UPDATE: This offer has expired.
If you like to fly for free, then the new Southwest credit card offer that launched yesterday might be your calling. With all three personal versions of the card, including the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you’ll receive the Southwest Companion Pass + 30,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points after you spend $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months. Most of you are probably already well versed in this pass, but if you are new to this blog or have skipped over my Southwest posts, the pass allows a friend or family member to fly with you for FREE (plus applicable taxes) an UNLIMITED number of times during the life of the pass. With this card, you’ll receive the Companion Pass through December 31, 2019.
Due to this pretty unique offer, I have received many questions although there is one common question that keeps on being asked, “When will I actually receive the pass?” This is a great question since you ideally want to earn the pass as quickly as possible. Of course, this offer is only really good for those that will actually use the pass so you want to get as many months out of it as possible.
So when will you actually be able to use the pass and have your friend or family member fly with you for free?
For starters, you actually need to spend $4,000 on the card to receive the sign up offer. This means you will not automatically receive the Companion Pass after getting approved for the card. You actually have to start using the card first! This means you’ll want to act fast to spend the $4,000 on your card. Of course I do not suggest buying things you do not need, but put all your purchases on this card as quickly as possible. You can even look into purchasing gift cards at your grocery store, Amazon, etc. Or ask a friend or family member if you can put a large purchase of theirs on your card and pay them back in cash.
Now, you’ll have to wait until the credit card statement closes where you spent the last dollar of that $4,000 minimum amount. The Companion Pass should post to your account about 2-3 business days after your statement close date. With that being said, since this is a unique offer and very different than what we’ve seen in the past, there is no saying when it will actually post. The terms say 8-10 weeks, but my gut tells me it will be just a few days after your statement close date. At least that is how all of the offers in the past have worked where you receive bonus points.
So let’s say you were to apply for the card now and get approved instantly. Typically, you’ll have about 1-3 weeks after you are approved before your first statement cycle closes. For most folks, this will just include the annual fee, plus any quick purchases. For you, it would be ideal if you could put the $4,000 on the card right away. I suggest calling Chase and getting the exact date from them on when your first cycle closes. Any amount put on your card afterwards will not count till your second cycle closes. Of course if you aren’t planning to fly Southwest for a few months, then you have some time, but the sooner the better. If you go the apply fast and spend fast method, my guess is that the earliest you’ll receive the pass is February 1, 2019. While that will not allow you to fly a friend for free during the month of January, it still will give you 11 months with the pass and you should be able to snag it right in time for Presidents Weekend and Spring Break!
Another thing to keep in mind is that the annual fee for the card does NOT count towards the $4,000 minimum spend. Make sure you spend $4,000 on the card in addition to the $69 or $99 annual fee that will hit your card in the first statement cycle. Many folks have learned this lesson the hard way, so here is your warning to not make the same mistake!
Once your statement closes and you’ve hit the $4,000 minimum spend, I suggest checking your Southwest account on a daily basis. Typically, you will see your account updated prior to receiving a “congratulations” email or a letter in the mail. Once it hits your account, the pass is yours and you are good to go! First thing you’ll have to do is select your Companion. You can do that online initially, although if you need to change your companion during the year, you’ll need to call Southwest to have them manually update your account. Once your companion is selected, you can immediately start adding the companion pass seat to any reserved flight — even flights that were already booked! So if you are going for the Companion Pass, you can start booking your flight now and add your companion on later.
Companion Pass Credit Card Offer
As I mentioned above, the new offers for the three personal Southwest credit cards will allow you to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. Instead of earning the pass the hard way by earning 110,000 qualifying points, just one credit card sign up can do it for you. Pretty awesome for those looking to earn the pass this year and are not able to earn it the hard way. Just keep in mind that unlike the traditional method of earning the pass where the pass doesn’t expire until the year after it is earned, the pass that comes with the credit card offer will expire this year — December 31, 2019. So this method will give you about 11 months with the pass instead of almost 2 years, but this is definitely the easy route. It is also a good opportunity to try it out and see if earning the pass year after year is actually worth it for you and your family. In my family, I’ve had the pass for 11 years so it is 100% worth it in my household!