If you are interested in the Southwest companion pass for 2019 and 2020 don’t wait too long to apply for 1 or 2 Southwest credit cards (which is the easiest way to earn most of the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass).
How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019 and 2020
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass allows your companion to fly almost free anytime you fly – either on a paid or award booking. The Companion Pass is basically a buy one get one free deal but even better because your companion can fly free with you even if you use points to book your ticket. Both the member and the companion must be booked on the same flights and dates. Southwest Companion Pass travel has no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is valid the remainder of the calendar year it is earned and for the entire calendar year immediately following. This means if you earn the Companion Pass in 2019 it will be valid for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020.
The member is limited to one companion at any time but may change his/her designated companion up to three (3) times each calendar year that the member maintains Companion Pass status. The full terms of the Southwest Companion Pass can be found in the terms and conditions on southwest.com.
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 110,000 Qualifying Points in one calendar year.
Earning the Sign Up Bonus on 2 Southwest Credit Cards in the Same Calendar Year
Even if you don’t fly Southwest very much you can easily earn most of the 110,000 points needed for a companion pass by earning a sign up bonus for 2 Southwest credit cards in the same calendar year. You don’t need to use your 110,000 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.
One strategy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass quickly is to earn a sign up bonus on both one of the business versions of the Southwest cards and one of the personal versions in the same calendar year. Chase used to allow people to hold more than one version of the personal cards at the same time, however, now you have to apply for 1 personal and 1 business version.
Earning the sign up bonus in the same year for 2 Southwest credit cards will earn you most or all of the points needed to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. All 3 versions of the personal Southwest card offer a sign up bonus- the bonus changes but ranges between 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 points (usually after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months). Right now all 3 of the personal versions are only offering 40,000 bonus points.
The business versions of Southwest credit card are currently offering historically high sign up bonuses: 60,000 for the Premier and 80,000 bonus points for the Performance card.
You can earn all the of 110,000 points needed to earn a companion pass just by signing up for both a business and personal Southwest credit card. I recommend applying for the Performance business version first since it is offering a 80,000 sign up bonus and then applying for one of the personal versions. Please note that you will likely not be approved for a Southwest credit card if you fall into the Chase 5/24 rule.
Earning the Remaining Companion Pass Qualifying Points
If you cannot be approved for both a personal and business Southwest credit cards, there are several ways to earn the remaining Companion Pass Qualifying Points you need in 2019 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, transferred points transferred between members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass qualifying points.”
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest does not count toward the Southwest Companion Pass.
An easy way to earn the remaining points is to pay your rent or mortgage with Plastiq (our referral link).
If you are thinking of applying for Southwest credit cards to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019 and 2020, don’t wait any longer. If you apply for a business and personal Southwest credit card right now and earn your companion pass in 2019 and have a few months in 2019 and all of 2020 to use it. However, if you are not for a rush to earn the companion pass it might be worth it to wait till early 2020 so that you can get 2 years worth of the companion pass (2020 and 2021).