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If you are interested in the Southwest companion pass for 2020 and 2021 don’t wait too long to apply for 1 or 2 Southwest credit cards (which is the easiest way to earn all or most of the 125,000 Rapid Rewards points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass).

How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2020 and 2021

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.

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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 2020 it will be valid for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021.

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 125,000 Qualifying Points in one calendar year.

how to earn southwest airlines sw companion pass

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 125,000 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 125,000 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 all of the points needed to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. All 3 versions of the personal Southwest credit card are currently offering a historically high sign up bonus of 75,000 bonus points.

You can earn all the of 125,000 points needed to earn a companion pass just by signing up for both a business and personal Southwest credit card.  Please note that you will likely not be approved for a Southwest credit card if you fall into the Chase 5/24 rule.

Below is a summary of the Southwest credit cards:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn 2 Points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases made directly with the airline; earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotels and car rental partner purchases; earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 3,000 Anniversary points after your cardmember anniversary
  • $69 Annual Fee
  • Earn a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points (earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, earn an additional 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest Airlines® purchases; Earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other purchases
  • 6,000 points every year on cardmember anniversary
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-List status
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 Annual Fee
  • Earn a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points (earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, earn an additional 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn 2 Points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases made directly with the airline; earn 2 points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotels and car rental partner purchases; earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 7,500 Anniversary points after your cardmember anniversary
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 20% back on all inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points towards A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent, up to $100,000
  • $149 Annual Fee
  • Earn a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points (earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, earn an additional 35,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening)

Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • Earn 2x Points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases and purchases made with Rapid Rewards® hotels and car rental partners; earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 6,000 Anniversary points after your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points towards A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent, up to $100,000
  • $99 Annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

  • Earn 3X Points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases and purchases made with Rapid Rewards® hotels and car rental partners; earn 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising; earn 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, and phone services; earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 9,000 Anniversary points after your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points towards A-List and A-List Preferred status for every $10,000 spent up to $100,000
  • $199 Annual fee
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee credit
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Earn 70,000 points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

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 2020 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.

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 2020 and 2021, don’t wait any longer.  If you apply for a business and personal Southwest credit card right now and earn your companion pass early in 2020 you will have almost 2 full years to use the companion pass.

The Travel Sisters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Travel Sisters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
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