How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass 2023

Alex

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in the points and miles world. Either I or my husband have had the Southwest Companion Pass off and on for the last 5 years. When you earn the pass you get to fly someone with you for free (minus taxes and fees starting at $5.60) every time you fly for the rest of the year in which you earn it and all of the following year! We have used it to fly to Hawaii multiple times, Cancun, San Diego, Denver, Washington D.C., and more. Let’s go over how you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass. 

 

How to Earn It

To get the Southwest Companion Pass you have to either take 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year. We aren’t going to even waste our time with that first option, we’re just gonna stick to getting those 135,000 points. 

The easiest way to get 135,000 points is through credit card signup bonuses. The standard bonus on the Southwest personal cards is 40,000 points, and 60,000-80,000 points on the business cards. Periodically the bonus on the personal cards will jump up to 50,000 points or, even better, 60,000 points!

Opening just one of these cards isn’t going to cut it. What you need to do is open two cards. Chase won’t allow having more than one personal Southwest card so you will need to open a personal and a business card or two business cards. I would recommend applying for the Southwest Performance Business and then one of the Southwest personal cards of your choice. I personally get the Plus. Between the bonuses on the cards and the spending to meet the bonus, you will have over 135,000 points (assuming the personal card has a bonus of 50,000 points). 

Additionally, as a Southwest credit card holder, you will be given 10,000 points toward the Companion Pass. If you opened your first card before January 1st then those 10,000 points will be deposited into your account by January 31st. If you become a Southwest credit card holder after January 1st then your 10,000 points will show up in your account up to 30 days after opening your card. These are NOT points you can use to book flights with, they are only Companion Pass qualifying points. 

If you have a business, then this is definitely a deal worth really considering. And if you don’t think you have a business, check out this post. You may be surprised to find out you have something that does count as a business. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timing

Timing when you decide to open these cards is super important. It can be the difference between you having the pass for close to two years, for about a year, or not even earning the pass. As I mentioned above, all 135,000 points need to be earned in one calendar year. 

To get the most time out of your Southwest Companion Pass you want to open your cards towards the end of the year, but not complete the minimum spend requirement until the beginning of the following year. You also need to make sure you complete the spending before the 3 months are up. In doing this you will have the pass for close to two years! Another reason to open your first Southwest card towards the end of the year is to get those 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points for being a Southwest card holder by January 31st.

What you don’t want to do is open one card and accidentally complete the minimum spend and earn the bonus in November or December and then finish the minimum spend on your other card in January or February. If you do this you will NOT qualify for the pass as all the points won’t have been earned in one calendar year. 

If you want to play it safe you can wait until January to start working on the Companion Pass. You won’t have the pass quite as long but you won’t have to worry about messing up and earning half the points in one year and the other half in another year. I even started earning the pass in July once- increased offers at the time meant it made sense for my family and we were able to use the pass that fall.

 

Qualifying for the Companion Pass

Southwest cards are issued by Chase so in order to qualify for these cards you’ll need to be under Chase 5/24. If you are at 4/24 then make sure you apply for the business card first. 

If you already have a personal Southwest card or have received a bonus on one in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for the bonus on another Southwest personal card. In order to be eligible it has to have been 24 months or more since you last got a bonus on a Southwest personal card. You also can’t currently hold a Southwest personal card so you will need to cancel that card and wait 30 days before you reapply.

 

Rules of the Companion Pass

Once you earn the Companion Pass you will be able to name a companion by logging into your account and designating who that person is. You are able to change that person three times each calendar year. To change the companion you will need to call Southwest. You need to wait until any booked flights for your current companion are complete before you call to change your companion. 

 

the Southwest Companion Pass helped get my family to Cancun

 

What Counts Towards Companion Pass

Along with credit card welcome bonuses and spending on your Southwest cards here are other points that count toward the Southwest Companion Pass:

Check out this page from Southwest for a full list of what does and does not count towards the Companion Pass. 

 

The Southwest Personal Cards

 

 

  • $69 annual fee
  • 3,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 2x the points on Southwest purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year

 

 

 

 

  • $99 annual fee
  • 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent

 

 

 

 

  • $149 annual fee
  • 7,500 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year, when available
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent

The Southwest Business Cards

 

 

  • $99 annual fee
  • 6,000 points on cardmember anniversary
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, and rideshare, and 1x on all else.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year
  • 25% back on inflight purchase
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit for transferring points (Southwest charges to move points to another Rapid Reward account- this benefit gives you $500 of free transfer credits) 

 

 

 

  • $199 annual fee
  • 9,000 points on cardmember anniversary
  • 4x points on Southwest purchases, 3x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases, with 2x points on local transit, commuting, rideshare, social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services, and 1x on all else.
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year, when available
  • inflight WiFi credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit for transferring points (Southwest charges to move points to another Rapid Reward account- this benefit gives you $500 of free transfer credits)

 

Bottom Line

The Southwest Companion Pass is ideal for family travel. It is one of the greatest deals going for travel with points and miles. Have you ever had the Southwest Companion Pass?

southwest airplane taking off

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