what is Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

Category : Airlines / Posted on: January 16, 2023 / Author: Admin

what is Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

Basics of Southwest Companion Pass

Let's get down to the basics. If a person earns 125,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points within a calendar year, they will earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

After earning the Companion Pass, you will be able to name someone who will fly with you whenever you fly for $5 each. International flights will be subject to higher taxes).

Notice: Companion Pass holders will have to earn 135,000 points starting January 1, 2023. Southwest credit cardholders will automatically receive 10,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points. This means that the requirement for Southwest credit cardholders is essentially the same. These points cannot be used to redeem for flights. They are just enough to jump-start your Companion Pass Tracker by 10,000 points.

You can also change your companion up to three times per year.

Since 2015, when we got our first companion pass, we have only travelled with Southwest domestically. My husband and I had a companion pass for a lot of the time. This meant that both our children could fly domestically for $5 each.

There are some tricks that can help you earn it, maximize your Companion Pass, and there are also restrictions. These are the rules to help you enjoy two-for-1 travel.

Check out introduction to Southwest if you haven't flown Southwest before. We love Southwest's customer service, including the ability to check in and change flights as long as we are still on the flight.

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #1 - Timing

When it comes to companion passes, timing is crucial.

To earn your Companion Pass, you must earn 125,000 points per calendar year (January 1, - December 31,).

Logging in to Southwest's website will show you your Companion Pass Tracker under your Account Page. This is reset every January 1.

It is not possible to redeem points for Companion Passes. This perk is simply an additional perk Southwest offers to reward loyalty.

To earn a Companion Pass, you must earn 135,000 qualifying points starting January 1, 2023. You will automatically receive 10,000 qualifying points if you have a Southwest credit card by January 31.

The best time to make money

Once you have earned the required points, you will receive the companion pass for the remainder of the calendar year and the next calendar year.

It is best to get it early in the year so you have the most time with your Companion Pass.

You will be able to use the companion pass until December 2024 if you have earned it by January 31, 2023.

You will not be able to use the companion pass if you get it in December 2022. This is approximately 12 months.

To maximize your value, try to get it early in the year. Continue reading to learn the strategies I use in order to get it as soon as possible.

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #2 - Earn a Companion Pass through opening new credit cards

One of the easiest ways to earn a companion pass is to open 1 or 2 new Southwest credit cards from Chase. Chase is the exclusive issuer for Southwest cards. There are three Southwest-branded personal cards and two Southwest-branded business cards. Spending $1 on a Southwest credit cards earns you at most 1 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. However, the sign-up bonus is what is most beneficial in earning a companion pass.

There are many sign up bonuses. You can often earn the Companion Pass by just earning two sign-up bonuses during the year. Sometimes, you can earn the Companion Pass with just two signs up bonuses. In other cases, you may need to add a few points to your earnings.

Personal cards sign up bonuses start at 40,000 points if you spend $1000 within 3 months. However, they can go up to 60,000+ points if you spend $2,000 to $3,000 more often per year. There will be different levels to some bonuses. For example, you can earn 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 within 3 months and 50,000 if you spend $12,000 in 12 months. Sometimes, Southwest offers a limited-time Companion Pass in conjunction with a sign-up offer for a credit card. The Southwest Performance Business card offers 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within 3 months. The card's perks can vary in price, so the annual fees will range from $69 to $199.

Credit card bonuses are only available to those with excellent or good credit. Chase's "5/24" rule requires that you have not opened more than five credit cards from any issuer in the last 24 months to be eligible for credit card bonuses. If you are just getting started with credit card openings, my getting started page will help you.

Note: You are limited to earning a bonus on one personal Southwest credit card every 24 months. If you wish to earn the Companion Pass exclusively through credit card bonuses, you can combine 1 business Southwest card with 1 personal Southwest card.

These are your options for cards. You can apply for these cards by using my affiliate links. It helps me support my website and doesn't cost anything.

Personal Cards: 75,000 Points!

All Southwest personal cards now offer 75,000 points for spending $3,000 within 3 months.

The Priority Card is my favourite, even though it comes with the highest annual fees. After the $75 annual statement credit, the annual fee drops to $74. It is very easy to redeem the statement credit. You can even purchase $75 worth of Southwest Gift cards online each year. The credit automatically appears on my statement. It can also be used for taxes, fees, and in-flight food or beverages.

The Priority card offers 4 upgraded boardings, instead of 2 early bird check-ins, and more points on your card anniversary.

You are not eligible to apply for a new personal credit card if you haven’t received a bonus on any personal cards within the last 24 months. You can apply for another card or get another bonus 24 months after receiving your bonus, provided you have not cancelled your old card.

Southwest Plus Card

  • After spending $1,000 in the first three months, you will earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Annual fee $69
  • Two Early Bird Check-ins per Year
  • 3000 points per annum on your cardmember anniversary
  • Earn 2x on Southwest flights, local transit and internet services.

Southwest Premier Card

  • After spending $1,000 in the first three months, you will earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Annual fee $99
  • Two Early Bird Check-ins per Year
  • You earn 6000 points each year as a cardmember anniversary
  • Southwest Airlines: 3x earnings; 2x for local transit, internet cable, phone services, and selected streaming
  • 1500 Tier Qualifying points for every $10,000

Southwest Priority Card

  • After spending $1,000 in the first three months, you will earn 50,000 bonus points.
  • Annual fee $149
  • Southwest purchases eligible for a $75 statement credit
  • upgraded Boardings per Year
  • 7500 points per annum on your cardmember anniversary
  • Southwest Airlines: 3x earnings; 2x for local transit, internet cable, and phone services.
  • 1500 Tier Qualifying points for every $10,000
  • Before applying, make sure to check your Companion Pass strategy.

Business cards

We don't see as much variation on Southwest business cards than we do on personal cards. They tend to offer very consistent offers.

You are likely eligible if you have a side hustle that makes you income. These include things such as walking dogs,tutoring, selling used toys on Facebook, and even babysitting.

You will need to apply for these types of "small business" by applying as a sole proprietor.

Southwest Premier Business Card - 60,000-point bonus

  • Annual fee $99
  • 2 Early Bird Check-Ins per Year
  • In-flight WiFi available for free
  • 1500 Tier Qualifying points for every $10,000
  • Southwest flight earns 3x; local transit earns 2x
  • You earn 6000 points each year as a cardmember anniversary

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Credit Card - 80,000 Point Bonus

  • Annual fee $199
  • TSA Precheck/Global Ent statement credit
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per Year
  • In-flight WiFi available for free
  • 1500 Tier Qualifying points for every $10,000
  • Southwest Airlines earns 4x; local transit, cable, phone, and selected streaming services earn 2x
  • 9000 points per annum on your cardmember anniversary

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #3 - Time your Credit Card Applications

As we have already mentioned, January is the best month to get the companion pass. How do you achieve that with credit cards, then? The trick to the Southwest Companion pass is to be precise with your timing.

It is important to carefully time your application for a card. Chase business card applications can take several weeks to process. I recommend that you start the application process in October 15. It is possible to apply for both a personal and business card simultaneously and get approval. You can also apply for one first and wait 30 days before applying for the second.

Next is the crucial step: when you will get your bonus points.

Chase usually gives you your bonus points the day after you meet your minimum spending requirements.

Let's suppose you apply in October for the card and spend $2000 in November. For example, your statement will close on December 15, and you'll earn your 50,000-bonus point. But, wait! This is not what you want. You want to earn bonus points so that they can be posted in January as soon as possible.

You don't want your minimum spend to be completed before January 1.

Did you get it? You must finish your minimum spend by January 1.

Technically, you should be able complete it once your December statement closes. Each person will have a different closing date. Call to confirm the closing date of your statement. You may also change it if you wish.

You can do end-of-year charitable giving with your credit card on December 31. This is one of our favourite ways to meet minimum spending requirements.

If you aren't sure, wait until January 1st to make big purchases. It is possible to apply for your cards as soon as October 3. Spending must be completed within three months. Be careful when choosing your dates. If you do not have travel plans for the year, you can apply for the cards in December or January. Chase has historically increased sign-up bonuses for all Southwest credit cards in the fall and winter. Personally, I prefer to wait until I see an offer of 60,000 points before jumping on it.

You can also sign-up for my free, downloadable guide that has an optimal timeline.

Your Companion Pass Tracker will display the 10,000 points you earned by opening a credit account before January 31.

To earn the Companion Pass, here are some sample card combinations

These calculations were made using the 75,000 points bonuses on personal cards, which was available November 3, 2022.

Keep in mind that if you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card on the "first day of the calendar year", you will receive a 10,000 Companion Pass Qualifying point boost. These points will be deposited no later than January 31st. Even if you have multiple cards, you only get one boost. This "boost", while it does not give you points that you can redeem, is only going to add points to your Companion Pass tracker.

Personal cards only:

After you spend, opening a Southwest personal card will earn you 78,000 points. The benefits of the Priority card are better than the Plus card with a lower annual fee because I prefer it. You will need to find additional ways to earn the 47,000 Companion Pass points even if you only have a personal card. You can do this by adding spending to your card, referring friends or shopping portals.

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #4 - Other ways to earn Rapid Reward Points

Sign up bonuses for new credit cards are the best way to get a big boost in your quest to earn Companion Pass. It's not the only way. These are just a few of the options. These are the best card offers, but they may not be the most effective.

If you have a Southwest Credit card, refer a friend or spouse to one.

  • Referral bonus usually equals 20,000 points per referee. You can create a personalized link to allow you to refer someone to any Southwest credit card.
  • Sometimes Chase will offer a lower offer via the referral page.
  • Referring a friend to Southwest credit cards in December will result in a December statement being closed. This referral will be posted to your account in January, and it will count towards your companion pass earnings for the next year. This is a great way for you to increase your earnings.

Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal

  • Click through the links to earn points for shopping online at a variety of sites
  • You may be eligible for up to 3500 bonus points if you spend certain amounts. However, these bonus points will not count towards Companion Pass. Only the base points earned from portal purchases. These bonus points do not count towards your companion pass.

Book Hotels through Southwest Hotels

  • Earn points for every dollar spent on Southwesthotels.com. You can also earn bonus points up to 10,000 per night
  • Booking.com partners with Southwest to offer the best rates and guarantee the lowest prices

Rapid Rewards Dining Program

  • Earn points by signing up for a credit card or debit card and dining at participating restaurants.
  • Technically, only the base points earned towards the companion pass count. However, in practice bonus promotions appear to count.

Southwest Airlines: Earn points and cashback

  • You can earn 2x-4x points depending on the card you have for Southwest flights. This is in addition to the points you get on your actual flight.

You can earn bonus points through Southwest partners (base point only, no bonus points).

  • Book hotel stays through Rocket miles to earn up to 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points per night
  • Book car rentals through Southwest Partner Site to Earn Points
  • For all current offers, visit the Southwest website

Chase offers Quarterly Bonus Points

  • Chase targets cardholders every quarter for bonus spend opportunities. Sometimes, it's as easy as earning 5x on every purchase. You could spend $1,000 to earn 3000 points.

What points do you need to earn a Companion Pass but not these points?

Not All Rapid Reward points earned will be counted towards the 125,000 companion pass requirements. These are the points that technically DO NOT count:

  • Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts, such as the Chase Sapphire and Ink products
  • Convert points from loyalty programs for hotel and car bookings
  • Points purchased
  • You can earn points from e-Rewards, Valued Opinions and Diners Club.
  • Tier bonus points
  • Flight bonus points
  • Partner bonus points (except for Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase)

Some people have found that the Companion Pass does not count for partner bonus points. Your results could be different.

Full Terms - Check it out

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #5 - How to finish your minimum spend when you have low monthly costs

You don't have to spend more to get these points or miles, but you can leverage your daily spending to maximize your credit card spending. Our monthly expenses are approximately $1,000 per month, so we need to find other ways to reduce our spending. Bonuses that require more spending (e.g., $10,000+) can be accessed quickly.

Transfer all of your spending to the new card. Use Google Pay to setup both you and your card to use in stores that accept contactless payments.

Purchase store gift cards. This is not something you can do continuously, but it might be worth it if you have a few hundred dollars less to spend. Sometimes I buy Costco gift cards up to $1,000, knowing that I will eventually use them. This works only if you have enough cash to pre-pay your largest expenses.

Purchase Visa gift cards at your local grocery store or Staples when they have a promo. Otherwise, the activation fees may not be worth it. These gift cards are then registered online with a PIN number and I use them to pay bills I cannot pay with a debit or credit card like my medical insurance. Many online processors consider them debit cards -- always start with a lower amount!

You can pay your car or home insurance. Or, you can sign up for a new card when you receive an insurance bill. Some companies even permit you to prepay.

Pay your property tax. The amount varies depending on where you live. Although I pay a small fee in our county to do this, it is often worth it if I am working towards a bonus card.

Get micro loans through Kiva. It's easy to repay and you will do well!

You can save your charitable giving by using your credit cards to donate.

Plastiq can be used to pay bills for which credit is not accepted. There is a fee, but sometimes it is worth it. For example, if we pay $50 and get $700 in travel, then there is no fee. You can't use the Southwest cards if you need to pay your mortgage.

Open new bank accounts and fund them with a credit card. The Doctor of Credit offers great advice. I was able fund $4900 using a Chase credit card. It was coded as a "Financial Purchase", and I was awarded points. The account will remain open for 30 days, then I will close it.

Prepay monthly costs such as Netflix, gym memberships, tuition.

Make a down payment for a car. We were allowed to pay $2500 down on a credit card when we bought a vehicle. Variable depending on dealer.

Get Amazon gift cards for your Amazon account

Allow a friend or family member to be an authorized user, and they will reimburse you for your purchases.

Pay the bill via Venmo, or another electronic cash app.

Request reimbursement for business expenses. Discuss this with your company.

Rent payment with services like RadPad and Place. This is usually around a three percent fee.

You will need to pay your federal income tax or state income taxes.

Tuition payment.

How do I know if I have earned the Companion Pass.

Logging into your Southwest Account allows you to see your progress directly on the dashboard.

Southwest will send you an email congratulating your Companion Pass achievement.

Designing your Companion

Southwest will send you an email inviting you to choose your companion. You will be asked to choose a person when you log in to your account.

You have the option to change your companion up to three times per calendar year. After the third change, however, your companion will remain with that person.

You will receive a card with the words "Companion Pass" and your companion's name in the mail after you have designated your companion. This card was always kept in a drawer, and we never saw it again. It has never been used.

Southwest Companion Pass: How to Book

You can add your companion to a flight you have already booked. If you prefer, you can do it over the phone. It can also be done online. Log in to your account and locate your booking. The link to "Add Companion to Your Reservation" should appear. It is similar to booking regular tickets.

Always book your flight first and add your companion later. Rapid Rewards points can be used to book multiple tickets. If you have a family of four and you have one companion pass, you may book three tickets from the same Rapid Rewards account. The companion can then be added to your Rapid Rewards account. Your companion and you will both have separate reservation numbers, so this is an additional step at check-in. You will need separate check-in.

We love the fact that Southwest does not charge any change fees. They will simply deposit your miles into your account if you cancel less than 10 minutes before your flight departs.

Sometimes we need to add a companion to our reservations. International itineraries can sometimes require you to call in to add a companion. International flights will incur additional taxes. We may need to call in to add a second companion to our reservation because there are two companion passes. If we wish to make a change to a reservation but have already added our companion, we will need to call the customer service line. Southwest customer service is friendly and helpful so don't hesitate to call!

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