One of the best things about the Southwest credit card offers is that the welcome offers you receive count towards earning the amazing Southwest Companion Pass. Sine we are approaching the end of the year, you can have your bonus points earned from the credit card offer hit your Southwest account in 2020. This means you’ll have the Companion Pass for all of 2020 and 2021 — almost two full years to fly BOGO!
While there are many ways to earn the pass, for many folks, the credit card route is the easiest way as it gives you the most amount of points right off the bat. And yes, the points earned from the welcome offer does count towards qualifying points!
- 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)
Since you have three months to meet the minimum spend, if you were to apply for the card(s) today, for example, you have until mid-January to meet the minimum spend. Go ahead and spend that last dollar of minimum spend required on Jan. 1, 2020 and the points will post once your Jan. 2020 statement closes. Once you earn the remaining points needed in 2020, you will earn the Southwest Companion Pass. Tip: You need a total of 110,000 qualifying points to earn the pass. NOTE: Southwest will require you to earn 125,000 qualifying points to earn the pass starting Jan. 1, 2019. All the scenarios below were written when the requirement was only 110,000 points.
As you can see from above, there are a total of five Southwest credit cards. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Chase has put some limitations on applying for Southwest credit cards. You are now only allowed to have one personal card open at a given time. But remember, there are still business card options if you qualify. With that being said, there are still many solutions and with the increased limited time offers you can get the 110,000 points required right off the bat.
Earning the Pass with Southwest Credit Cards
Personal Card plus Business Card
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 + 70,000 points for a total of 110,000 points. This will earn you the pass right off the bat.
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 Card plus Business Card
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.
This is the route I am personally doing to secure my pass for 2020 and 2021. I was recently approved for the card when there was an 80,000 point offer, but I will make sure to not have my points post until 2020. That means not hitting my minimum spend until afterJan. 1, 2020. Then I will just need 25,000 more points to earn the pass which I will get through credit card spend, using their online shopping portal and some other methods.
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 you 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). 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 January 2020, you will have it for the rest of 2020, plus all of 2021. Tip: You can only fly through Dec. 31, 2021 with your companion pass, not simply book by this date.
My Experience with the Southwest Companion Pass
I’ve had the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for over 11 years now and with this credit card offer I will have year 12 and 13 under my belt as well. I’ve used it for flights to: Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Ft. Myers, 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.
What is your Southwest Companion Pass strategy?