One of the best travel hacking tools available is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. This pass allows you to bring one companion with you on your Southwest Airlines flight for free! Well, almost free. You just have to pay taxes, which are usually $5.60 for one-way domestic flights. This pass works if you pay cash prices for flights and if you use points. It’s really a great way to reduce the cost of family travel!
To earn a Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 135,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points in a calendar year. That sounds like a lot, but you can do it by signing up for a personal credit card and a business credit card!
And, now is the best time to do it. Why? Your companion pass is good for the year in which you earn it plus the following year. So, if you earn bonus points from a personal credit card in January 2024 and from a Southwest business credit card shortly after, you can have a Southwest companion pass for almost 2 years! And, if you own the card at the beginning of the calendar year (2024), you get 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points, which means you only need 125,000 more points for your pass
Plus, all 3 Southwest credit cards from Chase currently have elevated welcome bonuses of 75,000 points! Offers end 12/11/23.
See this post for all the nitty gritty details on the Southwest Companion Pass.
Southwest Airlines Personal Credit Card Offers
All three of the Chase Southwest personal cards have elevated bonuses of 75,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months. These cards are part of our affiliate network, and we do receive a small commission if you apply through our links.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus card ($69 annual fee)
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier card ($99 annual fee)
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority card ($149 annual fee)
For most people, I recommend the Plus card, since it has the lowest annual fee and still includes 2 EarlyBird check-ins each year. But, if you fly Southwest frequently, you may enjoy the increased benefits from the Premier and Priority cards.
You can only have one personal Southwest card at a time. You likely won’t be approved for a new Chase card if you’ve opened 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months. See this post for more information.
The Timing is Critical
To get the maximum value, you really need to pay attention to your spending for these card welcome bonuses. You need your big 75k bonus to hit in January 2024 so that you can earn another 50k in the same calendar year to earn the companion pass. Don’t complete your $3000 of spending too quickly. Make sure you save a bit of spending for early January.
My Experience with Southwest Companion Pass
My husband and I have both earned a Southwest Companion Pass twice in the past. When our kids were younger, we took frequent trips around the U.S. With two kids flying free, we saved a lot of points and cash! We benefitted from our passes on trips to Florida, California, Colorado, New York and Mexico!
Southwest continue to expand its destinations. Now, you can fly Southwest to Hawaii and many destinations in the Caribbean and Central America. Check out the routes here. Plus, Southwest is a great airline to fly positioning flights to get you to a hub where you can use miles on another airline for a major international destination.
You can get a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass easily by applying for two new credit cards–one personal card and one small business card. Don’t think you qualify for a business card? Maybe you do (see this post). Earning the necessary points in early 2024 will give you that pass for almost two full years!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.