The Southwest Companion Pass is by far my favorite travel benefit in the travel world. With the pass, it allows a friend or family member to fly with you for FREE (plus taxes/fees) an UNLIMITED number of times throughout the life of the pass. Think: Buy One, Get One Free, ALWAYS! There are no restrictions to the pass, there just has to be at least one seat left for sale to book the ticket. It truly is a no strings attached pass and it can save you and your family thousands of dollars or points!
To earn the pass, you need to accrue 110,000 qualifying points. You can earn these points by flying Southwest, shopping online, renting cars, etc. However, one of the best and easiest ways is through the Southwest credit cards. All bonus points earned from signing up for a new card as well as regular credit card spend count as “qualifying” activity. Fortunately, Southwest has five different credit cards which means earning the Companion Pass solely on the welcome offers is absolutely possible.NOTE: Starting Jan. 1, 2020 Southwest will require you to earn 125,000 points to earn the Companion Pass.
Related: New Southwest Credit Card Offers
Five Southwest Credit Card Offers:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. ($149 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. ($199 annual fee)
Personal plus Business
While Southwest does not allow you to have two personal cards open at the same time, you are allowed to open up both a personal card and a business card. For example, you can apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card plus the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and earn 40,000 points + 80,000 points for a total of 120,000 points. This will put you well over the 110,000 threshold and allow you to earn the pass with no extra work.
Another combo could also be the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card plus the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card which will earn you 40,000 points plus 60,000 points for a total of 100,000 points. You are then only 10,000 points shy of earning the companion pass, which requires another $10,000 on either card or by utilizing other methods to earn the rest of the points required.
Business plus Business
Since the the business cards are not as restricted, you might prefer to just get both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card. This would give you 130k points which is well over the amount needed! The pros of going this route is that since they are business cards, they will not count against your Chase “5/24” number. (Keep in mind though that Chase has gotten more strict about approving business cards, so they might ask you to show actual documents of your business).
Personal or Business
If you only want to apply for one card, that will still get you at least half way over the 110,000 point threshold. Depending on the card you apply for, you’ll receive between 40,000 and 70,000 points, plus the points earned from meeting the minimum spend requirement. In this situation, I suggest going for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card as it is offering the highest welcome offer amongst the bunch. This card will earn earn you 70,000 points from the welcome bonus plus another 5,000 points from meeting the minimum spend requirement, for a total of 75,000 points. Once those points hit your account, you are only 35,000 points shy of earning the pass which is definitely do-able. Remember, you must earn all of the points by the end of the calendar year, as qualifying point balances reset on the first of every calendar year. Note: You do not lose the points towards booking free flights, just the Companion Pass counter goes back down to zero.
As you can see, earning the Southwest Companion Pass is quite easy. I am personally on my 11th year with the pass, and the credit card welcome bonuses have definitely helped me along the way. Although there are some years where I have earned the pass without the credit cards, so there are other methods! The Companion Pass has truly saved my family a ton of money over the years and I love the flexibility of being able to cancel or change a Southwest flight with no fee.
Best of all, the points earned from the welcome offers can be used towards the first passengers ticket as well. Even when you use points for a ticket, you can still use the Companion Pass as well. This means two free tickets for the cost of one set of points!
Just remember though, you’ll want to time your credit card applications accordingly. If you do not want to earn the Companion Pass until 2020 and then have it for 2020 and 2021, wait until Oct. 1st to apply. If you want it for 2019 and 2020, then go ahead and apply now!
Where will your Southwest Companion Pass take you?