Everything You Need to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass!

With the increased Southwest credit cards announced a few weeks ago, I've received many questions about both applying for the credit card (specifically as a way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass) and the pass in general - so here is an FAQ! The Southwest Companion Pass is personally my favorite travel benefit in the travel industry. I’ve had it for approximately 10 years have saved thousands of dollars because of the pass.

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With the increased Southwest credit cards announced a few weeks ago, I’ve received many questions about both applying for the credit card (specifically as a way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass) and the pass in general – so here is an FAQ! The Southwest Companion Pass is personally my favorite travel benefit in the travel industry. I’ve had it for approximately 10 years have saved thousands of dollars because of the pass. You can learn more about how I’ve earned the pass year after year here. Hopefully this will answer all of your questions, but please let me know if you have any additional questions!

FAQ’s About Applying the Credit Card Offer

**This is when the credit card was offering 50,000-60,000 points (now expired).

  1. When do I need to meet the minimum spend to earn the bonus points? The offer states that you must meet the minimum spend within 3 months. With that being said, many folks have been given an expiration date 115 days out from when they were approved for the card. Do not call Chase to find out your exact expiration date. Instead, send Chase a secure message on your Chase.com account. This will ensure you have that date in writing. I suggest meeting the minimum spend as quickly as possible so you can have the companion pass for longer!
  2. How do I know if I am eligible for the sign up bonus? Chase states that you are eligible for the sign up bonus as long as you have not earned a sign up bonus for the card within the past 24 months. You also cannot be an active cardmember. There are three different products, so those rules only apply if you are looking to apply for the same product you’ve already had. If you’ve had one of the products in the past 24 months, you can still receive the sign up bonus for one of the other two products.
  3. Am I eligible to earn the sign up bonus for more then one product. Yes! Since all three are three different products, you can earn the sign up bonus for every single product?
  4. How many Chase cards can I apply for at a time? Chase typically will only approve you for 2 Chase cards within a 30 day timeframe. So if you’ve applied for another Chase card recently and are looking to apply for two Southwest cards within the next week, you might be denied.
  5. How far apart should I apply for the two Southwest cards? From an approval standpoint, it does not matter when you apply for the two Southwest cards. You can apply a few days apart from one another or on the same day. There is no strategy with the timing that will help being approved for both. With that being said, you might automatically be denied for the 2nd card due to a “duplicate application”. If that happens, just call the reconsideration line and explain to them that this was for a different product and you need to keep expenses separate, thus needing two cards.
  6. If I do not have a business, can I still apply for the Southwest business credit card? Getting approved for a business credit card is harder, but very possible even if you do not have a documented business. You can say you have an eBay business, real estate business, consulting business, etc. You do not need a Tax ID and can just use your personal Social Security number on the application. Most likely applying for a business card will require a follow up call with the reconsideration.
  7. Are the Southwest cards subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule? Yes, if you’ve applied for 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you for another card.

FAQ’s About Earning the Companion Pass with the Credit Card Offer

  1. How will the two credit cards earn me the companion pass? With the current sign up offer you’ll receive 50,000-60,000 points per card after meeting the minimum spend. As of today, the points earned from the sign up offer DO count towards the qualifying points required to earn the pass. To earn the pass you need to earn 110,000 points in a calendar year. Currently, if you apply for the two card you can earn 100,000-110,000 points which gets you extremely close to getting the pass!
  2. How long will I have the Companion Pass for? Once you earn the pass, it is valid for the entire year you earn it, plus the entire following year. So if you were to earn the pass on February 15, 2018, for example, the pass will be valid through December 31, 2019! Almost two years!
  3. Chase and Southwest customer service is telling me that the sign up bonus does not count towards the Companion Pass, is that true? No! That is absolutely not true. As of today, points earned from credit card sign up bonuses will count towards the required points to earn the Companion Pass. Unfortunately, Southwest customer service reps are not always 100% accurate with their knowledge when it comes to the Companion Pass.
  4. When will the points earned from the sign up bonus post to my Southwest account? Points earned from the sign up bonus will post a few days after the statement close date where you meet your minimum spend. So if your statement close date is the 15th, for example, and you meet your minimum spend on February 15, 2018, the points will post to your account around February 20, 2018. I have heard, however, a few stories of it taking two billing cycles for the points to post, but typically it should just take one billing cycle.
  5. Do I have to apply for both cards, or can I apply for one card and my significant other apply for another? Points earned cannot be combined between two accounts. So one person will need to apply for both cards. Or, if you can only apply for one card (or only want to) then you can earn the additional points needed through credit card spend or Southwest partners.
  6. Do you have to buy the companion pass with the points earned? No. Once you earn 110,000 points the pass is yours and you still have those points to use to redeem for a free flight. You do NOT need to “cash” in the 110,000 points to receive the companion pass. You can use the 110,000 points on a free ticket for yourself and still apply your companion to fly for free on that same flight – so ultimately you are both flying for free!
  7. Can I use the points I receive from the credit card before earning the companion pass? YES! Using points has no affect on earning your companion pass status. While many points that are earned count towards the companion pass status, points available for redemption are separate than points towards companion pass status. So you can go ahead and book your flights and then once you earn the companion pass you can add your companion onto your reservation.

FAQ’s About the Companion Pass in General

  1. Are there blackout dates with the companion pass? 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 ~$5 taxes/passenger)!
  2. How many times can the companion pass can be used? Unlimited! There is no cap on the number of times the pass can be used.
  3. 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).
  4. How quickly does my designated companion go into affect? Immediately. To change your companion pass, call Southwest Customer Relations and they will easily assist you on the spot. You can then book a flight for your companion right away.
  5. What if I need to change my reservation, will the companion still be able to fly without the primary person? No. If you need to cancel or change your flight, your companions flight will also be cancelled. I’ve actually screwed myself over before as I needed to change my flight last minute and my companion had to buy a new ticket (at a much higher price since it was only a few days in advance of the flight).
  6. Can I use the companion pass on international flights? Absolutely!! You can currently use your companion pass on any route Southwest flies. Of course with international flights you are going to pay a little more in taxes/fees ($50-$100), but it is so worth it!
  7. Can the companion pass be used even on an awards ticket with points? Yes! The companion pass can be used on ANY ticket type, the primary person’s ticket does not have to be a paid ticket.
  8. If I go standby at the airport can I apply the companion pass? Unfortunately no.

Feel free to comment below with any more questions and I’ll be sure to add them to this list!

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