UPDATE: This offer has expired.
Right now Southwest is offering a pretty unique credit card offer where you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass + 30,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card. While this is a great offer, the huge disadvantage is that the offer will only earn you the pass through December 31, 2019. Without the credit card offer, to earn the pass the traditional method it requires you to earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year and the pass will be valid through the end of the year it was earned, plus the entire following year. That means if you earn the pass the “old fashion way” you’ll actually have the pass through December 31, 2020 giving you one more year to fly 2-for-1.
Earning the Pass the Old Fashion Way and Getting Two Year Out of the Pass
As I mentioned above, it requires earning 110,000 qualifying points to earn the pass. The great thing about all Southwest credit card offers is that the bonus points you receive also count as qualifying points. Right now the publicly available offer will give you the companion pass right away plus 30,000 Rapid Reward points (after spending $4,000 on the card). In the past, we’ve seen offers as high as 65,000 points which means you are significantly closer to earning the 110,000 points. A very popular way to earn the pass for two years is to apply for two credit cards (both a personal and business card), as that could potentially give you the number of points needed right off the bat, or just leave you with another 10,000 points required.
If your goal is to actually earn the pass through 2020 (instead of 2019) there are still ways to do so. Here are your options:
1. Apply for the Public Offer for the Personal Card Now and the Business Card Later
If you apply for the personal card now with the Companion Pass + 30,000 point offer, that will allow you to enjoy the pass ASAP. Most likely, the pass will hit your account a few days after your credit card statement closes for when you met the $4,000 minimum spend. Clearly, meeting the minimum spend sooner than later is ideal as it will allow you to fly 2-for-1 for longer.
Aside from the Companion Pass part of the offer, you’ll still receive 30,000 bonus points. These bonus points, along with the 4,000 points earned from meeting the minimum spend will also count towards the 110,000 qualifying points needed to maintain your pass into 2020. This will then leave you with just 76,000 more points to earn within 2019.
One way to earn those points is to apply for the Southwest Business Credit Card. You can apply for the card now with the 60,000 point offer, or apply at a later date when you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend. Of course there is no telling what the offer will be later in the year, but typically this card goes back and forth offering 50,0000-60,000 points. Let’s assume you apply for the card during a 60,000 point offer after you spend $3,000 on the card, that will then give you another 63,000 qualifying points—leaving you with only 13,000 more points required. Other ways to earn the pass include additional credit card spend, flying Southwest, using the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal, referring others to the Southwest credit card, and crediting partner activity to Southwest such as hotels and car rentals. To earn 13,000 throughout the year should not be too difficult. Or, if you are not eligible to apply for the Southwest Business Credit Card, you can also try to earn as many qualifying points throughout the year—although you’ll need 76,000 more points.
2. Apply for a Non-Public Offer for the Personal Card and the Business Credit Card
While the publicly available offer will give you the Southwest Companion Pass right away, there are other offers available for the card. Right now, there are two different opportunities that I am aware of to earn 40,000-50,000 points with the Southwest Credit Card, although they do not come with the Companion Pass offer as well.
- Southwest Credit Card Referral Link: Right now you can sign up for an offer giving you 40,000 Rapid Reward points after you spend $1,000 on the card. This offer is only valid through signing up through a friends referral link. NOTE: This is my personal referral link for the card.
- In-Flight Offer: You might find a 50,000 point offer for the card at the airport or on a Southwest flight. I haven’t been on a Southwest flight since the beginning of December, so I cannot personally vouch that the offer is still available, but based on readers comments they were still offering it at least a few weeks back.
If you aren’t flying on Southwest at the beginning part of the year, you might be better off applying for an offer that will give you more bonus points even though you won’t get the Southwest Companion Pass right away. If you can apply for one of the personal cards with a 40,000-50,000 point offer plus the Southwest Business Credit Card with a 60,000 point offer, this will give you 100,000-110,000 points towards the pass. Remember, you only need 110,000 points, so if you find a 50,000 point offer, the pass is yours after meeting the minimum spend requirement on both cards. If you apply with a 40,000 point offer, you’ll have to earn another 6,000 qualifying points after you meet the minimum spend on both the cards (100,000 points with the two offers, plus 4,000 points total for meeting the minimum spend).
Although you are still applying for two cards, this method will give you more Southwest points to redeem for free travel and you not have to work as hard to earn the remaining points required to keep the pass until 2020.
3. Wait and apply later in the year.
Right now, the current offer goes through February 11, 2019. There is no telling what the card might offer post this date, but my assumption is it will fluctuate between 40,000 and 60,000 points. If you do not need the pass right away, you can always wait and see what offers pop up. If we happen to see another 60,000 point offer, you can apply for one or two cards during that timeframe and earn the pass pretty easily. Or, if you ideally want the pass in 2020 and 2021 (NOT 2019 and 2020), you can wait until October 2019 and earn the pass with the two credit card method. Again, there is no telling what the offers will be at that point, but I’d assume we’d see some sort of heightened offer later in the fall or early in the winter. You just need to wait for the sign up bonus points to post in January of 2020 and you’ll have the next two years with the pass.
While the offer right now might be the best way to get the pass ASAP, if you are looking to earn the pass for next year as well there are definitely methods to allow you to fly 2-for-1 for almost two years! I personally have had the pass for the past 11 years so while I can personally vouch for the pass and tell you that having the pass has saved my family tens of thousands of dollars, look to see where Southwest flies and if the pass works for you!