Everything you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass, and how to earn it

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The Southwest Companion Pass is by far the best travel perk in the entire travel world. Period. There is quite honestly no other airline that offers anything even remotely similar or as amazing. Of course flying Southwest Airlines is not for everyone, but if you like to travel 30,000 feet in the air and you are near a Southwest hub, I highly suggest considering this pass. It allows you to fly a friend or family member with you for free every single day of the year.

As you probably know by now, the bonus points earned from the Southwest credit cards will also count towards the 135,000 qualifying points needed to earn the pass. And with the current welcome offers from the Southwest credit cards, you can earn the pass almost immediately with a personal and business credit card.

On a daily basis, I receive many questions about the pass, so here’s everything you need to know.

What exactly is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass allows another passenger to fly with the Companion Pass holder for free, an unlimited number of times, for the life of the pass. The only cost for the person flying on the pass is that they will have to pay the “9/11 Security Fee” which costs $5.60 per one-way flight on domestic flights. For international flights, however, the fees vary and can can sometimes cost up to $100 roundtrip, depending on the country you are visiting. You are ultimately paying the same fee as you would if you were to use Southwest points for your ticket.

The first flier just needs to book his or her ticket and after that flight is booked, you can add the Companion Pass member onto your flight. The primarily traveler can even use points for their own flight. It takes an extra minute to book the Companion Pass flight and you can even do it online. Just remember, your companion must be booked on the same exact itinerary as you. If you need to cancel your ticket, it will result in the companions ticket being canceled as well.

Even if you do not currently have the Companion Pass yet, you can still book your flight and once you receive the pass you can add your companion onto your itinerary. There just needs to be at least one seat left on the flight.

Who can be my Companion?

Anyone can serve as your Companion! It can be a friend, family member, complete stranger, really anyone! Once you earn the pass you will need to designate someone to be your companion. Then, throughout the calendar year you are allowed to change your companion up to three additional times. This means up to 4 different people can fly with you for free throughout the year — and than up to another 3 different people the following year. Your companion can also repeat over the two years.

To change your companion, you’ll need to call Southwest and they can change the designated person immediately. This is great since there is no lag time and your new companion can be booked instantly.

southwest cancelation coronavirus
Fly 2-for-1 while being a Companion Pass holder.

When is the Southwest Companion Pass valid through?

After earning the pass, it is valid through December 31 of the following calendar year. So let’s say you earn the pass now, the pass will not expire until December 31, 2025! This means you must fly by this date, not simply book by this expiration date.

When can I use the Southwest Companion Pass?

You can use the companion pass as much you’d like! There are no blackout dates with the pass and as long as there is one seat available for purchase, you can use your companion pass. Unlike some other airline’s companion passes, there are no requirements to use it — no route restrictions, no date restrictions, no dollar minimum for the first passengers flight, etc. This is really one of those no strings attached passes!

Where does Southwest fly?

Southwest currently flies to more than 120 destinations throughout the United States (including Hawaii!), Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. You can check out the route map here and see if Southwest flies to where you are looking to go.

a map of the united states with blue circles and dots

Can the Southwest Companion Pass be used to fly to all Southwest destinations?

Yes! As I mentioned above, there truly are no restrictions. You can use the companion pass to even fly to their international destinations such as Costa Rica and Aruba.

a two children on a beach
We just flew Southwest and used the Companion Pass to go to the Bahamas!

When will the Southwest Companion Pass actually hit my account?

Once you earn 135,000 qualifying points, the pass is yours! If you are earning points with credit card spend, the points will post to your Southwest account within a few days of your credit card statement closing. Once you earn the required 135,000 points, the pass is yours. Although you might not actually receive the physical pass in the mail for a few weeks, once your account is updated, you can start booking your companion immediately.

Who is eligible for the Southwest credit card, as a way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass?


Chase states that you are only eligible as long as you have not received a sign up bonus for that particular card in the past 24 months and that you are not currently a cardmember. Also, Chase no longer allows you to have more than one personal Southwest credit card open at a time, so if you already are a cardmember for one of their cards, you’ll need to cancel before you apply for a different version of the card. Remember though, even if you’ve received a sign up bonus for one of the cards in the past, you are still eligible for another card as they are considered three different products.

However, there’s no limits to the number of Southwest business cards you can apply for or have open at a time. This means you’re able to apply for both a personal and business card or even two business cards.

Chase also put in place a “5/24” rule awhile ago which means if you’ve been approved for 5 or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase will most likely not approve you for another card. Unfortunately, all Southwest credit cards are subject to this rule.

Why should I get the Southwest Companion Pass

I am a huge advocate of the Southwest Companion Pass. I’ve had it for 15 years at this point! My response to why you should get it is “because it is awesome and will save you thousands of dollars”. With that being said, the Southwest Companion Pass is only a good option for those looking to fly Southwest. If you do not live in a Southwest hub or prefer not to fly Southwest for many other reasons, then the pass is absolutely not worth it for you.

Southwest is also my favorite airline due to many favorable policies, such as:

  • No checked bag fees: This is the only airline that does not charge you a dime for checking your bag, regardless of fare booked. In fact, each passenger (including those who are flying on the Companion Pass!) can check two bags for free.
  • No change or cancelation fees: Again, this is the only airline that will not charge you for changing or canceling a flight, regardless of the fare purchased. While some other airlines might waive the fee for those who have status or book a certain fare price, this policy is for every Southwest flier. This is the case for booking both revenue tickets and free tickets using points
  • Family boarding: Southwest allows for family boarding where if there is a child 6 years old or younger in your group, the entire family will board after the “A” group. This will ensure your family can always sit together and there is no need to pay for your seats.


If you think you’ll fly Southwest often this year, the companion pass is great and earning points via the credit card offers are by far the easiest way to help earn the pass!

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5 years ago

And as an added “strategy”… If I have the companion pass and no points and my wife is the companion and she has a bunch of points, she can book a flight for me using her points and then she can fly with me for free.
Might be obvious but at one time a few years ago, I thought the person who “owned” that pass had to have the points.

5 years ago

Any recommendations for how long to wait between applying for the cards? I was just approved for the Chase Southwest Business card and I want to apply for the Chase Southwest Personal card. Should I wait a few weeks or am I good to go because I haven’t applied for any other Chase cards in my life?

Daniel Cooper
Daniel Cooper
5 years ago
Reply to  Benji

I waited a week and had no problems getting the personal card. The one thing I would do is look for an offer that get you to the 110,000 points so you have the companion pass for next year as well. I found an in flight offer link on reddit for 50,000 points after spending $2000. This was the fastest way to get the CP for next year with the lowest amount of credit card spend.

Good luck and safe travels

4 years ago

If u don’t do the offers is $1=1 point?

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