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! 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.
Five Southwest Credit Card Offers
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card — Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card — Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
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 + 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 plus 60,000 points for a total of 100,000 points. Since the minimum spend counts as qualifying points as well, that will net you another 4,000 in points putting you just 6,000 points shy of earning the pass. There are many ways to earn the rest of the points required, but the easiest methods are typically through credit card spend and shopping online.
Business plus Business
Since the two business credit cards are offering the highest welcome offer of the bunch, 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 140k 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.
Personal or Business
If you only want to apply for one card, that will still get you pretty far towards the 110,000 points needed. Depending on the card you apply for, you’ll receive between 40,000 and 80,000 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 80,000 points from the welcome bonus plus another 5,000 points from meeting the minimum spend requirement, for a total of 85,000 points. Once those points hit your account, you are only 25,000 points shy of earning the pass which is definitely do-able. Remember, you must earn all of the points by the end of the 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.
If you are only eligible for one of the personal cards, which are currently offering only 40,000 points, you might want to consider holding off. There is a good chance that a higher bonus will come around for these cards at some point later this year, or you can wait until the beginning of next year to give you a longer time to earn the rest of the points required.
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!
Where will your Southwest Companion Pass take you?