The Southwest Credit Card Spend Isn’t as High as You Think to Earn the Companion Pass!

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As I wrote about a few days ago, Southwest just increased the sign up bonus on all of their credit cards where you can now earn up to 60,000 points. This is not only a great way to increase your Southwest Rapid Reward balance but to also earn the Southwest Companion Pass which allows another passenger to fly with you for free an unlimited number of times! Initially, when I saw the increased offer I was blown away with the minimum spend required to earn the entire 60,000 points. For the three personal card you’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, then an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within the first year. Yes, you read that right — $12,000! This is the highest minimum spend requirement I think I’ve ever seen on the Southwest credit cards. Typically that high minimum spend is more common on business credit cards or those that are offering an incredibly insane number of points, such as the current Capital One Spark bonus offers.

But You Do Not Actually Need to Spend the Full Minimum Spend Requirement to Earn the Companion Pass!

A very common way for many folks to earn the Companion Pass is by applying for two Southwest credit cards. Since the bonus points earned currently count towards the 110,000 qualifying points required, the credit route is the easiest way to go. Chase no longer allows you to have two personal cards open at a time, so you’ll have to apply for one of the three personal cards and then the business version of the card. The minimum spend between the two cards is $15,000, and I that is a ton to spend, I get that!

But, if you really look into the numbers, you actually only have to spend $10,000 to earn the Companion Pass. While this is still a lot of money to spend, it is way less than $15,000! So here is the math:

  • Apply for one of the three Southwest personal credit cards. Spend $1,000 on the card within three months and you’ll earn 41,000 Southwest points (40,000 points from the bonus + 1,000 points for credit card spend)
  • Apply for the Southwest business credit card. Spend $3,000 on the card within three months and you’ll earn 63,000 Southwest points (60,000 points from the bonus + 3,000 points for credit card spend).

Between the two cards, you’ll already have 104,000 qualifying points leaving you with just 6,000 points to go!

  • Then, spend $6,000 on your Southwest personal card and that will earn you 6,000 Southwest points

And there you go, 110,000 qualifying points are yours! In total, you are spending $7,000 on your Southwest personal card and $3,000 on your Southwest business card, for a total of $10,000 spend, to earn enough points needed for the Southwest Companion Pass. You’ll then have an entire year to spend the additional $4,000 required to earn the extra 20,000 points on the Southwest personal card. Since you do not need those extra 20,000 points right away, as you will have already earned the Companion Pass, you can take your time.

Of course, this method only works if you are able to get the business credit card as well. If you are not eligible, then those extra 20,000 points will most likely be pretty critical to earning the pass. Another alternative is if you have a Southwest flight coming up, their onboard credit card offer has been a steady 50,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card. While I am not sure if that offer still exists due to this increased offer, you can hold off and see.

Remember, credit card spend is not the only way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. There are many partner activities you can take advantage of as well!

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Hi and Thanks. I used your links for personal and businnes versions. What’s your rationale for putting the additional 6K on the personal card rather than the business card? Only reason I ask is that I’m already on the way to 5K on the business card.


Thanks much for the reply. My error was in not screen-shotting my buisness offer. I remembered wrongly that it too would require the 12K spend to get the 60,000pts. I’m delighted it doesn’t – but wish i wouldn’t have “overspent” on that card. Thanks for your site – and the travel I never could have afforded without the whole community.

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