Earn a Companion Pass in 2021 with Increased Southwest Card Offers

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Want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass for the rest of 2021 and all of 2022? Thanks to Chase delivering some outstanding increased offers on Southwest's co-brand credit cards, it's never been easier to acquire the Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best offers in domestic and regional travel. Earning this benefit means that your chosen companion can travel with you on any paid ticket or award ticket by paying only the taxes and fees. This makes the Companion Pass an unlimited buy-one-get-one-free offer while you have the deal.

Today, we cover an easy strategy to earn the Companion Pass for up to two years by signing up for a combination of Southwest co-brand credit cards.

We’ve covered the Companion Pass in much more detail in another post, including other strategies to acquire it outside of credit card rewards. If you plan to use additional methods to obtain your Companion Pass, we recommend reading that post too.

Key Terms

  • Get the Companion Pass by earning 125,000 Rapid Rewards points or flying 100 segments in a calendar year
  • Points earned from welcome bonuses currently count towards qualification (although this is subject to change)
  • Both award flights (booked with points) and revenue flights (booked with money) are eligible for a companion ticket
  • Payment of taxes and fees is still required on a companion ticket (Taxes start at $5.60 each direction within the U.S.)
  • You can only have one companion at a time
  • The Rapid Rewards member who has the Companion Pass must travel with his or her companion
  • You can change your designated companion up to 3 times per year
  • The Companion Pass is good for the remainder of the calendar year in which it is earned plus the entire following year.

Before you even think about taking action on this, there is one condition that is extremely important you understand:

Every year on January 1st, your progress towards the Companion Pass resets to zero. This means you need to make sure you earn all of the points to qualify in 2021 if you want to acquire this benefit for 2021 and 2022. The welcome bonuses on the Southwest cards will post to your Rapid Rewards account when you hit the minimum spending requirement.

Current Southwest Offers

Chase is currently running increased offers on four of the five Southwest credit cards, making it much easier to acquire the Companion Pass than it has been in the past. If you own a business and can charge a relatively high level of expenses to your card, it's even possible to get the Companion Pass with just one card application.

Personal Cards

You can only have one Southwest personal card. If you already have one of these cards, you will not be approved for another card. There are three options, but we recommend the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card thanks to a ton of ongoing benefits that are far more valuable than the cost of the annual fee.

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
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Annual Fee$99
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.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary each year.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
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

Business Cards

You can have both Southwest business cards, but you can’t have more than one account with either card (even if it is for a different business). If you have one of these cards already, you need to get the other card.

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
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Annual Fee$99
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn points on employee spending
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No blackout dates when you redeem points, no seat restrictions, bags fly free®, and no change fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The path that requires the least amount of overall spending is to acquire both the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and one of the personal cards, and meet the first tier of spending on both cards. Including the points earned reaching the $2,000 and $5,000 minimum spending requirements, you would take home a minimum of 127,000 points and a Companion Pass for your troubles.

Our Take

The Companion Pass is an amazing deal for couples and families. Because you earn the pass for the remainder of the year you reach 125,000 points and the entire year that follows, the current offers are a great opportunity to maximize your time with the benefit. The quickest path to the Companion Pass is to get one business and one personal card and earn the first bonus tier on each card early in 2021.

If you don't qualify for a business card and can only get one of the personal cards listed in this post, you’ll have to earn the remainder of the 125,000 points through spending on the card, flights with Southwest, or via the Southwest Hotel Portal.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass for more details on:

  • Eligibility rules for the Companion Pass
  • What points other than credit card rewards count towards the Companion Pass

Are you planning to jump on this offer? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Do you know if one can realize these benefits of upgrading to on of them from a basic Rapid Rewards card?

  • Avatar

    SW companion pass is the best!

  • Avatar

    Do the sign up points still count towards the companion pass? I thought I had heard otherwise…

    Thank you.

    • Avatar

      They do! Southwest confirms that points earned through credit cards are Companion Pass-eligible points – such as in this FAQ: https://www.southwest.com/faq/rapid-rewards-tiers

      How do I qualify for a Companion Pass?
      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.