Ultimate Guide to the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

 

Southwest’s Companion Pass is one of the best benefits in the travel industry. If you have a Companion Pass, a companion can fly with you for almost free and for an unlimited amount of times during that period! All you have to do is pay the taxes on the ticket, which are $5.60 each way for flight within the United States. Even if you use points for your ticket, your companion still travels for only the amount of the taxes. 


Earning the Companion Pass

To earn the Companion Pass you need to either earn 110,000 points in a calendar year or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year. You earn a companion pass for the remainder of the current year and the following year (e.g., if you earn it in January you get 23 months of use. If you earn in December, you only get 13 months of use). Therefore, you should target earning 110,000 points early in the year. The easiest way to do this is to open up a Southwest personal and business card between December and February with a bonus of at least 50,000 points. You need to be very careful to not hit the minimum spend requirement until the new year or you risk losing an entire year of the pass!

Companion Pass With One Card- The current sign-up bonus for the current Southwest credit cards is 30,000 points plus a Companion Pass for the rest of 2019. You can find the information on the cards below. If you qualify for a business card, you are better off getting the business card plus a Southwest personal card with a 50,000+ point bonus, since you would (1) get more points and (2) get the Companion Pass for an additional year. 

Southwest will display a Companion Pass tracker on your main account screen. (As you can see, I am very far away from the earning the Companion Pass by just flying Southwest. I am well above 5/24, so I am unable to take advantage of the easy way to get the Companion Pass)

Points that Count Towards Pass

Points that Don’t Count Towards Pass

  • Points purchased or gifted
  • Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Points transferred from other loyalty programs.

Companion Pass Rules

You can only change your companion 3 times per calendar year. You select your first companion online, but subsequent changes need to be done over the phone by calling 1-800-435-9792.

You are allowed to add a companion to an existing reservation. As long as you are flying and the flight is not sold out, your companion can fly with you. After booking your flight, visit the My Trips section of your account, then find your upcoming flight, and click “Add Companion.” You will then need to pay the taxes associated with the ticket ($5.60 one-way for domestic travel and for international travel $20-60).

If you buy a Business Select ticket or have A-List, your companion will not receive the same privileges such as priority boarding. 


Credit Cards

Please read our Chase Rules. Chase will limit you to one personal Southwest card (Priority, Premier, or Plus) and no longer allows you to apply for two personal cards on the same day. Therefore, the only way to get the Companion Pass via credit cards is to open one personal card and one business card. You should space out your applications by about 30 days. 

Southwest Plus

Application Link 

  • Current Bonus: 30,000 points plus the Companion Pass until the end of 2019. This deal is better than the recommended 60,000 points bonus if you don’t qualify for a business credit card, which combined with a personal card in the same year, would be enough for a Companion Pass for the rest of this year plus the following year.
  • Target Bonus: 60,000 points.
  • Subject to the 5/24 rule

Annual Fee: $69

Earning Rapid Rewards Points

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Southwest Plus Benefits

  • 3,000 bonus points every cardmember anniversary
  • 120-day purchase protection
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement.


Southwest Premier

Personal Application Link 

  • Current Bonus: 30,000 points plus the Companion Pass until the end of 2019. This deal is better than the recommended 60,000 points bonus if you don’t qualify for a business credit card, which combined with a personal card in the same year, would be enough for a Companion Pass for the rest of this year plus the following year.
  • Target Bonus: 60,000 points, which you can still get without the Companion Pass with this link.
  • Subject to the 5/24 rule

Business Application Link

  • Current Bonus: 60,000 points
  • Target Bonus: 60,000 points
  • Subject to the 5/24 rule.

Annual Fee: $99

Earning Rapid Rewards Points

  • 2 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines
  • 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Premier Card Benefits

  • 6,000 bonus points every cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 120-day purchase protection
  • Baggage day insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement


Southwest Priority

Application Link

  • Current Bonus: 30,000 points plus the Companion Pass until the end of 2019. This deal is better than the recommended 60,000 points bonus if you don’t qualify for a business credit card, which combined with a personal card in the same year, would be enough for a Companion Pass for the rest of this year plus the following year.
  • Target Bonus: 60,000 points.
  • Subject to the 5/24 rule

Annual Fee: $149

Earning: 2x on Southwest, Hotels, and Car Rentals; 1x everywhere else. 

Benefits: 7,500 point anniversary bonus (worth about $115-120), $75 annual travel credit on Southwest, four upgraded boardings (A1-A15), 20% back on in-flight purchases on Southwest, no foreign transaction fees, and you earn 1,500 tier qualifying points (elite status) for every $10,000 you spend up $100,000.