UPDATE: This offer has expired.
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you are probably already aware that the Southwest Companion pass is my favorite benefit in the entire travel world! With this pass, a companion can fly with you an UNLIMITED number of times for the calendar year it is earned plus the following calendar year. While there are many ways to earn the pass, the easiest way is by signing up for their credit card (if you are okay with that and eligible for another Chase credit card). The bonus points for the credit card do NOT post until you meet the minimum spend (and you have until 2019 to meet this spend) — since we are already in November, you are in the “safe” zone to apply for their cards and have the bonus points post in 2019, thus getting you the pass for all of 2019 and 2020!
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive a $75 Southwest travel credit every year + 7,500 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $110). You’ll also receive four upgraded boardings per year when available, plus 20% back on inflight purchases made with the card. $149 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive 3,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $45). $69 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, plus earn another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year. Receive 6,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $90). $99 annual fee.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Receive 6,000 bonus points every year after your Cardmember anniversary (worth about $90). $99 annual fee.
Earning the Companion Pass with Two Credit Cards
Since you have three months to meet the minimum spend (for the first part of the bonus for the personal card), if you were to apply for the card(s) today, for example, you have until February/March to meet the first part of the minimum spend. You can theoretically start spending on the card now and wait until January 1, 2019 to spend the last dollar to earn the bonus points. The points will then post once your statement closes for the month.
As you can see from above, there are a total of four Southwest credit cards. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Chase has put some limitations on applying for Southwest credit cards and you are now only allowed to have one personal and one business card open at a given time. This means you are no longer able to apply for two personal cards and have them both count towards the companion pass as you have been able to in previous years. But if you are able to get approved for a Chase business card, then you can still go the one business card and one personal card route. You are eligible for the sign up bonus on these cards if you are not currently a cardmember and have not received the sign up bonus for that particular card in the past 24 months. Remember, all four cards are entirely different products. For example, if you’ve had the Southwest Plus card in the past and are no longer a card member, regardless of when you earned the bonus on that card, you can now go ahead and apply for the Southwest Premier card.
So let’s say you apply and are approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card OR the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card OR the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card AND the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card, upon meeting the minimum spend for each respective card, that will currently get you 120,000 bonus points from the sign up bonus (60,000 points for the personal card and 60,000 points for the business card) — since you only need 110,000 points in a calendar year to earn the pass, the pass is automatically yours! No additional points required which is amazing!
If You Can’t Spend $12,000 on Your Card
If spending $12,000 on your card is challenging, you can still earn earn the 40,000 bonus points on the personal card by just spending $1,000. With the personal card + business card bonuses, that will still net you 100,000 points between the two. Since you also need to spend $4,000 between the two cards to earn the bonus points that will give you a total of 104,000 points (40,000 bonus points on the personal card + 60,000 bonus points on the business card + 1,000 bonus points for regular spend on the personal card + 3,000 bonus points for regular spend on the business card). This means you are then only 6,000 points shy of earning the pass. While on paper spending $12,000 on the personal card and $3,000 sounds like a lot, you really only need to spend $10,000 in total, NOT $15,000 to earn the pass. You can then spend the remainder of the year to earn the additional 20,000 points on your Southwest personal card. Remember, credit card spend is not the only way you can earn points — points can be earned from partner offers, renting cards, staying at hotels, flying Southwest, etc. This prior post will list out all the other ways to earn points towards the companion pass.
Southwest Companion Pass FAQs
While this prior post lists out Everything You Need to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass, I put together an FAQ section to help answer all your questions.
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 flying for FREE (plus the 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 per year. Since you need to allocate your companion when getting the pass, this allows 4 people to use the pass per year (those people can be repeated and put back on as the companion as well but counts as one of your allowed changes). You can easily change your companion online or by calling Southwest Customer Service.
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 January 2019, you will have it for the rest of 2019, plus all of 2020.
My Experience with the Southwest Companion Pass
I’ve had the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for at least 10 years now. It’s been a really long time so I’ve completely lost track on the exact number of years! I’ve used it for flights to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Aruba, Cancun, Washington DC, Denver, Chicago, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Detroit, Birmingham, etc. I love that I can use the pass for my husband or my kids while redeeming points for my flight. And Southwest flights can be canceled with no fee!! If you use points, the points go straight back into your account. If you pay for the flight, you receive a voucher for the amount paid to be used within a year of the date purchased.
I personally love the Companion Pass as it has saved me a ton of money throughout the years. And I also love Southwest too, so getting a free flight on a Southwest flight is a double win for me. Let me know if you have any questions!