It’s Time To Earn Your Southwest Airlines Companion Pass!

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The Southwest Airlines Companion pass is one of the best deals in the points game. If you are not familiar with the Companion Pass, you are missing out. I have held the companion pass since 2015, and it has been an incredible way to save on flights if you frequently travel with another person. Get more information about these cards and other travel rewards cards here.


What is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass? 

The Companion Pass is a benefit received from the airline that lets you choose one person to fly free with you every time you purchase a flight or redeem points for a flight on Southwest! No blackout dates and no questions asked. For each flight, your companion’s ticket will only cost the taxes and fees ($11.20 round trip on domestic flights).

The best part? There are no limits as to how many flights your companion can accompany you on, and the pass is valid for the year in which it is earned and the full calendar year following! That means if you earn the pass in January or February, you would get almost 24 months out of it!


How Can the Southwest Companion Pass Be Earned? 

In order to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, you need to either earn 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 one-way revenue flights in a calendar year. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are two methods to earn it, with credit cards being our top choice.


Method #1:

Sign Up For the Chase Southwest Credit Cards – This is the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  All you need to do is sign up for two of the Chase co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards which are currently offering a 50,000 point signup bonus. After $2,000 in spend within the first 3 months of card membership, you will have earned 104k Southwest miles. The miles earned from the credit card go towards the 125k miles you need to earn for the Companion Pass.

However, this got a little bit harder in April 2018. Chase now restricts you from holding both of the Southwest personal credit cards. This means in order to earn the companion pass via credit card sign up bonuses, you must get one of the personal Southwest cards and the Southwest business card. If you are not eligible to open a Chase business card, this method will not work for you.

There are two versions of the personal card (Southwest Plus and the Southwest Premier card) and there is also a business version of the card. Bonus miles earned from the credit cards count towards companion pass status! The annual fees are not waived on any of the Southwest cards for the first year, but this is a small price to pay for the total value you can receive with the Companion Pass.

This method is how I earned my pass for 2015 and 2016. It’s important to note that all of the Chase co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you have more than 5 new credit accounts within the last 24 months you will be declined. It’s also worth noting that points transfers from programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards will not be eligible for the companion pass, even though they are a 1:1 transfer partner of Southwest Rapid Rewards.


Method #2:

Being a Frequent Southwest Flyer – As mentioned above, frequent travelers with loyalty to Southwest can earn the Companion Pass by flying 100 one-way revenue flights in a single calendar year. Regardless of how many Rapid Rewards points are earned on these flights, a companion pass will be issued based on your number of flights alone. It is worth noting that if you take a paid, round trip flight, with a connecting stop each way, you will be credited with 4 total segments towards the companion pass. This isn’t the easiest way to earn companion pass status, but it is most certainly an option that might make sense if you are a Southwest Airlines road warrior.


Bottom Line

Southwest is one of our favorite airlines. Not because their product is superior to other carriers I have flown, but because they know exactly who they are and they are extremely good at it. I love that you get two free checked bags, no cancellation or change fees, and the general positive attitude of the Southwest crew members. The Companion Pass is far and away the best deal in the points game and I was able to get well north of $2,000 in value out of it with my most recent pass. Get more information about these cards and other travel rewards cards here.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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