Getting the Southwest Companion Pass

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I took advantage of this opportunity last year and now have had the Southwest companion pass all of 2012 and will have it all of 2013. Mr. Deals have flown with me for free many times this year!

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 when there is a 50,000 point offer. Typically the offer is either 25,000 points or 50,000 points after meeting a certain spend requirement. The points earned from the sign up bonus points also count towards the companion pass and  typically hit your account a few days after your statement closes.

For example, if you apply during the 50,000 point offer that is worth a cut and dry $714 towards a Southwest “Wanna Get Away” fare ( 70 points = $1 of travel). There is an annual fee is not waived the first year), however, you will get an additional points on your cardmember anniversary which is almost worth the same as the annual fee (it depends on which card you apply for).

NOTE: This post was written in November of 2012, but the same holds true as of today, you’ll just have to adjust for the year to see when you’ll earn the pass. 

So if you are looking to earn the points in 2013, you can get the card now and make sure not to spend the $2,000 per card required amount until early 2013. Getting an additional 10,000 points is easy with partner activity and credit card spend. You can also transfer points for 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.

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 November 2012, you will have it for the rest of 2012, plus 2013. If you earn the pass in January 2013, you will have it for the rest of 2013, plus 2014.

Credit card to help earn the companion pass:  As mentioned previously, there are three different Southwest cards – ALL of them have the same bonus offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements, but different annual fees and annual bonuses. You can view all three cards and the differences in this prior blog postYou can learn more about all Airline credit card offers here.

I know many are anti-Southwest, but I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the Southwest Companion Pass. Feel free to comment with any other questions!

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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. Deals, The best thing about the Companion Pass is that it allows us to burn SW miles for domestic trips we would never take + a few long weekend trips.

    I can save my UA and AA miles for international flights without ‘wasting’ those miles domestically.

  2. Can AirTran points be used toward the companion pass? There’s a 50000 point offer from AirTran, which I could use to add to my SouthWest points to get closer to a companion pass.

  3. The SW Companion Pass is such an amazing deal. My pass is also good until the end of 2013. I just wish they would add some of AirTran’s Caribbean destinations. I might have to do a quick trip to PR once that route is added in April.

  4. Got my companion pass in October after a mad scramble to get my spending in on time for a weekend trip with my girlfriend I have already used it once. Looking at taking about 6-8 flights in 2013 where I’ll use it. Great deal and so glad I read all these sites which mentioned it or I’d never have gotten the business card.

  5. Hello Deals,

    I earned 50,000 points on 1-20-12. If apply for one of the credit cards in January 2013 for another 50,000 plus transfer 10,000 from a hotel, will I earn the companion pass?

  6. Got the two cards, earned all the mileage and spending requirements, and was told by Southwest (yes, I even called them to make sure this deal was real) that the 50,000 points per card do not count toward companion status. Beware!

    • @Emily – Have you checked your account to see if they counted? Typically the Southwest agents aren’t aware, so I’d check to see.

  7. Im a new reader and a big fan, Thanks for all your tips!!
    I was wondering if I transfer points to southwest will they qualify for getting the companion pass? I have a 100k MR points and 65k chase UR points, is there any way i can do that? Thanks again!!

    • @mike – Only some program transfers qualify for the companion pass, and unfortunately MR and UR points do not. Although MR is no longer a transfer partner. Transfers from hotels count but the value isn’t the best. If you are able to pick up Wyndham Rewards cheap that is a decent transfer value.

  8. I’m new to this but thinking about taking advantage of this deal. So, If I spend $2,000 on both cards- I should get 100,000 points. Am I allowed to start using those points if I want to get the companion pass, or do I have to accrue an additional 10,000 points and have 110,000 points in my account to get the companion fare? Does it count if I earned them but spent them? Thanks!!!

  9. I got a birthday promo code : SETT7R2HF4
    $50 off your next roundtrip Southwest Business Select Fare ($25 off one-way) Travel by June 30, 2013
    There are blackout dates.
    I don’t ever travel Business Select, so if anyone wants to use it.

  10. Does SWA automatically associate the personal & business cards to make the 100k or should I wait for one card to process & then request the other? Or should I associate with my ff mileage account upon card request?

    much thanks

  11. I know I have seen something about this but I have a personal Southwest visa signature card already- a couple of years old. My husband also has one. If we each get a new card and meet the requirements for spending can one of us transfer points to the other and get the companion pass? Or will they approve two new cards for one of us if we already have one? We also have two other chase cards. Suggested strategy?

    • @susan – chase seems to only allow you to have two types if the southwest card. So you can each apply for one more but you will only get 59k points. And unfortunately transferring points Won’t count towards the companion pass.

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