If you’ve been yearning to earn the Southwest Companion Pass — where someone can truly fly with you for free (plus taxes/fee) for an unlimited number of times — then right now is your best opportunity. Southwest just came out with a brand new offer on all three of their personal credit cards where you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass plus 30,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on the card within the first 3 months of account opening. The Companion Pass will then be valid through February 28, 2023 — giving you almost a full year with the pass.
Earning the pass is also incredibly fast. Typically, the pass hits your account 2-5 business days after the monthly statement in when you earn the pass. This means if you apply now, hit the minimum spend within your first billing month, you could be well on your way to flying two-for-one just next month!
What is the Southwest Companion Pass
The pass is truly an all-access buy-one-get-one opportunity, where any pass holder can have a companion fly with them for free (plus taxes/fee) on any single route Southwest flies — an unlimited number of times. There’s truly no restrictions — as long as there is a seat available for sale, you can book your companion a seat. I’ve been a companion pass holder for 13 years there’s absolutely no strings attached. You’re only on the hook for taxes and fees. Domestic routes are $5.60 and international routes can vary. Additionally, even if the first passenger uses points for a free flight, you can still add the companion.
Having the Southwest Companion Pass can save you thousands and thousands of dollars (or points) depending on how many times you fly during the year. Traditionally, the pass expires the year after it is earned on Dec. 31st, however, with this particular credit card offer, the pass is valid through Feb. 28, 2023. But, the 30,000 points earned from the welcome offer will still count towards earning the pass through the traditional method, would could potentially allow you to earn the pass even longer.
Southwest credit card welcome offer value
The main draw to the current welcome offer is that you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass. The value depends on how often you’ll travel over the next year. Fly once on a $500 roundtrip flight, you’ll save $500. Fly once a month on a $500 roundtrip flight, you’ll save $6,000! You can fly every single day if you truly want to.
You’ll then also earn 30,000 Rapid Reward points which are worth approximately $420. When using Southwest points the number of points required is loosely tied to the flight price. The higher the price, the more Southwest points required for the free flight.
Rapid Reward points also have no blackout dates so you can use the points whenever you so desire. This is great for families who are locked into those peak dates surrounding school vacation time. The Companion Pass can also be used during these peak times too!
Differences between the three Southwest credit cards
With three different personal Southwest credit cards, there are bound to be some differences. The three cards include:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card — $69 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card — $99 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card — $149 annual fee
The Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards are pretty similar in the benefits with one difference. The Plus card will give you 3,000 Rapid Reward points on every account anniversary year, where the Premier card will give you 6,000 Rapid Reward points. Although, the Plus card has a lower annual fee. Both cards will also give you 25% back on inflight purchases and two Early Bird Check-in credits per year. These credits are a new enhancement to the cards.
The card that really differs in its benefits is the Southwest 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, four upgraded boarding passes per year and 25% 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 around $180, so after the $149 annual fee, you are ahead by about $30. That doesn’t even take into consideration the other perks.
Extend your Companion Pass for all of 2023
With the three Southwest credit card offers, you’ll earn the companion pass right away — after meeting the minimum spend requirements. But, you’ll only receive the pass for a year. If you want to extend the pass for all of 2023 (expiring Dec. 31, 2023) that is possible as well.
Southwest also offers two different business credit cards. Even though Chase won’t allow you to have multiple Southwest personal cards open at the same time, you can however have two business cards open or one personal and one business. (While these cards traditionally are subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule, there’s been many reports of people getting approved even if they are well above that number).
Combining a business credit card with a personal card will help you earn the pass even longer. And you can even wait a few months to apply for a business card to not have to overlap to minimum spend requirements at once (the welcome offers for the businesses cards have been the same for quite some time).
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. You can learn more details about the Southwest Performance card here.
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Since you’re already earning 30,000 points with the personal credit card offer, you’ll then be able to add another 60,000 or 80,000 points to your companion pass qualification count, which will bring you to 90,000 or 110,000 qualifying points. To earn the Companion Pass through the traditional method, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points within the calendar year.
This means with the Southwest Premier card you’ll earn a total of 98,000 points (30,000 from the personal card offer, 60,000 from the business card offer and 8,000 total from meeting the two minimum spend requirements).
With the Southwest Personal card you’ll be slightly closer and end up with 120,000 points (30,000 from the personal card offer, 80,000 from the business card offer and 10,000 total from meeting the two minimum spend requirement).
So, which Southwest personal card is better?
If you are looking at just year 1 of being a cardmember, you’ll see that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card will give the best value during the year. If you look past year 1, you’ll see that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the best year after year. While this card has a higher annual fee, you should always come out ahead.
The Southwest Companion Pass is truly one of my favorite ways to travel for free. If you live near an airport that services Southwest, this is definitely the time to look into applying for one of these three cards. As aforementioned, I’ve been a pass holder for 13 years and it has saved my family tens of thousands of dollars over the year. I’ve used the pass to fly to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City (then Park City), Chicago, Washington, DC, Bahamas, Cancun, Dominican Republic, Aruba and much more.
Learn more about Southwest Companion Pass
- 13 Years with the Southwest Companion Pass… Thousands of Dollars of Free Travel!
- 10 Tips When Using the Southwest Companion Pass
- Fly to Hawaii 2-for-1 with the Southwest Companion Pass!
- Everything you Want to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass
- You Must TRAVEL By Your Southwest Companion Pass Expiration, Not Just BOOK By
- 7 Mistakes Not to Make to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass
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