Chase, Southwest

Southwest Companion Pass for TWO Years: It’s Go Time

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A few weeks ago, I wrote that it was time to start planning for this strategy. It is now time to act….

For those of you that love Southwest, there is NO REASON for you not to have a Companion Pass.

A Companion Pass allows you to designate a companion that flies free with you (only paying taxes) for the year.

You can easily save THOUSANDS in a year with this.

Once earned, you’ll have the status for the rest of the year and the next calendar year as well, so if you do it at the start of a calendar year, you can get two full years!  The *strategy* we have previously talked about means hitting your bonuses on two Southwest credit cards next January.  For most, that means getting the cards now and hitting the bonuses in January.

Let’s talk timing: 

When you qualify for the Companion Pass, you earn it for that calendar year AND the following calendar year. Meaning that if you earned it in October 2018, you’d have it for 15 months (Oct-Dec 2018 and all of 2019). But if you qualify in January 2019, you would have it for 24 months, as it would be valid all the way through December 2020.

The way you earn this pass is 100 flights or 110,000 Rapid Rewards points earned in a calendar year.

Yes, that’s a lot. BUT, what if you could just sign up for 2 credit cards, spend $1k-$3k on each (within 3 months), and get the pass right then and there?

That’s a lot more doable, isn’t it?

To make this strategy work, you must get both the business credit card and one of the personal cards.

Right now the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has a signup offer for 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months. ($99 annual fee)

There are then three varieties of personal Southwest branded credit cards. Pick the one that suits your needs the best:

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card (40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, 20,000 bonus points if you spend $12,000 in your first full year, $69 annual fee, earns 3,000 rewards points at each anniversary)

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, 20,000 bonus points if you spend $12,000 in your first full year, $99 annual fee, earns 6,000 rewards points at each anniversary)

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card (40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, 20,000 bonus points if you spend $12,000 in your first full year, $149 annual fee7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary, $75 Southwest travel credit each year, 4 upgraded boardings per year when available.)

That gives you 104,000 points (bonus + spend),even if you don’t hit that $12,000 mark for the extra points, leaving you needing just 6,000 points. If you d hit it, that’s just gravy.

And the perfect time to apply is November/December based on how long you need to meet all the minimum spends.

But one VERY important thing to keep in mind is that you absolutely can not hit your minimum spends for the bonuses in this calendar year. Don’t even get super close.

Make sure that you hit those minimum spends in January. If you hit even one of them early, it will post in 2018 and kill the deal. Once you apply, you’ll have 90 days to complete the spend. You can always get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card now (wait until January to meet the minimum spend!) and then get the other card in December or January.

The only way to do this is with one business card and one personal card. It’s no longer possible to get two personal Southwest credit cards as it was in the past.

If you qualify for a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (and remember, you can have a small home business with almost no revenue and you can qualify for this card) which comes with 60,0000 points, you just need the two cards – the business card and one of the above personal cards. When you hit your minimum spend and earn an additional 6,000 points, you get the Companion Pass. Note that if you do this, apply for the Business card first and then the Personal card – just in case you are at 4/24 (of 5/24) with Chase already as the Business card won’t count against you.  Remember to do this at all, you do have to be under your 5/24 limit.

If you need a few more points: That could be $1,000 (or less if you buy a higher fare) on Southwest flights or a combination of that and things like car rentals, Rewards Network dining, flowers, etc (just make sure you use the associated links (i.e Southwest shopping portal) to earn your Rapids Rewards points!).  That Rewards Network dining portal, by the way, is giving 1,000 bonus points for your first $25 dine… but be aware that the portal bonuses won’t count – only points earned from actual dining and shopping. Southwest specifies only “base” points from partners like shopping and dining count.


Questions? Ask me –  on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.  

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.