UPDATE: This offer has expired.
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 and eligible for another Chase credit card). The bonus points for the credit card do NOT post until you meet the minimum spend (and you have 3 months to do so) – now that October has hit you are in the “safe” zone of applying for their card and having the points post in 2019, thus getting you the pass for all of 2019 and 2020!
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive a $75 Southwest travel credit every year + 7,500 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $110). You’ll also receive four upgraded boardings per year when available, plus 20% back on inflight purchases made with the card. $149 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive 3,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $45). $69 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive 6,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $90). $99 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Receive 6,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $90). $99 annual fee.
Since you have three months to meet the minimum spend, if you were to apply for the card(s) today, for example, you have until the beginning of January to meet the minimum spend. Go ahead and spend that last dollar of minimum spend required on January 1, 2019 and the points will post once your January 2019 statement closes. Once you earn the remaining points needed in 2019, you will earn the Southwest Companion Pass – which is AMAZING!
As you can see from above, there are a total of four Southwest credit cards. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Chase has put some limitations on applying for Southwest credit cards. You are now only allowed to have one personal and one business card open at a given time. So you are no longer able to apply for two personal cards to count towards the companion pass as you have been able to in previous years. But if you are able to get approved for a Chase business card, then you can still go the one business card and one personal card route. You are eligible for the sign up bonus on these cards if you are not currently a cardmember and have not received the sign up bonus for that particular card in the past 24 months. Remember, all four cards are entirely different products.
So let’s say you apply and are approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card OR the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card OR the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card AND the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card, upon meeting the minimum spend for each respective card, that will currently get you 100,000 bonus points from the sign up bonus (40,000 points for the personal card and 60,000 points for the business card), plus the points earned from your regular every day spend to meet the sign up bonus. To earn the Companion Pass you only need 110,000 points, so this is leaving to earn at most 10,000 more points to earn the pass. Or, if you are only able to be approved for the personal card, that will still get you more then a third there. Remember, all points earned in 2018 will not carry over to 2019 – all 110,000 points must be earned in 2019. You can earn this from additional credit card spend, partner offers, flying Southwest, etc. This prior post will list out all the other ways to earn points towards the companion pass.
***You also might want to hold off on applying for the personal cards as there is always the chance that a better offer will come out within the next few months. In the past, at least one of the personal cards always offered at least a 50,000-60,000 point offer in the Fall timeframe. Of course there is no guarantee though. On the business side front, we’ve never seen a higher offer, so 60,000 points is probably the best you’ll see. You might want to get the business card now to start meeting the minimum spend and then apply for the personal card in a month or so to give you a longer time to meet the minimum spend for both cards.***
Southwest Companion Pass FAQs
While this prior post lists out Everything You Need to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass, I put together an FAQ section to help answer all your questions.
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 2019, you will have it for the rest of 2019, plus all of 2020.
My Experience with the Southwest Companion Pass
I’ve had the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for at least 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, Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Detroit, Birmingham, etc. I love that I can use the pass for my husband or my kids 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.
I personally love the Companion Pass as it has saved me a ton of money throughout the years. And I also love Southwest too, so getting a free flight on a Southwest flight is a double win for me. Let me know if you have any questions!