Earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2016 and 2017!!

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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).

**This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this product in the past 24 months.

Currently, two of the credit cards are offering a 50,000 point bonus after spending $2,000 on the card within the first three months. As of today, the 50,000 points DO COUNT towards the 110,000 points required to obtain the pass. Apply for two Southwest cards (yes, you are allowed to have two Southwest credit cards in your wallet) and that will give you 100,000 points. 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 90 days to meet the minimum spend, you will want to wait until January 1, 2016 to actually spend that last dollar. The 50,000 points will not post to your account until a few days after your statement closes. You can still put spend on the card in 2015, but do not put more than $1,999 on it. I’d recommend waiting till 2016 though as the money spent will then count towards the points needed to meet the 110,000 points. Whatever hits a statement credit in 2015 will count towards the 2015 requirements of meeting the companion pass status and those points DO NOT carry over to 2016.

Other Ways to Earn the Required Points

As I mentioned above, you need 110,000 qualifying points to earn the companion pass. The Southwest credit card (assuming you apply with the current 50,000 point offer), will give you 50,000 points per card. If you apply for two cards that will give you a total of 100,000 points. All spend put on the card also counts. Every dollar equals one point. So if you wait to put $2,000 on each card in 2016, that will give you another 4,000 points for a total of 104,000 points. That means you only need another 6,000 points to get the pass. A few ways to earn these points:

  • Additional credit card spend
  • Flying Southwest Airlines
  • Transferring hotel points to Southwest (note: Hyatt is the best transfer ratio or Marriott’s Flights + Nights packages; and Chase Ultimate Reward transfers DO NOT count)
  • Southwest Airlines shopping portal
  • Earning Southwest points for travel partners (i.e., hotel stays, car rentals, supershuttle, etc.)

Personally, I find credit card spend, transferring hotel points, and the Southwest Airlines shopping portal to be the easiest.

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 going 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 during the validity of the pass. Since you need to allocate your companion when getting the pass, this allows you 4 people to use the pass (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 2016, you will have it for the rest of 2016, plus 2017.

My Experience with the Southwest Companion Pass

I’ve had the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for about 8 years now. I’ve used it for flights to Florida, Costa Rica, California, Aruba, Denver, Salt Lake City, etc. I probably use it on average 3-4 times a year. I also love that I can use the pass for my husband 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!

Note: This post DOES NOT contain affiliate links. I am pushing this because it is my favorite perk in the entire travel industry!!!


The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Your link for the SW Plus card goes straight to the SW Premier. And, I can’t find the plus card listed anywhere on Southwest.com or Chase.com…. Thoughts?

    • @Jake P – I cannot find a direct link for the Plus card for the 50,000 point bonus. Although if you click the More + button on the right hand side in the middle, the Plus card application option will appear.

    • Hi, I too have been looking for the Chase Southwest Air PLUS card with a 50000 point sign up bonus. It seemed like they stopped it back in October. This link takes you to the PLUS card with 25000 points. See- https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/25KPlus?CELL=6PNF As far as I know this link is still working. I believe they will re-offer the 50000 point PLUS card after the first of the year, they have done this in the past years. If anyone knows where the PLUS card with 50000 point sign up offer is, please post the link here. Thanks!

      • @SteveNewYork – Unfortunately there hasn’t been any publicly available link for the Plus card. However, I know there are some referral links which people have posted in the comments in some blog posts.

  2. How do you keep this going as supposedly you cannot cancel a credit card and apply for a new one within 24 months to receive the 50,000 miles?

    • @Sherri – The first three years I got it from a combo of flying, transferring American Express points, and staying at hotels with a good bonus for earning Southwest points. And then Southwest changed their Rapid Rewards program and my companion pass automatically got extended. After that it was credit card sign up which gave me another two years. After that it was purchasing Wyndham reward points for cheap and transferring them over which gave me another two years (this transfer ratio is no longer available). And this year I will earn it for next year by their online shopping portal and credit card spend (manufactured spend with Target REDCard).

      • Great post! How do you actually generate 110000 points using their shopping portal and Target spend? Do you purchase things thru their portal instead of buying direct? Thanks for clarifying. Great range of ideas for getting CP.

        • @Ellen – For Target REDCard, it had nothing to do with spending at Target, but instead loading $5,000 on my card every month which then generated 5,000 points (and then using my Target REDCard to pay bills). This option, however, is no longer available. With the shopping portal, instead of just buying direct, I’d purchase through the Southwest shopping portal. https://rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com/

  3. A couple of additional items about the CP…
    As mentioned. you can change your Companion 3 times. But that’s 3 times A YEAR. So if you get your CP in Feb or Mar of 2015, you can change it 3 times in 2015 and then 3 more times in 2016.

    You don’t have to be flying on your points (or dollars) to use your CP. If I have a CP and no points, I could fly using someone else’s points (my wife for instance) and then take her along as my companion.

  4. Any thoughts on how Chase has been cracking down on new applications? I’m considering going for the companion pass this round because I now have a legitimate small business to justify a business credit card, but the last couple of Chase cards that I have applied for (Fairmont and Ink) I have been given a hard time about the number of apps I’ve had. I only do 1-2 app-o-ramas a year with 2-4 cards each time. I’ve only had 3 apps in the last 10 months, but I’m still a little nervous to try.

    • @AMJ – How many applications have you had in the past 12 months? I’ve personally had luck with transferring credit line from one card to another during reconsideration calls. Were you ultimately approved for Fairmont or Ink, or no?

      • I’ve taken it easy this year and I have had only 3 applications in the last year. For the 3 years previous to that I general had about 6-8 applications (with excellent credit, etc) each year. I generally included one Chase application per round in the past. I was approved for both the Fairmont and Ink Chase cards, but it was definitely a different experience with Chase with both of those cards. They sort of made me feel like a criminal for having applied for so many cards, but ultimately approved me after moving credit around. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

  5. Does anyone have a the rapid rewards plus application link for 50,000 points? The chase website is only showing 25,000 for the plus card.

    • @Brian – Click on the link in the post for the Plus card. It will bring you the Premier offer, but mid way through click the “More [+] button” and information on the Plus card will pop up.

      I’ll send you an email with the screen shot.

  6. I’d like some advise if any one can help- I would like to get the Southwest Air Companion Pass (for 2016 and 2017)- I have right now the Southwest Premier Rapid Rewards Visa Signature card in good standing which I have had for three years. I’d like to get a Southwest Air Companion Card starting January of next year- 2016 so it would be good for almost two years- (2016 through 2017). As the Rapid Rewards miles (I would need 110000 miles to get the Companion Card) need to be collected in one calendar year- I would need to apply for two new SWA Cards (in January or late December) and then accumulate 10000 more miles. Getting 10000 miles is not a problem but should I close my present SWA Visa Signature Card now (September of 2015) to have a better chance of getting two new cards and then apply for the two new cards in January or should I just try and get two new cards from SWA (actually Chase Bank) in January of next year?. My credit scores are 800’s but I think they (Chase) would question why I need (would need) a total of three SWA branded cards. Any and all responses are greatly appreciated.
    Right now in this calendar year- 2015- I have 15735 points toward Companion Pass status. Thanks in advance- Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    Sent in Oct. 10, 2015

    • @Steve – You are only able to have two open Southwest credit cards at a given time. So Chase absolutely will not approve you for the Premier Business and Plus if you have the Premier currently open. While there is no guarantee what they will approve you for, my suggestion would be to close the Premier card and then open the Premier Business and Plus. Or, you can just open up one of the cards and try to get the remaining 60,000 points another way.

    • Maybe you should try the Marriott hotel + flight trick that others use. You can apply for one Marriott card and if you are married your spouse can apply. You still have to come up with additional points but I’ve read that others transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott and/or purchase Marriott points.

  7. Two questions:

    1. What do you suggest as the optimal time to apply so that a) all spending is considered to be 2016 spending but b) getting the card as soon as possible so it is valid for a longer time?

    2. If applying for 2 cards (either personal, business or a combination of the 2), what is the best timing for the applications? Same day, few days apart, etc.

    Thanks for all of your great insights and your willingness to share your expertise!

    • @Mann –

      Q1: Right now is a great time to apply. You have three months to meet the minimum spend which takes you into early January. You can then meet the minimum spend and any additional companion elite qualification points required on January 1. Your points will then post a few days after your statement closes. That will probably give you the companion pass mid-end January. You can always call the credit card company and ask if they can charge you statement date. Have it close as early in January as possible but giving you enough days to allow yourself to make the charges and have them hit your credit card.

      Q2: It really doesn’t matter if you apply on the same day or a few days apart. There is a good chance that the second applications will turn into a pending status (or even declined) and you’ll need to call the reconsideration line.

  8. I got my third SW credit card last month. First was two yrs ago, got bonus for second in Jan 2015 and just got my third in Sep to get another 50,000 to make companion status this calendar year. Have 800 credit scores. Had to call the morning following application and talk to a rep. I had to close a non Southwest Chase card that I wasn’t using anyway. Just want to put to bed the story that you can’t have three SW cards. ( Yes, one is a business card)
    Another heads up. Once you get your card, check on the statement date. I had a bunch of pending spending that I put on the card and would have made the $2,000 mark in a month but they cut my statement two and a half weeks after I got my card. I’ll be ok as the second statement will happen well in time for the bonus points to post before the calendar year ends but I am still frustrated by the delay that I could have prevented if I had thought to check the random statement date and adjust it out to its longest possibility to give me a whole month to spend the $2,000.
    There’s a lot of GREAT info on this site. Thx to everyone for posting it all. Thx in advance to anyone posting tips on how/when to cancel and reapply for Chase SW cards to maximize points to get another companion pass. My timing on this one will make it only good for a year, but THREE MONTHS AGO I didn’t even know about the SW COMPANION PASS UNTIL I READ THIS BLOG. THANK YOU !!! I was happy with the 50,000 points once a year to get my family to Florida in February. Now I can do that and the wife and I will be able to sneak off on our own too!

  9. I successfully applied for the personal premier and plus cards, each with the 50K bonus, this month. I called Chase today to nail down the deadlines for the minimum spending, and they told me that I will receive the bonus for only one of these new accounts. Is this correct? If they are telling me the truth, then I might as well cancel one of the cards and pay only one annual fee. Thanks for any info you have on this!

    • @Jennifer – In my experience, Chase representatives are not aware of how it works. As long as you are eligible for the card, you are able to get the sign up offer after you meet the minimum spend on BOTH cards.

  10. 1. Can someone please explain to me why on the website for both premium and plus south west credit cards, there are only 25k bonus points for new member? I thought we are supposed to get 50k bonus points for each card for the new member…

    That’s what I’ve been seeing so far in this blog.

    2. Also, do you have to have a business to apply for the business card? (I see that for this card, you will get 50k bonus points)

    Thanks in advance,


    • @Emily – There are many different Southwest offers available. The ones on this blog post link to the 50,000 point offer. For the business credit card, you can apply with your social security number.

      • Thank you for your quick response.

        I was looking up these cards and the southwest plus credit card offer has reduced from 50k to only 25k. The only 2 cards that have the 50k bonuses are the personal premier and the premier business. I do not have a business do you think I can still apply for the business one?

        Thank you,


      • I am also interested in this. I see you can simply put your SSN instead of a company tax ID. But, what about annual business income they ask for? Will they probe any more questions? What do you put as your business type if you don’t have a business?

        Also, from posts above: it looks like you CAN open three cards? My wife and I each already have the Plus card (for many years now).


        • @Parker B- if you need to call the retention line they might call for more questions. Pick the best business type option that works.

          From what I thought, I thought you could only have two.

  11. The SW terms state:

    Points purchased for personal use or as a gift, transferred points, points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and Partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.

    So wouldn’t the 50,000 points fall under this? Did they just change the terms?

    • Doesn’t the text you quoted say that the RR credit cards are an exception? I’m hoping so, but I’ve also adopted the idea that I’ll believe it when I see it, and I’ll still have a lot of RR points that I can use, even if I don’t get the companion pass.

      • @JenniferTX – for the past 4+ years, the bonus points earned from the sign up bonus HAVE counted towards the companion pass. I can personally vouch for that. Although, that can always change. The terms do not exclude the bonus points earned from the sign up bonus.

    • @AMy – Currently (and for the past many years) the bonus points earned from the Southwest credit card have always counted towards the points needed to earn the companion pass.

  12. So if my offer (for the 50,000 points) expires 12/16/15 and I apply for the card through this deal, will the 50,000 points be applied to 2015 instead of 2016? Thanks

  13. I just spoke to Southwest Customer Service on the phone and they said that if I open a personal + business card, the accounts will be separate and the points will not be combined. So my question is, how do you apply for 2 cards and combine the points?


    • @RKade – I have found that Southwest customer service knows nothing about their credit cards. As long as you include the same name/account number, the 50,000 points (and all other accounts earned from the credit card) will be credited to the same exact Southwest account. No need to combine.

        • No, you can have the Plus and the Premier personal cards. You can also have a business card. You can apply for the business card with your Business Name and your SSAN and personal credit. You can list your Southwest Rapid Rewards number on all the cards. Plus ($69) and Premier ($99) cards used to be available in both personal and business cards. The main difference is no foreign transaction fees with the Premier. The key is to find 50,000 point bonus referrals for the card that you want to get. Search the Internet, you can find 50,000 point referral codes. Good Luck. It takes time and effort but it can be done. I got my companion pass about a month ago !

  14. I just spoke to Southwest customer service on the phone and they told me that if I get a personal + business card, they are under separate accounts and I will not be able to combine the points. Is there way around this? How do combine points on separate cards?


  15. How were you able to use Amex MR points for RR? All the Amex>hotel program>RR transfer rates seem pretty dismal. What’s the most efficient method? Thanks!

  16. I did a dual browser application and did both the premier personal and business – I have about 8 new cards in the last 2 years, closed my SW premier personal earlier this year.

    I got account under review for both of them, so kinda bummed, but I will wait it out and hopefully get them both!

    FYI – For the business card, I put my SSN as the tax ID, and since I own a rental property, I put Real Estate Services, Other. I put 20k in annual revenue, which is what my rent is.

    • @Brad – It is common to be under review, so I wouldn’t worry. You can always call the reconsideration line and inquire.

  17. Is there any reason to renew the SW cards at the end of the first year, when the next annual fee is due? I am assuming canceling will not impact our second year of companion pass awesomeness?

  18. Curious whether most people are experiencing application reviews–no immediate answer. The automated line to check status says that you should hear in approximately 2 weeks via mail but when you talk to a rep, they state that it can take a month. Any feedback based on your experiences?

    • After a week or so call and request the reconsideration line. They may tell you it is still under review and to call back the following week. When you do, again speak to reconsideration team. They may propose you share the credit limit between both cards or ask a few more questions. If you don’t call it will sit in a black hole and likely get rejected.

  19. Thank you for posting this! I have been reading about it for some time. It’s now almost January 2016. Wouldn’t I still be able to get the 2016 and 2017 Companion Pass benefit if I apply in January for the two cards and meet the requirements soon thereafter? I’m not sure I understand why it’s beneficial to apply a couple months before the end of a year then completing the requirements in the first month of the following year. Why can’t it all be applied, approved and completed in January? Thanks so much for any help on this. A little confused. 🙂

    • @Wazzu – Doesn’t matter if you get it now or January. Getting it now just gives you more time to receive the card and spend starting January 1. Also, when I wrote the post there was no telling whether or not the 50,000 bonus offer would still be around. Fortunately, as of today, it is!

  20. I am a bit confused about the SW cards. Our companion pass is ending this week and we did not plan well. My husband has a premier card with a $76k earned points and I have a premier card with about the same balance. We have no major spending to do before the end of the year. We do have 10k gold passport points with Hyatt we could transfer but no other thoughts. I understand that transferring and purchasing points doesn’t count toward companion pass. I currently have 70k rr points and my husband has 34.9k rr points. So, I guess we really messed up this year. For the future, can my husband, who has had his card for several years apply for 2 cards under the current 50k bonus point promotion and get the 2 new cards while holding his current premier card? We like keeping our accounts separate for reviewing charges etc. Does anyone have any suggestions going forward other than doing all the charges on one card for next year? Thank you.

    • @Susan – Unfortunately there is very little time to earn the points for this year. For the future, your husband absolutely can apply for two cards under the 50k bonus (although if he already has the premier card, will not be able to reapply for it). There is a Plus and business card though.

        • @susan – you don’t even need two difference browsers! there is currently an offer for the business one, just not the plus one.

          • Sorry to keep asking questions but . . . would we be better off to wait until both cards have the 50k offer at the same time or does it matter if we get one now and try to get the other later–even though he already has the premier? Thanks.

  21. You can still get the 50,000 point offer for the plus card, but you have to do so over the phone as a referral. I just was approved today. E-mail me at cpfitz14 [at] gmail [dot] com for the referral info.

    • We are getting ready to apply for 2 SW cards and already have the premier card. Does anyone know if we have to thaw/unfreeze our credit before applying or does the fact that we already have a chase card make ok to apply without first unfreezing our credit? Thanks.

      • I have my credit frozen and just applied for the Chase- Southwest Air Premier Business Card (in December). After I applied, they sent me a letter (in about 7 days) that said to call them (there was a reference number in the letter) and that I would have to unfreeze my credit for them to make a decision. I did a 24 hour unfrozen on Experian (which was mentioned in the letter) just before I called them, they make a decision during the phone call. They were very polite and helpful and I got the card right away. Hope this helps. I would suggest calling them like around 6AM which is what I did) because they are not busy then and seem to want to help (and are friendly).

        • Thanks for the information about unfreezing credit. Curious if you already had a chase card when you applied in December. My husband seems to think that since he already has a couple chase card that they may not need to run a credit report. Thoughts??

          • I do have one other Chase card, as far as I know, each Chase card application is separate and is reveiw as a new item. I may be wrong but I don’t think so. I just applied for the Chase SWA Plus card with 40000 pt. bonus. I got the same form letter (with a different reference number) as I got with the Premier Business card I applied for in December. I have not call them yet (I am waiting to see if they up the bonus from 40000 to 50000 points in the next few days- there are other posts saying this is happening by referal letter). I will post my outcome. Just as a side note- I do not have many credit cards and I have 800’s FICO score so we will soon if that makes any difference. More to come- Good Luck with your application.

  22. If i apply the 2 SW credit cards (personal & business) today 1/12/2016 and meet the requirement in 3 months – do i have the Companion Pass benefit for both years 2016 & 2017?

  23. Thanks for all the info on the Companion Pass! I got both biz and personal cards and did all my minimum spend in March 2016. If I wait until January 2017 to reach the 110k points required for the companion pass, then will my pass be effective for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018?

    • It is my understanding that you must earn the 110K points all in one calendar year, so since you already have the bonus points in 2016, you need to complete the rest in 2016 as well.

    • @cj – the 110,000 points earned must be within a calendar year, not a 12 month period. All points towards the companion pass reset on December 31st of that year. If you earn it now, you’ll have it for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017. If you get 110,000 points again in 2017 it will then allow you to have the pass through the end of 2018.

  24. Got an offer this week for the swa premier card with the 50,000 rapid rewards bonus . Called and got approved so it will be afew days till it arrives. I will need to spend 2,000 in 3 months . What counts as spend that will add points to getting my companion pass. I only have 7,000 marriott points so buying 3,000 will be required to only get 2,000 swa rr points transferred if I read correctly . I only have just over 3,000 flight points at the moment so I am trying to figure the best plan of attack to get the companion pass at least before the end of 2016 but asap. Thanks for very plain understandable suggestions as the points game is all new to me . Thanks!

  25. Hi, probably a couple dumb questions here but I’m very new to this so any help would be great!

    I just applied and received my SW card through the website (with a 25,000 point promotion, not 50,000 although the ads I’ve received in the mail have been 50,000). Now for the questions:

    1) I DID sign up for this online through the 25,000 point promotion without thinking first, as due to my existing RR account I had received mail promotions for 50. Is it worth calling and trying to get the 50,000 point bonus and say I signed up because of the mail ads? Or is it pretty strict if you did it through the website it’s just going to be the 25,000
    2) If you are racking up points toward companion pass, can you redeem points as you go and the amount toward companion is a total amount? Or do they go away when used? I.e. I have 40,000 points in my account, I use 10,000 for a flight, does my status toward companion stay at 40 or drop back to 30?
    3) If my wife now applies for a card (Premier, for example), can those points be linked to the same RR account which I just set up a card linked to?


  26. When I have received the companion pass for, say, this year 2016 after the deal. It will be good for the rest of 2017. Now my question is, I will most likely fly another 110,000 miles before this years’ end, so does that give me another CP until the end of 2018?

    • @kevin – once you earn 110,000 qualifying points for the year you will earn the companion pass. Anything after that is just extra and earning 220,000 points for example will NOT extend it another year.

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