A complete guide to earning the Southwest companion pass for 2023 and 2024.
How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass
To earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass you must either: fly 100 qualifying one-way flights OR earn 135,000 Qualifying Points in one calendar year.
How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass With Credit Cards
Even if you don’t fly Southwest very much, you can easily earn most of the 135,000 points needed for a companion pass by earning a sign up bonus for 1 or 2 Southwest credit cards in 2023. You don’t need to use your 135,000 points for the companion pass so those points are available to you to book free award flights.
The sign up bonus for Southwest credit cards counts towards the points needed to earn Companion Pass status.
There are 5 versions of the Southwest credit card – 3 personal versions and 2 business versions.
For a limited time, all 3 versions of the personal Southwest credit card (our referral link) are offering a sign up bonus of 50,000 bonus points. You can earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening.
(If you have a business, you can also apply and earn a signup bonus on one of the business versions).
Earning the Remaining Companion Pass Qualifying Points
Other than credit cards, there are several ways to earn the remaining Companion Pass Qualifying Points needed including the following:
• Flying on Southwest revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines
• Spending more money on your Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards
• Base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. This includes online shopping.
The following DO NOT COUNT for the companion pass according to Southwest:
“Purchased points; points transferred between Members; points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, e-Rewards®, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club®; points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment; tier bonus points; flight bonus points; and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase).”
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest does not count toward the Southwest Companion Pass.
Best Time to Apply for Southwest Companion Pass
Unless you want to use the companion pass in 2023, the best option to maximize how long you have the companion pass for is to wait to apply late 2023/early 2024 (and complete your credit card spending in 2024) to earn the companion pass for most of 2024 and all of 2025.
You need to make sure not to complete the minimum spending requirements until early 2024. If you accidentally spend too much in 2023, you will earn the bonus in 2023 which you do not want. You want to earn sign up bonuses in early 2024 so that you can earn the companion pass in 2024.
If you time it right and earn the companion pass in January 2024, you can get the companion pass for almost two (2) full years.
If you need to use the companion pass in 2023, apply for a personal Southwest credit card ASAP and you will still have over 1.5 years to use the companion pass.