|

Southwest Companion Pass FAQ

Disclaimer: Fancy Travel Hacker is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as Milevalue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

WHAT IS SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS?

It is essentially, a 2 for 1 on Southwest flights. Buy one, get one…
Once you earn the Southwest Companion pass, you will designate a “companion”.
That companion can fly with you for the cost of taxes ($5.60 each way for domestic flights). 
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve paid for your ticket with points or cash, you’ll still be able to add your companion to your flight, for taxes only (as long as there’s even 1 seat available on the plane, doesn’t matter the cost/category).

HOW CAN I EARN THE SW COMPANION PASS?

  • Fly 100 qualifying one way Southwest flights
  • Earn 135,000 tier qualifying Southwest points within one single year {This is the “easy” way}

HOW IS EARNING 135K POINTS IN ONE YEAR EASY?

By using the 2 card sign up bonus strategy to get 135K points from the sign up bonuses from just two cards…

  • option 1: Sign up for 1 Southwest personal credit card + 1 Southwest Business credit card
  • option 2: Sign up for TWO Southwest business credit cards

How to earn Southwest Companion Pass for nearly TWO years

  • Sign up for your 1st card in mid/late October
  • Sign up for your second card in late November/early December
  • BUT you don’t meet minimum spend for either card until after January 1, 2024

You want the sign up bonuses for BOTH cards to hit after January 1, 2024. These 2 combined sign up bonuses get you the 135K points, earned in ONE calendar year, needed for Southwest Companion Pass.

Personal Southwest Cards:
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – I prefer this one with the lowest fee, 2 early bird check ins
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Nearly the same as the lower fee one, but no foreign transaction fees
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – This is for you if you prefer the upgraded boarding. I personally don’t. I like the early bird check ins, because I pay for one early bird and my companion gets the benefits too.

Business Southwest Cards:
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card – Comes with TSA/Global Entry credit & inflight wifi credits. I get the TSA credits from other cards I hold, so I’d still go with the cheaper business card.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Very basic. Best if you just want the points.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

You absolutely, positively, 100% MUST EARN THE 135K POINTS IN ONE CALENDAR YEAR.
Earning 85K in 2023 and then another 50K in 2024 will not work… this is NOT cumulative over the years.
One calendar year: January 1 – December 31.

HOW CAN I GET NEARLY 2 YEARS OF THE COMPANION PASS?

Ideally, you’ll start this process in Mid/Late October 2023. The idea behind this is… If you earn ALL 135K points in January 2024…. you’ll have the Companion Pass for the rest of 2024 & ALL of 2025. Which is essentially 2 years of BOGO Southwest flights!

If you are going the personal card/business card route… sign up for ONE of those cards in Mid/Late October and the OTHER card in November/December. One is a personal card and one is a business card, so you don’t “need” to space them out 90 days between each other.

If you are going the 2 business card route, I’d try to space the applications 60 days.

CAN I HAVE 2 PERSONAL CARDS? 2 BUSINESS CARDS?

PERSONAL CARD RULES: You can only hold ONE Southwest personal card at a time.

If you do already have a Southwest personal credit card… Chase allows you to get a new sign up bonus on the Southwest cards every 24 months. Therefore, if it’s been more than 24 months since you earned your last sign up bonus on a Southwest personal card, you can cancel your current personal Southwest card and reapply for a new one 2 weeks later. You won’t be approved for a new Southwest personal card IF you already have a Southwest personal card open.

BUSINESS CARD RULES: You may hold EACH of the Southwest business credit cards at the same time, but you can’t hold two of the same one.

Chase allows you to get a new sign up bonus on the Southwest cards every 24 months. Therefore, if it’s been more than 24 months since you earned your last sign up bonus on a Southwest business card, you can cancel your current Southwest business card and reapply for the same one 2 weeks later.

I AM 4/24… WHICH CARD DO I GET FIRST?

If you are 4/24, you MUST get the business card first. That will NOT take a spot on your 5/24. Therefore, you’ll still be able to be under 5/24 when applying for your personal Southwest card.


(What is 5/24? If you have opened 5 or more personal credit cards (from ANY issuer) in the last 24 months, Chase will almost certainly not approve you for another personal or business card.)

CAN MY PARTNER/SPOUSE AND I BOTH EARN IT?

Yes! Absolutely!

CAN I CHANGE MY “COMPANION” WHO FLIES FREE WITH ME?

Yes! Once you get the Companion Pass, you’ll designate your initial companion. But you can change your companion up to THREE times a year. You’ll just call Southwest to request the change. One really important thing though… any flights you have booked for your current companion will be canceled when you add the new companion.

WHAT IF I’M REALLY CLOSE TO 135K POINTS THIS YEAR, SHOULD I GOT FOR IT THIS YEAR?

If you are really close to accumulating 135K this year… I would go for it to have the pass the remainder of this year and all of 2024. BUT if possible, I’d try to earn those points by using the Southwest shopping portal and by maximizing spend on your current card.

DO I GET TO KEEP THE 135K SOUTHWEST POINTS IT TAKES TO EARN THE PASS?

YES!! Absolutely! The Companion Pass is a reward to reaching that milestone. The points you’ve earned to get there are yours!

HOW DO PEOPLE GET THIS YEAR AFTER YEAR?

2024 will be my 7th year holding the Companion Pass. It has saved us MANY THOUSANDS of dollars. So I always leave space in my 5/24 to get Southwest credit cards. Because I have to wait 24 months from getting my last bonus, I won’t get the pass until mid spring.
I usually earn the Companion Pass by getting 1 personal card & 1 business card.
I will keep each card about 18 months. I will then call and cancel them a couple months apart. That way the cards are canceled way before I hit the 24 month mark of being able to apply for them again.

A lot of people ask me about closing/reopening cards…Southwest are the only cards I do this consistently with.

I FEEL STRESSED HAVING TO EARN IT AT THE END OF THE YEAR WHEN I’M ALREADY BUSY!

If your 1st flight of 2024 isn’t until March or April, you really DO NOT need to rush this process! This October/November/December timing laid out is really for people who want the pass as early as possible in 2024. We personally don’t usually fly until mid March. So sprinting to get the card in January is not necessary for us.

WHY DO YOU KEEP HARPING ON EARNING ALL 135K IN CALENDAR YEAR?

THIS is where people will mess up. This is where tears will be shed.
ALL 135K points MUST be earned in ONE calendar year (January 1 – December 31).
It is SO easy to mess this up. Especially with the personal card requiring a super low minimum spend.

**If I were getting a Southwest personal card in 2023, I wouldn’t put more than $500 spend on it – MAX! I’ve heard horror stories of a store accidentally double charging someone – but once Southwest registered $1K spend hit… they can say you’ve hit the minimum for the bonus and award it to you early than you wanted it. And there won’t be anything you can do about it.

CAN I USE SOME OF THE POINTS WHILE TRYING TO GET TO 135K OR DO THEY ALL NEED TO BE IN MY ACCOUNT AT ONCE?

You are free to use them as you earn them. Southwest will keep a tally for the year for you. To see your points tally for the year, login to your Southwest account, click “view account”, then you’ll see a graphic that shows of where you stand in earning the companion pass. It will show the exact number of points earned for this calendar year.

HOW ARE POINTS COMBINED FROM THE SIGN UP BONUS I EARN ON MY PERSONAL CARD AND MY BUSINESS CARD?

You will have ONE Southwest Rapid Rewards account (this is your Southwest frequent flyer account). ALL points earned go into this ONE bucket. So whether you earn on card A or card B, whether you earn from spend or from a shopping portal… it all goes into your ONE Southwest Rapid Rewards account.

**Once you earn the Southwest Companion Pass once, it’s really easy to understand and earn gagain and again. But the 1st time you do it can be confusing. If you have ANY questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Quick Cards Link:
THIS LINK will take you to all 3 options of the personal Southwest card and both options for the business card.
Chase does a great job of showing the cards features side by side, so I find this link super helpful to compare.

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply