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The Super Great Value Of A Southwest Companion Pass

- Nov 16, 2021 Travel0 comments

Imagine getting onto a plane and having a friend or spouse accompany you on the flight without them paying for a ticket!

That’s why the Southwest Companion Pass is practically the best thing when it comes to domestic travel.

In this post, I’ll teach you just how to earn a Southwest Companion Pass so that you can be one of those flying with a companion for free.

About the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring along a travel companion on your Southwest flight to travel for free (besides for fees and taxes which is often as low as $5.60).

Whenever you fly Southwest your chosen companion can hop along for free for an unlimited amount of flights. Your flight can be booked using cash or even Rapid Rewards points.

Once you earn a companion pass the pass is good for the remainder of the calendar year, plus the following calendar year.

So if you earn a Companion Pass just around the beginning of 2022, you have it for the full year of 2022 plus the full year of 2023.

How to earn a Southwest Companion Pass

Update: Starting in 2023 you will need 135k points to earn the pass but Southwest cardholders get a 10,000-point break. So for Southwest cardholders, it is still 125,000 points.

To earn a Southwest Companion Pass you must earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards miles within a calendar year. It seems like a steep amount of miles.

But it’s not so steep. Here is why.

You can earn a pass with miles earned through:

  • Booking flights with Southwest Airlines,
  • Making purchases on Southwest Rapid rewards credit cards,
  • Or through points earned from welcome bonuses on Rapid Rewards credit cards.

The following points will not count toward a Southwest Companion pass:

  • Purchasing points from Southwest
  • Points transferred to Southwest from other programs, including from Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Transferring points from a Rapid Rewards member
  • Points you get when enrolling in the Rapid Rewards program
  • Points converted from hotel or car loyalty programs.

Earn a pass with the help of welcome bonuses

The Southwest Rapid Rewards personal credits cards currently have an all-time high welcome bonus which will bring you very close to the 125,000 points needed. Here are the details

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card
Welcome offer: Earn up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Plus earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $12,000 within the first 12 months.
Annual fee: $69

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
Welcome offer: Earn up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Plus earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $12,000 within the first 12 months.
Annual fee: $99

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
Welcome offer: Earn up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months. Plus earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $12,000 within the first 12 months.
Annual fee: $149

So with these new Southwest credit card bonuses, you will earn a total of 112k points.  So that takes you very close to earning a free companion pass. For the remaining 13K points, you can either earn it through flights, spend, or sign up for one of the Southwest business cards and get a bonus on one of the business cards as well. Here are the details.

Southwest Business Premier
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months.
Annual fee: $99

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.
Annual fee: $199

Welcome offer eligibility

Please note; you can only get approved for one Southwest personal card in 24 months. So you cannot apply for all three cards at the same time. Here are the exact welcome offer terms:

“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products”.

Southwest business cards are counted separately so you can get one Southwest personal plus a Southwest Business card (or even get one Southwest personal plus both Southwest business cards).

Getting a business card without an LLC

We’re talking about applying for a business card but you have no business to speak of? That’s no obstacle. You can easily apply for a business credit card without an LLC or C-Corp.

Use your name as the business name, your SSN in place of the requested EIN, and your home address as the business address.

The Chase 5/24 rule

Since Chase is the issuer for these cards, you must make sure you are within the Chase 5/24 rule in order to be eligible for a new Chase Southwest card.

The 5/24 rule allows you to have up to 5 personal cards from any issuer opened within the past 24 months. Business cards are not counted towards the 5 cards. If you’ve reached the limit of 5 personal cards opened within 24 months, you will not be approved for a new card from Chase (personal or business cards).

When is the best time to get the Companion Pass

The pass is good for the remainder of the calendar year you earn the pass plus for the following year. So becoming eligible for the pass before the year 2021 is up would be unwise. Because you have just about a month and a half to go for this year. If you wait for the beginning of 2022, you get yourself close to two full years; 2022 plus 2023.

So we all agree to wait until January 2022 to finish acquiring 125,000 Rapid Reward miles to earn the companion pass. You can however go ahead and get your first card now so that you can start your spending requirements.

Other ways to earn points

Other than opening up a business and personal credit card, there are some actions you can take to make it to the 125,000 mile finish line.

Restriction for the Companion Pass

Once you earn the pass you get to choose one companion to travel with you for an unlimited amount of flights. You can change companions up to three times per calendar year for a total of 4 companion choices per year.

Do take note that there are very few Southwest flights leaving from NYC so this may not be so relevant for people living in, and traveling out of, NYC. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to have this info up your arm.

How to choose and change your companion

Congratulations! Once you earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards miles, you earn a companion pass and you can choose a companion to travel with. This is done through “My Account” on Southwest.com.

You can change your companion up to three times per calendar year. This can be done only by calling Rapid Rewards at 1800-435-9792. It should be a quick phone call.

Before changing companions, you must cancel any reservations with your existing companion.

Southwest says you must leave 21 business days after changing companions before being able to make a new reservation with your new companion. But in real life experience you may be able to make reservations with your new companion immediately though.

So to sum it up

Many people are able to obtain $1000s of dollars in free travel through the use of a Southwest Companion pass. Plus, it’s easy to earn through Southwest credit card welcome bonuses. Just be wise and time your eligibility right, so you earn the pass as close as possible to the beginning of a calendar year, like this you’re able to take advantage of the pass for close to two full years (the remainder of year number 1 plus the full year number 2).

Card Details
Welcome Bonus

Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months.

Earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.

Earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months.

Earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months.

Earn 50,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months.

Rewards

– 3 points on Southwest Airlines
– 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
– 1 point everywhere else

– 4 points on Southwest purchases
– 3 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
– 2 points on social media and search engine advertising, and on phone and internet services
– 1 point everywhere else

– 2 points on Southwest purchases
– New! 2 points on local transit, commuting, rideshares, on internet, cable and phone services, and on select streaming.
– 1 point everywhere else

– 3 points on Southwest purchases
– 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotels and car rentals, local transit, commuting, rideshares, on internet, cable and phone services, and on select streaming.
– 1 point on all other purchases

– 3 points on Southwest purchases
– 2 points on local transit, commuting, rideshares, on internet, cable and phone services, and on select streaming.
– 1 point everywhere else

Benefits

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Sam Sam has nearly a decade's worth of experience educating his many readers on everything credit. Sam spends his days checking out credit cards for a full report, from the minute benefit details to the shebang of welcome bonuses. Plus studying the ins and outs of building proper credit. It’s his favorite pastime and he loves sharing it with others.

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