I’m received my Southwest Companion Pass. I couldn’t be more excited to travel with my significant other around North America (yes, it can be used for international travel) and take some awesome photos. I have so many cities on my list that I don’t really know where to start. Anyways, I thought there were limited primers on the Southwest Companion Pass. Few people actually know what the Companion Pass is and how it can benefit them, so here is the ultimate guide to the Southwest Companion pass.
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you”
Tricks to Earning the Southwest Companion Pass
I love Southwest. Flying with them always seems to be an enjoyable experience. I tried to earn the Southwest Companion pass as quickly and effectively as possible. Guess what? I earned it! I can’t wait to travel around the U.S. and internationally with wife.
I want to pass along the knowledge that I gained from the process to help you earn a Southwest Companion Pass as well! There are several ways to travel hack without a credit card too if you don’t feel like the Southwest Companion Pass is right for you.
The Companion Pass is a great option for anyone. There’s people that use Southwest to fly to Disney or you can use it to go to the islands of the Caribbean.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the companion pass with Southwest. If you have any additional question, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.
Section One: Ways to Earn Companion Pass Points
There are a few ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass without having to spend a ridiculous amount of money. Here are a few Southwest Companion Pass tricks to help you (and a companion) start traveling around North America for nearly free.
1) What is the Southwest Companion Pass? How are the steps for me to take to earn a Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass provides users with a lucrative buy one, get one on all airline ticket purchases for the year you earn the pass AND the following calendar year.
This pass can be used on purchased tickets and award seats (virtually doubling your airline miles). You can only select 1 companion, but you can change that person 3 times a calendar year!
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is so lucrative of a bonus that you and a friend / significant other / son / grandma / etc. can travel to anywhere for a measly $11.20 per person (round-trip)! These are the 9/11 fees that you are required to pay for security purposes.
First, read this entire post before proceeding. Then, do the following to earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass:
- Apply for the Chase Southwest Premier credit card… Make sure the offer is for 50,000 bonus miles! I’ll get to that in a second.
- Apply for the Chase Southwest Plus credit card… Again, make sure the offer is for 50,000 bonus miles or more!
- Wait until you are approved and fully confirmed. Make sure the cards show up in your new Chase account!
- Hit your minimum spend requirement. These can vary but they are currently $2,000 in first three months for each Chase Southwest credit card.
- Spend an additional $6,000 on the credit cards OR accumulate an additional 6,000 miles from traveling with Southwest. It is pretty easy to spend an additional $6,000 if you manufacture spending through funding bank accounts with credit cards.
- You must accrue all 110,000 Southwest miles in a single calendar. Please remember your credit card bonus will post following the closing of your statement in which you hit the minimum spend.
2) How to get a Southwest Companion Pass?
You have to earn 110,000 miles in a calendar year. From there, you will have the CP from the year you earned it and the entire following calendar year.
3) What can I do to earn 110,000 miles with Southwest to earn the Companion Pass?
You can earn miles by flying Southwest a lot. Like 110,000 miles in a single calendar year. Or, you can take the fast route (~1 month) by utilizing credit card bonuses & points.
Chase offers three Southwest credit cards: the Premier, the Plus, and the Premier Business. Each card will offer 50,000 miles as bonus points at various times throughout the year.
At some points in the year, the bonus offering will be 60,000 miles. If you see the bonus at this amount and do not have the Southwest Companion Pass, then jump all over it!
As long as all 110,000 points post to your Southwest account within a calendar year, you will earn the Southwest Companion Pass for that year and the following year. Points usually post after your Chase statement date, know that date, it is incredibly important.
4) How do people typically get the Southwest Companion Pass?
The most common way to get the pass is to apply for the Chase Premier and the Chase Plus Southwest cards at the same time.
Both cards fall under the Chase 5/24 rule, explained here, so if you have the necessary space you can apply for both cards at once! Remember, Chase allows two applications per day, so do not get any other Chase credit card before going for the Southwest Companion Pass.
5) Why the rush? Why can’t I just try to fly a lot with Southwest to earn the Companion Pass?
This is a year long thing and has been around for quite some time. However, the earlier you get the Companion Pass in a calendar the longer you have it!
That is why I timed mine out to receive in it late January / early February of this year. I will have it for nearly the whole year this year and the full following year.
6) I earned 59,000 Southwest miles last year… so if I apply for the Plus card now will I get the pass?
No, you need to earn 110,000 points in a calendar year from either traveling with Southwest and earning Rapid Rewards points the hard way or applying for the Chase Southwest credit cards.
You have to earn the bonus points in the same year to earn the Southwest buddy pass.
7) What’s the safest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Ideally, you’d want to wait until December to apply for the cards of your choice. However, you don’t know what bonus offers will be available at that time.
If you have some runway in the year go for it early. I suggest not applying for it if it is mid-year (June/July) and wait until fourth quarter to apply for the Southwest credit cards.
It’s anyone’s guess when bonus points will get reduced or won’t be offered. You wouldn’t want to have to spend significant sums shopping or at a restaurant to earn all your points in a given year.
8) What type of points count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass?
There are a few categories of Southwest Companion Pass qualifying points, so if you want to earn the Companion Pass you need to carefully distinguish between the points.
Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points that do count:
- Credit card bonuses
- Credit card spending
- Points from flying
- Points from rental cars
Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points that do not count:
- Points purchased
- Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Points transferred from hotel programs to your Rapid Rewards account
- Points transferred from another person
9) Can I use the Southwest Companion Pass for International Flights?
Absolutely! You can use the Southwest Companion Pass for any Southwest flight. You just have to pay the 9/11 security fee and other taxes that I mentioned above. Call it your international buddy pass if you’d like. You essentially have a free Southwest ticket to travel anywhere you’d like.
10) Will I lose my ~110,000 of bonus points when I earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
No, you get to keep your Southwest points and use them for travel!
11) Do I need to have 110,000 points in my account to earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
No, you just need to EARN 110,000 points in a calendar year. If you earn 50,000 then spend them, earn 50k and spend those and then earn 10k more – you’ll still get your Southwest Companion Pass.
However, you will have less miles to work from for additional free travel with your companion. Remember, you can always pay cash for your flight with your Southwest Companion Pass as well if you think it is cheap enough.
12) Do I have to choose a companion upfront for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You have to choose a companion upfront in your Rapid Rewards account. Only that person can fly with you using your Southwest Companion Pass. If you cancel your flight (Southwest offers cancellation), your companion’s flight is automatically cancelled as well.
Remember, you are able to change your companion three times a year by calling in to Southwest.
Section Two: How to Book a Flight with Companion Pass on Southwest
13) How do I use the Southwest Companion Pass after I have earned it?
You just book any flight you want to go on, points or cash. When you look at your reservation online, you’ll see an area to “Add Companion”. Click that (see below), follow instructions.
Once you click add companion, you should just have to input their details including name, address.
Then, you are good to go with your Companion Pass! It’s such an easy way to save money for travel.
14) I earned my Southwest Companion Pass in the mail, do I need it?
Nope. It has not use. Give it to your companion to make them feel special 🙂
Section Three: Housekeeping Considerations for the Southwest Companion Pass Rules and Regulations
15) I wasn’t approved for the Southwest credit cards. Should I call the reconsideration line? What should I say?
The same thing you would tell any bank that you apply for two cards and one is denied. In this situation, I would say something like: “I like to keep my expenses separate and it’s tough to do with authorized users with Chase. With both cards, I could keep everything in two accounts under one log in.”
16) Can I transfer Rapid Rewards Points?
No, you cannot transfer Rapid Rewards points. However, if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards point to your Rapid Rewards account.
This is a huge bonus and a great pairing for your Rapid Rewards account points. If you run out while you have the Companion Pass, you can essentially transfer dollar for dollar. Stay tuned on how to transfer points from Chase to Southwest.
Other Tips and Tricks for the Southwest Companion Pass
- You can also apply for the Southwest Business Premier Credit Card if you are getting close on your Chase 5/24 Rule. This won’t show up in your 5/24 count.
- You can use the Southwest Companion Pass on any seat fare. It does not have to be just the “Wanna Get Away” fare.
- There’s no fee to cancel or change your flight. Also, you can change or refund your tickets at any time without a fee.
- You and your companion have to check in separately. These are still coded as separate tickets.
Both the Southwest Plus AND the Southwest Premier credit cards have annual fees of $69 and $99, respectively. These fees are nothing compared to the benefits that you will receive from traveling. Based on our valuations the benefits of the companion pass include:
- 100,000 Rapid Rewards points are equivalent to $1,600 worth of travel (1.6 cent per point valuation)
- You will spend atleast $10,000 so that is an additional 10,000 Rapid Rewards points, which is equivalent to $160 worth of travel (1.6 cent per point valuation).
- Oh, you need to multiply these both by two since you now have a companion. That equates to nearly $3,520 worth of free travel!
How We Received the Southwest Companion Pass
We received the Southwest Companion Pass using the method above, but including our Chase Southwest Business Premier Card and the Chase Southwest Plus Card. I now have over 125,000 Rapid Rewards points. How many reward points for a flight on Southwest? Well, that’s equivalent to ~$1,600 of free travel. I’m eager to use my Companion Pass and I don’t know where I should go or who I should bring!
Do you know how to add points to Southwest Rapid Rewards? It’s never been easier to rack up large amounts of Southwest Rapid Rewards points with our guide above. You too can travel internationally with a buddy anywhere you’d like.
For other cards, like the Chase Freedom, review our other ideas for travel hacking to obtain the maximum amount of points with Ultimate Rewards.
If you need me I will be at the beach. Have you earned the Southwest Companion Pass? Do you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be used with Rapid Rewards?
- List of Chase Card Not Subject to 5/24
- Best Credit Cards to Churn for Travel Hacking
- VAT Reclaim Overview: Ensure You Get All Your Refund Back
If you have any questions or comments on the Southwest Companion Pass, I highly suggest leaving a comment below. Subscribe to our email newsletter for more tips and tricks on travel.
Unfortunately, I’m not American, so I don’t qualify for any of these benefits! It sounds like a great reward, and I do wish I was a citizen to take advantage of it! Will share this with my American friends 🙂
I wish I knew of some international tips! Will keep you posted if I have some 🙂
This looks like an interesting program. I am not American, but my mum is and she uses South West ocassionally. We’ll have a look and see if she qualifies for the pass. I am sure she would make good use of it!
Thanks, yes I’m sure she would! It’s the most rewarding program among US airline in my opinion.
A great guide and one I certainly hope other airlines also follow. Passing this to my American friends so they can use it properly. The fact that they allow international travel and keep the points makes it all worth it.
Yes agreed thanks Raghav!
any tips on how to renew it without opening more credit cards? My hubby and I opened 4 cards total and got the pass last year, it expires at the end of this year so how to get it again for 2019-2010?
Did you open all 4 of the cards under both your names (i.e., 2 each)? If yes, you may be out of luck. Last year Southwest held a promo for California residents so not sure if they throw something similar out there this year.