Easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass with credit cards


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One of the easiest ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is typically by applying for one of the Southwest co-branded credit cards. Fortunately, when you apply for one of their cards, the bonus points earned also count towards qualifying companion pass points, which will help you get one step further to enjoying the coveted pass.

While I am a huge fan of the Southwest Companion Pass and have been a pass holder for 13 years, I am always advocating readers to get the pass — if they live in a Southwest hub — but, is this really the best offer?

Key Links: 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. ($69 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. ($99 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year. ($149 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit CardEarn up to 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. ($199 annual fee)
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit CardEarn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months ($99 annual fee)
southwest cancelation coronavirus
Fly 2-for-1 while being a Companion Pass holder.

Typically, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points to earn the pass, but right now Southwest is boosting account bonuses and crediting accounts with 25,000 points as long as they had their account open by Dec. 31, 2020. So if you fall into that category, that means you actually only need 100,000 points to earn the pass through the traditional method. While no credit card will earn you the pass on it’s own — which we’ve seen in the past — you can combine two credit cards to earn the pass without having to step foot on a plane.

southwest credit card

While Chase doesn’t let you have two personal credit cards open at the same time, it does allow you to apply for both a personal and business card. So if you are eligible to apply for both, once you are approved and hit the minimum spend offer on one of the business credit cards and personal cards, that will automatically put you over the 100k qualifying point threshold.

For example, let’s say you apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card, you’ll earn 40,000 points with the Plus card and another 60,000 points with the Business Premier card. Without even accounting for the points earned from the minimum spend requirement, that will automatically earn you 100,000 points. The exact amount to earn the pass.

Or, if you do not qualify for the 25,000 point boost, you can instead apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card (instead of the Business Premier card) and that will earn you 40,000 points from the Plus card and another 80,000 points from the Business Performance card. That’ll give you 120,000 points, plus another 6,000 points from meeting the minimum spend requirement. This 126,000 points will then earn you the pass right away.

When you earn the pass, the pass is valid for the rest of the year it is earned, plus the entire following next year. So if you were to earn it today, you’ll end up having the pass until Dec. 31, 2022.

However, if you aren’t flying Southwest right now, you might want to hold off until a better offer comes along. There are also ways to time the pass to apply in the fall and then have the points hit your account next January. That would then earn you the pass for most of 2022 and all of 2023.

Southwest Credit Card Differences

With three different personal Southwest credit cards cards, there are bound to be some differences.

The Plus and Premier cards are pretty similar in the benefits with one difference. The Plus card will give you 3,000 Rapid Reward points (~worth $45) on every account anniversary year, where the Premier card will give you 6,000 Rapid Reward points (~worth $90). Although, the Plus card has a lower annual fee.

The card that really differs in its benefits is the Priority card. This card is on the higher end in terms of annual fees, but the benefits really pay for itself.

With the Priority card, you’ll receive $75 in travel credit towards Southwest purchases per year, 7,500 Rapid Reward bonus points annually (~worth $113), four upgraded boarding passes per year and 20% back on your in-flight purchases. In just the first year with the card, that $149 annual fee can be thought of as just $74 (due to the travel credits) and then even less depending on how you use the upgraded boarding passes and in-flight purchases. After the first year, you’ll actually come ahead. The travel credits and bonus Rapid Reward points automatically are worth $188, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by $39. That doesn’t even take into consideration the other perks.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is your all-access pass to fly a companion with you an unlimited number of times throughout the life of the pass. As long as there is at least one seat available to book the companion, the seat is yours for free. The only caveat is that you’ll have to pay for taxes. For domestic destinations that is just $5.60 per one-way. International destinations are slightly more and can cost up to $150ish roundtrip — depending on the destination.

southwest credit card

You’ll initially set your companion once the pass is received and then can change your companion up to three times per year. Since the pass expands across two calendar years, this means you up to 7 people can fly as your companion — for free!

The points earned from the credit card offer — and additional credit card spend — can also be used towards the first passengers fare. So that means both passengers can fly for free!

With Southwest’s flexible change and cancelation, Southwest is an ideal airline if you aren’t 100% sure of your plans. With Southwest, you can get a credit or your points back if the flight goes down in price. You can also change or cancel your flight for absolutely no fee. No other airline comes even close to offering these same flexible benefits.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass

Overall…

If you are looking for the easiest possible way to earn the pass, applying for the Southwest credit cards is the perfect solution.

If travel is on your radar, earning the pass year-after-year is one of the best — and cheapest — ways to fly. It has truly saved my family tens of thousands of dollars over the past 13 years. And especially with COVID-19, I can book flights and always cancel.

Learn more about Southwest…

Learn more about Southwest Companion Pass

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thank you for supporting Deals We Like and enjoy traveling on a deal!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Alex
Alex
3 months ago

I believe you have to spend $5000 (not $3000 as indicated in the blog) to earn the companion pass.

Leslie
Leslie
3 months ago

So do you just cancel your credit card after getting the reward since you can only have one southwest card at a time and cannot have received an award within 24 months prior?

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