Earning the Southwest Companion Pass

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This is post #2 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

I’ve posted on the Southwest Companion Pass before and it has been an extremely popular topic in the points and miles community, so I wanted to re-post for those that are now interested or new to the miles and points world. If you are looking to earn the companion pass for 2013 and 2014, I suggest applying when Southwest is running the 50,000 point promotion after meeting the minimum spend requirements. Their offer changes now and then between the 25,000 point and 50,000 point offer so make sure to check the offer page to see.

To earn the companion pass you must have 100 qualifying one-way flights or 110,000 Qualifying Points in one calendar year. You can earn Qualifying Points with credit card spend, Rapid Reward partners (i.e, Marriott, Avis, Hyatt), and flying Southwest. The easiest option is to earn these points by applying for a Southwest credit card. With the credit card you’ll get bonus points after meeting the minimum spend requirements that will count towards the 110,000 qualifying points needed to earn the companion pass. If you apply for both the personal and business card you’ll earn double the amount of points getting you that much closer to that companion pass. Once you meet the minimum spend requirements, the points will hit your Southwest account just a few days after your statement closes.

Getting additional points is easy with partner activity and credit card spend. You can also transfer points from hotels to get these additional points (Chase Ultimate Reward transfers will not count). While there is always the chance that credit card bonus points will eventually not count towards the companion pass, as of today it works and I am 99% confident it will continue to work – just want to make you aware of that 1% uncertainty. The terms and conditions do not include whether these points do or do not count, but MANY others have reported they count recently, and no one has reported otherwise.

I personally took advantage of this credit card offer in November 2011 and did not hit my minimum spend until 2012. Because of that I had the companion pass all throughout 2012 and continue to have it through the rest of the year. I’ve actually earned the companion pass prior to this in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Due to this, Mr. Deals has been able to fly with me for FREE on many flights. I’ve also had my mom and sister fly with me as well. I’ve been able to use the companion pass on the following flights: New York – Detroit, Hartford – New Orleans, New York – New Orleans, New York – Ft. Lauderdale (3x), New York – Los Angeles, New York – San Francisco, New York – Salt Lake City. If you value each round-trip at around $300, this companion pass has saved me $2,800! Of course, other airlines might have been slightly cheaper for the paying passenger, but not much.

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 ~$5 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 April 3013, you will have it for the rest of 2013, plus 2014. If you were to put it off and hopefully earn the pass in January 2014, you will have it for the rest of 2014, plus 2015.

Feel free to comment with any other questions!

Disclosure: These post contains affiliate links. While my goal for you is to travel on a deal, this is one I highly support as I’ve had the companion pass for many years! 

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. “I wanted to re-post for those that are now interested or new to the miles and points world. If you are looking to earn the companion pass for 2013 and 2014”

    Or more like it you are trying to get more readers to apply for a credit card so you can get paid. How nice of you to push this credit card now that it is part of the affiliate network, yet when the same offer was available a month ago it wasn’t mentioned because you didnt get paid.

    • @seth – sorry you feel that way but a month ago I was in labor and unfortunately posting about new offers was minimal for me. I’ve also ALWAYS advocated the southwest companion pass regardless of anything else. But thanks for reading!

  2. Thanks for posting this. I read a post like this for the first time just 3 months ago and would have never know about the SWA CP. I now have the CP and have 4 flights scheduled with the wifey just this year alone!

    Ignore the haters…they assume everyone is an expert at this just because they “think” they are.

    Thanks again!

  3. @dealswelike- Congrats on the new arrival. Timing is still a bit suspect, though I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    @Rick- Never claimed to be an expert. Though I do admit that when considering something such as a credit card application I do a lot of research before hand. Research that would have easily turned up information about the companion pass. I guess you don’t put as much time into researching which credit cards to go and would rather have information spoon fed to you.

  4. @Al: How is the Southwest process any more annoying than any legacy carrier’s boarding process?

    As a non-elite flyer, I actually much prefer Southwest’s boarding process. If I am flying AA, I’m usually going to be stuck in Group 4. What happens then is everybody hovers around the gate and then when group 4 is finally called, everybody tries to rush and push their way in. To me, that is much worse than lining up in an orderly fashion based on when you check in online.

  5. I have always found Southwest’s boarding process to be pretty smooth. Those that seem to complain are frequent flyers with elite status who are not used to being part of the unwashed masses who do not get priority board. There always seems to be at least one person who doesn’t understand the difference between Group A and Group B, but I find the gate agents are good at making sure people board when they are supposed to.

    My only complaint about Southwest is that sometimes I do not have speedy internet access at my destination or I am not free 24 hours before the return flight so I end up with a later boarding number.

  6. I’m all on board with @dealswelike. In fact, I’m jealous that she’s allowed to have affiliate links and make money off of writing about items she loves. All bloggers push credit cards indirectly or directly, but it’s their job. You should realize this before you get torqued from reading the blog! At the end of the day @dealswelike operates a stellar blog and we should only be so lucky to earn money doing what we love!!!!

  7. I had my points post from the credit card bonuses but I cannot find anywhere where they are counting towards A-list or companion pass. Where can I look for this?

  8. Also FYI my brother got both versions of the southwest personal card back in march. He got both bonuses and he now has companion pass.

  9. Am I the only person who didn’t get credit towards companion pass when meeting minimum spend on the card?

    I also transferred points from different hotel groups to my RR account and didn’t get the points to count towards CP.

    Am I all alone in this scenario? I am A List Preferred due to flying so much for work but was hoping to get the CP sooner rather than later this year and all avenues that are blogged about have failed.

    Any pointers or help would be much appreciated.

  10. @Seth – You are thankless towards the OP yet you are still here. Bored?

    Never mentioned I was talking about you or to you…I guess the shoe fit.

  11. @dealswelike – shame on you for not blogging about the companion pass between contractions. You sometimes have a good 5 minutes of resting time. 😉
    I, for one, had my unix terminal window open and was coding up until the moment I started pushing. The computing world waits for no one!
    (p.s. – congrats on the new arrival. hope you, baby and daddy are well!)

  12. What happens after cards expiration date? Do you start from scratch for the companion pass? Do you cancel the card and start again to get the pass?

  13. Do I have to accumulate 110,000 RR points in my account to get the CP or just earn those points within 1 year?

  14. Since you are covering the companion pass, is it possible for you to cover following
    How to redeem award tickets on companion pass when you buy an award ticket?

  15. Companion passes are the best! My spouse has had one for me since July 2012. It expires 12/31/13 and we have booked 9 trips on it through the end of this year. My spouse and I are talking this morning about adding the 10th trip in there. We got 100,000 bonus points for getting a personal and business card. Put the $2,000 spend on each card to earn the bonus points and only had to put another total of $6,000 on the cards to earn the CP. Best deal we have ever gotten.

  16. Quick question. I f I sign up now for two cards, 100000 points earned but still need 10000 to earn a companion pass. Lets assume I earn those additional points on Jan. 15. Will I then have a companion ticket good for all of 2014 and 2015 since the points were earned in January?

    • @jy – If you sign up now and the 50,000 points per card hit in 2014 then yes you will have the companion ticket for for all of 2014 and 2015. Just make sure that all points post in 2014.

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