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It's that time of year when the Southwest Companion Pass is front & center in rewards travel press. One of the best perks in the points & miles world, when you earn a companion pass, you and a travel buddy can fly two for the price of one on any Southwest flight paying cash or points.
And, even better, if you get the companion pass early in the new year, you can use it for the rest of that year, plus the entire next year. Giving you 2-for-1 flights for the better part of two years!
Acquiring and meeting the minimum spend requirements on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, just two cards, will earn enough points to land the coveted companion pass.
The Fastest Way to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019/20
There's good news for anyone wanting to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019/20. Acquiring just one personal card and one business co-brand credit card, and meeting the minimum spend will get you the Southwest Companion Pass for the better part of two years!
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will be valid through 12/31/19. (Read our in-depth review)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will be valid through 12/31/19.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Offer ends 2/11/19. Companion Pass is promotional and will be valid through 12/31/19. (Read our in-depth review)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
And, just in case you’re unsure the signup bonuses are a valid path to the companion pass, the T&C’s have it in black and white:
“Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners.”
A couple of caveats to keep in mind when pursuing this path to the Companion Pass. First up, all the points need to post in 2019 in order to qualify, so you can't complete the minimum spend on the cards before the end of the year. And second, you can no longer get two personal Southwest cards, so this will only work if you apply for one of the personal cards and the business card.
“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.”
What this means is signing up for any combination of personal and business Southwest credit cards, and meeting the minimum spend will automatically earn you one of the most coveted perks in rewards travel.
As the three personal cards have tiered minimum spend requirements, the most efficient way of reaching the Companion Pass is to finish the minimum spend on the Southwest Premier Business Card first, which will net you 63,000 points. Then complete the first tier on the personal card which will net you 41,000 points, meaning you need to spend just $6,000 on the card or rustle up 6,000 points from another qualifying activity to reach the Companion Pass.
So if you can only get one personal Southwest card, which offers the best value? The Southwest Priority Card comes out on top when you weigh up the value provided by each card. Feature benefits include:
- A $75 annual Southwest travel credit
- 7,500-anniversary points each year
- Four upgraded boardings per year
- 20% back on in-flight purchases
Don't think you qualify for a business card to make this strategy work? You may be surprised at how accessible small business credit cards are. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a Federal EIN or Tax ID, you don't even need to have a storefront! See attached post for details.
Are the Southwest Cards Subject to the 5/24 Rule?
Yes, in addition to the application rules mentioned above, the Southwest Plus Card, the Southwest Premier Card, the Southwest Priority Card, and Southwest Premier Business Card all fall under Chase’s requirements for new credit card applications (Get up to date with the 5/24 rule). You will not be approved for new credit card applications with Chase if you have added 5 or more new credit cards to your credit report within the last 24 months.
While this can feel restrictive for frequent flyers that like to accumulate points and miles across multiple programs, for the majority of travelers who focus on just one or two rewards programs, it doesn’t present a major inconvenience.
An excellent strategy to employ if you plan on accumulating more than 5 cards over the next 24 months? Focus on acquiring Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card before extending your search out to other credit card providers.
Why Choose the Southwest Cards over More Flexible Points Earning Cards?
Why would you get the two Southwest cards instead of a card that earns flexible rewards points such as Ultimate Rewards (which transfer to Rapid Rewards at 1:1)?
Cards like the Sapphire Preferred are arguably better travel rewards cards for travelers that fly a variety of airlines. But as a means of attaining the Southwest Companion Pass, the Southwest cards win hands down. Ultimate Rewards points do transfer to Rapid Rewards at 1:1, however, they don’t count towards a companion pass under Southwest’s transfer policy.
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most valuable perks in rewards travel.
If you’ve been looking for a method of attaining a companion pass, and you qualify for these cards, now is a fantastic time to pull the trigger.
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