet the minimum spend after your December statement closes, but you have to be 100% certain you are aware when that happens. The 60,000 points per card will not post to your account until a few days after your statement closes. So let’s say you were to apply for the card on October 1, 2017 and you have a statement close date of the 3rd of every month. Any money you spend on your card from December 4th on will count towards your January statement close. The points will then post a few days after your January statement close date, so if it were to close on the 3rd, for example, the points will post to your Southwest account somewhere between January 5-10. You can still put spend on the card before your December statement close date, but do not go over that minimum spend amount. If you want to be 100% certain you do not mess it up, wait until January 1, 2018 to meet the minimum spend. That means, do not apply for the card until October 3rd.

Southwest Companion Pass FAQs

Flying limitations: With the companion pass there are no black out dates or seat restrictions – if there is a seat available for purchase, it is available for your companion. The companion pass can even be used if points were redeemed for a free flight. This can result in both passengers flying for FREE (plus the taxes/passenger)!

Number of times the companion pass can be used: Unlimited! There is no cap on the number of times the pass can be used.

Who can be a companion: Anyone can be your companion – friends, family, a complete stranger. However, the companion pass can only be switched up to three times per year. Since you need to allocate your companion when getting the pass, this allows you 4 people to use the pass per year (those people can be repeated and put back on as the companion as well but counts as one of your allowed changes). To change your companion pass, call Southwest Customer Service (1-800-IFLYSWA) and they will easily assist you on the spot.

Companion pass expiration: The companion pass is valid the remainder of the year it was earned plus the following calendar year. For example, if you earn the pass January 2018, you will have it for the rest of 2018, plus all of 2019.

My Experience with the Southwest Companion Pass

I’ve had the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for over 10 years now. It’s been a really long time so I’ve completely lost track on the exact number of years! I’ve used it for flights to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Aruba, Cancun, Washington DC, Denver, Salt Lake City, etc. I love that I can use the pass for my husband or my daughter while redeeming points for my flight. And Southwest flights can be canceled with no fee!! If you use points, the points go straight back into your account. If you pay for the flight, you receive a voucher for the amount paid to be used within a year of the date purchased.

Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. If you are only approved for 1 SW card, what is your recommendation as to how to best get the remaining 50k points required for the companion pass? Most of the articles that come up when I google this are out of date. Any current methods you can steer us to? What about transferrable points such as chase membership rewards, club carlson pts, etc. Any good value ways to use those toward the companion pass?


  2. If you are a couple, what is the best way to do this? One person apply for two cards and add the other as an authorized user (would that count toward 5/24?) to meet minimum spend and the next year the 2nd person applies for both cards?

    • @Ruth – Exactly. Although you do not need to add on the other as an authorized user, unless you’d like that person to have a card in their name to help meet the minimum spend.

  3. I thought I asked a question earlier but I don’t see it. I have about 70,000 points. So do I need to make sure I don’t exceed 110,000 before January 1?

    • @Jan – If you have 70,000 points NOW, you’ll want to earn the remaining 40,000 points before December 31, 2017. Come January 1, 2017, the number of points required towards the companion pass will reset and those 70,000 points will not carry over. Does that help?

  4. @dealswelike, Regarding “yes, you are allowed to have two Southwest credit cards in your wallet”, aren’t you allowed to have one of each (total 3) cards?

    @Jan, all 110,000 points must have been received in the same calendar year. If some of your 70K points were received before 2017, they won’t count.

  5. Can you achieve the minimum spend requirements for two cards, $4,000 total, by purchasing visa gift cards or store/restaurant gift cards? Or does it have to be specific product purchases?

    • @Trent – Usually visa gift cards or store/restaurant gift cards are 3rd level data when it is sent to the credit card companies. Typically, the credit cads do not look into the 3rd level data when counting minimum spend requirements. While I wouldn’t advise purchasing directly from Visa, but if you purchase from Staples (or another store that sells Visa gift cards) you should be good.

  6. Do you “buy” the companion pass with 110K points? Or the 110K points are still available to redeem after you receive the companion pass? Thanks

    • @RL – No you do not. Once you earn 110,000 qualifying points, you automatically earn the companion pass. And you still have those 110,000 points to redeem for free flights.

    • @PV – Do you mind posting that saying it will expire October 1st (or forwarding it to me)? There have been many dates floating around.

          • Some people have been applying and approving on Sept. 15th and messaging Chase about the date to reach the minimum spend requirements. Chase is replying with a 115 day time period, instead of 90. Have you heard anything on this?

  7. I just signed up for 1 card today and plan to sign up for a 2nd card card tomorrow. Do I have until January 2nd for the 1st card and January 3rd for the 2nd card to earn the minimum spend?

  8. I signed up for 2 cards within minutes of each other, got instantly approved for high limit on one and $2,500 on the other. The high limit one matched my existing Chase IHG Reward card limit.

    I looked today 10-5-17 and SWA is still showing 60,000 on website, I wonder when it will drop off or update?

    I figured, what the heck, as long as a companion pass is a potential outcome, I’ll give it a go.
    I have all winter off so I can take a friend traveling and they can buy food and booze I’ll provide the airfare.

    I am going to look closer at Gift cards to hit the minimum spend, the versatility of Visa gift cards is tempting, I just am not sure they would count towards the spend. But walmart gift cards can be used at Sams club gas, and online. And I can pre-pay my verizon and cable bills etc. for a year, maybe even my car insurance for a year or 2.

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