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The key to understanding which points qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass is to understand that there are 3 types of points in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Program.
- Tier Points: Points that determine your A-List status with Rapid Rewards
- Redeemable Points: Points you use to redeem for flights on Southwest
- Companion Pass Qualifying Points: Points that determine your eligibility for the Companion Pass
One thing to remember is that not all points earned will fall into all categories. Most airlines have Redeemable Miles and Elite Miles. The equivalent to Southwest is Redeemable Points and Tier Points, however, Companion Pass Qualifying Points are a bit different and that is our focus here.
Which Points Help You Qualify for Companion Pass
Update: From August 1 to October 31, 2020, select Southwest co-brand cardholders will earn 30% bonus points on all spending (up to 25,000 points), with all points counting towards the Companion Pass! This is a targeted promo, so you need to check if you are eligible for the bonus points. Catch the promo details and links to see if you qualify in this post.
Per Rapid Rewards, there are 3 types of points that are Companion Pass qualifying:
- Points earned from paid Southwest flights. Only base points count, not tier bonus points.
- Points earned from Southwest Rapid Rewards partners. Again, only the base points count — no bonuses. There are a few caveats here; see below.
- Points earned from Southwest co-branded credit cards, including:
This includes points earned from everyday spend as well as points received from the signup bonus.
Which Points Do Not Qualify
The list of points that do not qualify isn't surprising, but is important to know:
- Purchased points
- Points transferred between Members
- Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs (such as a Marriot Hotel + Air redemption)
- Points earned from e-Rewards, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club
- Points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment
- Points earned from tier bonus
- Flight bonus points
- Partner bonus points
You should remember what points qualify and then work under the assumption that everything else does not — when in doubt, look it up.
Exact Language from Southwest
From Southwest's FAQ
A Member who earns 125,000 Companion Pass qualifying points or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest® per calendar year will qualify for Companion Pass. Companion Pass qualifying points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest, points earned on Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards® partners. Points earned during a billing cycle on a Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase are not available for redemption or qualification for Companion Pass status until they are posted on your billing statement and posted to your Rapid Rewards account. Only points posted on your billing statements and posted to your Rapid Rewards account during the same calendar year are available for qualification for Companion Pass status. The following do not count as Companion Pass qualifying points: purchased points; points transferred between Members; points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, e-Rewards®, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club®; points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment; tier bonus points; flight bonus points; and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase). No points or Companion Pass qualifying points will be awarded for flights taken by the Companion using the Companion Pass.
While it may seem that the Southwest Companion Pass is difficult to earn, in reality, it can be earned relatively easily. If you're a small business owner, consider splitting your spending up, so personal spending is dedicated to Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, while your business spending can be loaded onto the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card.
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