Big Tip on Getting a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Quickly

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By now, I probably sound like a broken record, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Southwest Companion Pass. I know I just wrote about this the other day (check out blog post here), but the ease of getting this is coming to an end TODAY! The reason for this is that the Southwest Airlines credit card offer that will get you a quick and easy 50,000 points ends TODAY – November 11, 2011. This offer has been seen a few times these year, so I have a gut feeling it will be back again, but… you never know!

I have received MANY questions regarding the credit card and linking it to the companion pass, so I will do my best to answer your questions here based on my experience and knowledge. Essentially, If you are interested in opening up another credit card (or two), you will end up with 50,000 points per card (worth $833) and on your way to a free companion pass (which is an unlimited access pass)!

Relevant Blog Posts:

How does the Southwest Credit Card get me a companion pass?

  • To earn a companion pass with Southwest, one needs to earn 110,000 Qualifying Points. With this offer, you will receive 50,000 points towards the 110,000 points needed. Now, if you get both the personal and business credit card, you should receive 100,000 points – meaning only 10,000 more points is needed! I highlight should as I have an old Southwest credit card, so have not taken advantage of this offer. I do not have personal experience with the 100% certainty that it works, however, many have reported being able to do this. I cannot guarantee that you will get the bonus points for both offers. I did re-apply for the two cards last week, so I am hoping getting the companion pass works! The terms and conditions do not state if the points do or do not count, so I am going off reported experience from others. No one has reported otherwise.

If I am able to get Qualifying Points from the credit card offer, how do I earn the remaining number of points needed?

  • You can earn Qualifying Points with credit card spend, Rapid Reward partners (i.e, Marriott, Avis, Hyatt), and flying Southwest. You will earn 1 point per ever $1 spent on the card. With paid Southwest flights, you will earn 6 x fare price for “Wanna Get Away Fares”, 10 x fare price for “Anytime Fares”, and 12 x fare price for “Business Select Fares”

How long is the companion pass good for?

  • The companion pass expires December 31 the year after it is earned. For example, if you were to earn the companion pass today, it would expire December 31, 2012. If you were to earn the companion pass January 1, 2012, the companion pass would expire December 31, 2013.

Is there a secret for waiting and earning the companion pass January 2012 to extend the expiration?

  • Yes! If you open the credit cards today, you have to make just one purchase on your card to earn the 50,000 points. Wait until January 1, 2012 to activate the card and then start spending! After activating, I would not wait too long to make your purchase. Try to get that companion pass as early as possible!

How many times can the companion pass be used?

  • Unlimited! No, I am not joking! You can take a companion with you every day of the year if you so desire! The only cost the companion will incur is the 9/11 security fee, which is either $5 or $10 each-way based on the number of stop-overs.

How many companions can use my companion pass?

  • Once you earn your companion pass, you will designate your companion. If you are not sure who will be flying with you on your first flight, hold off on designating this person. After the initial person is identified in the system, you can change your companion 3 more times during the validity of the pass. The person who received the 110,00 Qualifying Points always needs to be the passenger flying with the companion. This is important when deciding who should sign up for the credit card offers.

Once I earn this status, how quickly can my companion fly with me?

  • Once you earn your companion pass, a companion reservation can be booked immediately! To designate your companion, you can do this online or by calling Southwest at 1-800-435-9792. You will need to include your companion’s name, date of birth, and telephone number. With each companion, you will receive a companion pass card with their name on it in the mail. I have never had to show my companion pass, and have flown with my companion prior to this card arriving in the mail.

Are there any tips/tricks to booking a companion pass prior to earning it? I want to ensure the availability.

  • As long as there is a seat available, it is yours. However, I have read places that there needs to be 2 seats available to book a companion ticket. You could always book a refundable ticket, cancel it, and that opens up a seat for your companion. There is still no guarantee, but it’s a potential option.

What is the difference between the Southwest Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Plus Credit Card

  • Both credit cards have a 50,000 point offer, however, I cannot guarantee that you will get the bonus points for both cards (although you might). The main difference is the annual bonus and the annual fee. The Plus card has an annual fee of $69 and an annual bonus of 3,000 points (worth $50). The Premier card has an annual fee of $100 and an annual bonus of 6,000 points (worth $100). Neither fee is waived the first year. If you plan on having the card long term (5+ years) then the Premier card is a better value. If this is a churn/short term card for you, then the Plus card will be less expensive over the few years. Also, the Premier card allows you to earn 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10K in purchases with a max of 15,000 TQ points annually – this is great for those that will spend a lot on the card and care about obtaining status.

You can check out my Promotions page to see the latest offer for the Southwest Airlines credit card. Sometimes the offer is 25,000 points or 50,000 points. 

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. […] The Southwest Credit Card 50K point offer is still live! Not sure how long the link will be active for, but it was supposed to offer last night. Wanted to let you all know in case you missed out! I personally am a HUGE fan of the companion pass. Have been able to use it 7 times in the past year and a half, saving about $2100 – not too bad!…-pass-quickly/ […]


  1. Do you know if the offer for the 50,000 points with the Business card is also expiring? I just applied for the Premier and Chase Sapphire, and received notice I was approved for the Premier. I wanted to wait until after Jan. 1, 2012 to activate my card and apply for the Business to get enough points for the companion pass.

    Should I go ahead and risk being turned down for the business, since it’s expiring?

    • @Erin – As far as I am aware all the 50K offers are expiring. I am going to apply for both today as well, so we will see!

  2. Are you sure about the minimum spend? I’ve got both cards (just got them) and I’m waiting to start charging next year. But both state (bus and personal) get the 50K points after first purchase…I don’t see anywhere where it states you need to spend $3K in 90 days. Correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you.

    • @Ryan – thanks for keeping me honest there. Not sure what I was thinking! You are correct, just one purchase and you are good to go! I have updated the post.

  3. If I was getting my business card next week, how could I get the points to post by the end of the year. I was told by reps previously that you cannot be billed unless you have 25 days of your interest free period after your first spend.

    • @Daniel – You could ask for your bill date to be moved up. That is something you will have to ask Chase to do for you (if they will)

  4. Making me anxious here. I am following this same strategy to get the CP. However I do not recall seeing a spend within 90 days provison. I activated my cards when I got them, (2 weeks ago, and yesterday for personal and business). I am waiting till Jan to buy anything though. Does it really matter when you activate them as the points get generated when you buy something? I hope by activating them now I have not just locked myself out of the potential to get the CP. Thoughts?

    • @Scott – Within 90 days you just have to make a purchase to get the points (there is no minimum spend needed). The only reason to wait to activate your cards is just to play it safe. My assumption is that the yearly fee will not trigger the points, but I am not sure.

  5. I confirmed with Chase that the fee will NOT trigger rewards. I guess I am still ok with 90 days as that will put me into the first few weeks in Jan for the first card and Feb for the busniess card. Just makes me nervous. I must have total overlooked that requirement. Or I would have waited to activate.

  6. plus my CP would only be good for the remainder of this year and next. waiting till Jan will give me a longer time horizon on he CP.

    • @Scott – correct, that comment was for someone else who is trying to get the points posted this year. For you, you are good just as is!

  7. If we wait to activate the cards, is it possible to still pay the annual fee even when the cards are not activated? Why does the purchase had to be made withinn 90 days of getting the card. I don’t see anything in the T&C related to that.

  8. I just logged into the southwest website to see how close I was to earning the companion pass, and I realized that Southwest seems to have changed their T&C:

    Companion Pass status is based on taking 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 110,000 Qualifying Points in a calendar year. A qualifying flight for Rapid Rewards Companion Pass status is a one-way revenue flight on Southwest Airlines from an origin city to a destination city, including any intermediate stops and/or connections on Southwest Airlines. Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights, points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. ****Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.****

    Even the website seems to be confused at to which points are qualified and which aren’t depending on which view I am in. When I click on snapshot-> then in recent points activity on view all my points->year to date progress towards my companion pass, I only see the one paid flight that I have flown on southwest (and no credit card activity). However, when I click on My Rapid Rewards, and on the left side of the screen I see three boxes: Tier Status, Companion Status, and Recent points activity. In this view, I see that I am very close to achieving my companion pass!

    I am really concerned and feel Southwest may not let me use my credit card bonuses (2*50,000) towards my earning companion pass!

    But, the real concern is how can they change their T&C all of a sudden without any announcements?


    • @Chirag – I am not activating and purchasing on my Southwest credit cards till January 1st, so I cannot tell you from my own experience. However, many people have emailed me and commented that the credit card bonus did count towards the companion status. Where it says that “program enrollment” bonuses do not count, I believe this is a bonus when joining the Southwest program, not the credit card bonus. I believe these are the same T&Cs that they’ve always had.

  9. The website change that caught my eye was the viewing of the points, where my 50,000 bonus points originally showed and counted towards my companion pass, but now they do not show as they are counting towards the pass.

    What else have you heard from people? Is there a resolution for CC BONUS counting through this year?

    • @CJ – Since I have not yet activated my credit card, I am not sure what it should / should not look like. Feel free to send me a screen shot if you’d like. I have not heard from anyone else on this issue.

    • @Jenn – Unfortunately the bonus points from the credit card were never supposed to count toward tier points, just companion status.

    • @Jana – First off, congrats! To do this is very easy – go to “My Account.” You will then be in the Snapshot tab of the page. You will see all the reservations you have already booked. There will be a link below each reservation saying something to the effect of “Add a companion.” You have to first make your reservation to get this to work. Feel free to email me with any questions.

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