The Quickest Way to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass in 2021

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Are you looking for the fastest way to earn a Southwest Companion Pass in 2021?

Chase and Southwest have teamed up to deliver some of the best signup bonuses we've ever seen on the Southwest co-branded credit cards. And right now is the perfect time to earn the Companion Pass, because you'll enjoy the benefits for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Annual Fee$69
Welcome Bonus Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.
  • Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. Earn between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest® purchases.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Your points never expire, a benefit of the Rapid Rewards® program.
  • 5X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. Earn between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month.
  • 2X points per $1 spent on all other Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

What is the Companion Pass?

If you aren’t already familiar with the Companion Pass, it gives you two tickets for the price of one on all Southwest flights. Just pick your favorite travel buddy, and that person will pay only the taxes and fees (but not the ticket price) when you fly together. You can use this on as many flights as you want while the pass is active. For couples and families, the savings potential is huge!

You can find more details on how the benefit works in our Ultimate Guide to Earning the Southwest Companion Pass. If you're ready to lock in your own Companion Pass through the end of 2022, here's how to do it with the current credit card offers from Chase.

How to Earn the Companion Pass with a Signup Bonus

When you earn a signup bonus from one of the Southwest co-brand cards, those points count towards earning the Companion Pass. That means it’s possible to earn this benefit without booking a single Southwest flight.

For big spenders, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card gives you a path to obtain the Companion Pass with just a single signup bonus. But, to reach the required 125,000 Southwest points, you'll need to spend a total of $25,000 over the course of six months.

If that's more than you spend, don't worry! We'll cover another option—with far less spending required—in just a moment.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Annual Fee$199
Welcome Bonus Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
The latest card to join the Southwest lineup of rewards cards, the Southwest Performance Business Card offers the highest Rapid Rewards signup bonus, earns more points than it's Southwest counterparts, receives a massive 9,000 point anniversary bonus, plus offers plenty of perks and benefits for Southwest fans. One of the best co-brand business cards on the market.
  • Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit
  • Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.
  • 3X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases
  • 2X points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

If you're one of the lucky few that can spend your way to a Companion Pass with just the Southwest Performance Business Card, here's how you can reach the 125,000 point threshold:

  • 70,000 points – spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 30,000 points – spend $25,000 in the first 6 months (this total includes the $5,000 you spent in the first 3 months)
  • 25,000 points – minimum number of points earned to meet both tiers of minimum spending (1 point per dollar spent on $25,000 in total spend)
  • 125,000 points total

Two Credit Cards are Better Than One

For most of us, spending $25,000 in only six months isn't possible. But that doesn't mean you can't earn a Companion Pass this year! In addition to the Southwest Performance Business Card, Chase offers three consumer-focused cards that earn Rapid Rewards.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Annual Fee$149
Welcome Bonus Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.
  • Earn up to 80,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. Earn between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks and WiFi.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest® purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 5X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. Earn between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month.
  • 2X points per $1 spent on all other Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Right now, the offers and spending requirements for all three consumer cards are identical.

You aren’t allowed to have more than one Southwest personal card, but you can hold a personal and a business card. If you decide to get one of each, the path to earning a Companion Pass requires far less spend. Here's the breakdown of earning just the first part of the bonus on both cards:

  • 70,000 points – spend $5,000 in the first 3 months on the Southwest Performance Business Card
  • 50,000 points – spend $2,000 in the first 3 months on any of the Southwest personal cards
  • 7,000 points – minimum number of points earned to meet the first spending tier on each card
  • 127,000 points total

The application page for the consumer cards says that the current offer ends on February 8, 2021. Unfortunately, we aren't aware of any end date for the offer on the business card.

You could potentially stagger your applications so that the three-month spending window doesn't overlap completely, but there is some risk that the business card offer could end without warning if you prioritize the personal card first.

Final Thoughts

Now, the caveat. This entire strategy hinges on your ability to get one or more Southwest cards. All Southwest cards are subject to Chase's 5/24 policy, plus you cannot get a bonus on a personal Southwest card if you already hold one or have received a bonus on one in the previous 24 months.

However, the payoff is enormous. The value of a Companion Pass if you typically travel with a companion can be measured in the thousands of dollars over the time you hold it.

Are you taking a shot at a Companion Pass in 2021?

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Comments

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    I think, there are many things that do not count toward earning the Companion Pass. The first is any transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

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    Not sure it will be worth it this year but generally the Companion Pass is awesome.

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    Do you think that 2021 would be good for most? I get that Southwest’s companion ticket is good to save money but I think that maybe striving at the end of this year more. I believe I would have more use for it 2022 and 2023. I wonder if SW will try and push that and low fares for the first half of 2021 to boost business? Maybe I’ll try out SW in 2022. Their seating model I just am too unsure about with covid until I’m more sure on herd immunity and I am vaccinated.

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      I share your concerns on the full flights and when safe travel may resume. I’m still hopeful that we can get widespread vaccinations in time to travel this summer. But, I totally understand the instinct to wait until 2022/2023 to go for the Companion Pass.

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    This is a good promo by using credit card opening bonuses. Just make sure after you get it that you actually use it.

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    The companion pass is one of the best perks in the points and miles universe….just need to get under that pesky 5/24 Chase policy first.

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    Best perk in the points and miles game..,,just need to get under the Chase 5/24 and then I can apply for the cards

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    It is a great deal for those who travel with a companion. Those of us who are solo travelers or who travel with various people. Wouldn’t it be very forward-thinking of Southwest if you could choose to have the companion pass be 50 percent off for 1 person. For the yea you had the pass.? The « « self-partnered » companion pass. (If they come out with one we’ll know they read this blog!)

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    2021- the year to get back flying around. Great to have the companion pass!