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I’ve been getting a lot of emails about the Southwest Companion Pass recently and thought it would be worth a post to talk a little about it and walk through some of the pros and cons of the Companion Pass and whether it makes sense to get the Southwest Companion Pass now or in 2019.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
From my original article about What is the Southwest Companion Pass (and how to get it), here are a few basics of what the Southwest Companion Pass is
- You earn the Southwest Companion Pass by earning at least 110,000 miles in one calendar year
- Flying and points on the Southwest credit cards (see below) count
- Points transferred from Chase do not count (nor do points transferred from hotels)
- Here’s a link on how to change your Southwest Companion Pass companion
- And one on how to check your Companion Pass status
- Once you earn it, then your companion flies FREE on any Southwest flight that you fly on, be that booked with cash or with points. You only need to have one seat available for your companion (not just Wanna Get Away fares)
So you can see that, all things being equal, it behooves you to get the Southwest Companion Pass as early in the year as possible, since you get it for the entire calendar year you earn it AND the next one too. So earning the pass in Dec 2018 would get it through the end of 2019, whereas earning the pass in Jan 2019 would get it through the end of 2020 (nearly 2 complete years)!
Another thing to note is that the Companion Pass is most useful for couples with no kids (since it’s essentially a Buy 1 Get 1 Free ticket). I’ve also heard of families of 4 that get TWO companion passes and then mom and dad each choose one of the kids as a companion. For my family of 8, a Buy 7 get 1 Free pass is not nearly as lucrative. And of course, living near an airport with lots of Southwest availability makes the Companion Pass more lucrative
60,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards bonus
The main reason that people are talking about the Southwest Companion Pass is that the Southwest credit cards are at all time high signup bonuses – 60,000 Rapid Rewards points each. Obviously, if you were able to get one business and one personal card (you can’t get multiple personal cards; see below) and meet the spending bonus, 60,000 + 60,000 = 120,000 or more than enough to earn the Southwest Companion Pass
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year. $69 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year; $99 annual fee
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and another 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 within your first year; $99 annual fee
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card ALSO currently has a 60,000 point offer, but its spending requirement is much more straightforward – just spend $3000 in the first 3 months ($99 annual fee).
Getting multiple Southwest cards
Things used to be a bit easier as it was easier (possible?) to get multiple different versions of the Southwest credit cards. Southwest has changed the rules a bit. You can not get a bonus on a Southwest personal card if
- You have the card currently OR
- If you’ve gotten a bonus on any Southwest personal card in the past 24 months
Business cards like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card are not affected by this rule.
So the only way to get 2 cards would be 1 personal and 1 business card.
Is now the time to go for the Southwest Companion Pass?
I know many people are planning something along the lines of:
- Apply for 1 personal and 1 business card
- Satisfy the spending requirements after January 1st but before the January statement closes. You won’t necessarily have to do all $2000 in January – just make sure you don’t go OVER $2000 in November or December
I see 2 possible glitches
- It may be difficult to get approved for both a personal and business Southwest card on the same day or soon after one another. Still, if you get one now you should be able to get the other one in a few months even for 50,000 points and get the 110K you need (assuming no 5/24 problems)
- It’s certainly possible that Southwest changes the rules for the companion pass in 2019. They changed the rules (without notice) in January 2017 (though then they relented a bit)
Are you planning something like the above to get the Southwest Companion Pass in 2019? Thanks in advance if you use the links on our top credit card offers page (I may receive a commission)