Earn a Southwest Companion Pass with Just One Credit Card Signup!

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Chase and Southwest Airlines have teamed up on what looks to be one of the hottest credit card offers since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® touched down in 2016. Sign up for one of the three Southwest personal cards and meet the minimum spend requirements, and you’ll take home a Companion Pass for the remainder of 2019—plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards points to help cover your first trip!

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most sought after rewards in points and miles, providing unlimited two-for-one flights on both award and revenue fares for you and a companion—for as long as the pass is valid.

In other words, every time you buy a Southwest ticket or use Rapid Rewards points to book an award, your favorite travel buddy gets to come along by paying only the taxes (which start at $5.60 on flights within the U.S.)

Until today, you could only get a companion pass by:

  • Flying 100 one-way flights in a calendar year
  • Accumulating 110,000 points via credit card spend, flying Southwest, or making purchases through Southwest partners.

Signup for Just One Credit Card and Get a Southwest Companion Pass

All three consumer Southwest cards feature the same offer:

This is a limited-time offer that ends on February 11, 2019, so there is only a small window of opportunity.

Since all three cards have the same welcome bonus, your first reaction might be to get the card with the lowest annual fee. But in this case, we think the Southwest Priority Card (the card with the highest annual fee) is the clear winner. Here’s why:

It’s always a good strategy to pick a card you can justify keeping for the long term. The Southwest Priority Card should easily meet that requirement. In exchange for $149 per year, you’ll get:

  • A $75 Southwest airfare credit each year you hold the card
  • Four EarlyBird Check-Ins ($15-25 each)
  • 7,500 Rapid Rewards points on your account anniversary

The $149 annual fee should effectively cost you $74 per year, assuming you can make use of the $75 Southwest airfare credit. In most cases, we wouldn't automatically assign face value to an airfare credit, but if you won’t use that $75 credit, you shouldn’t be chasing down a Companion Pass or a Southwest co-brand card.

The EarlyBird Check-Ins should be worth $60-100 for those that would normally pay, but I like to think of those as an extra freebie that makes the card an easy keeper.

The rest of the value comes from the 7,500 annual points benefit, which should cover around $120 worth of airfare on Southwest. The exact number of points per dollar does vary a little, but the typical rate is about 1.6 cents per Rapid Rewards point.

Here’s the cash and points cost for a sample flight from Austin to New York on June 1st:

Points vs. Cash with Southwest

For the sake of comparison, you can expect to get about $95 towards airfare from the 6,000 anniversary points earned with the Southwest Premier Card and about $48 from the 3,000 anniversary points earned with the Southwest Plus Card.

Who is Eligible?

Chase has some fairly strict controls on who can get approved for the Southwest cards. In addition to the 5/24 policy, under which you’ll be denied if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards in the previous 24 months, you also won’t be approved if you currently hold a Southwest consumer card, or you’ve received a signup bonus from a Southwest card in the previous 24 months.

“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.”

You can also read more about current application restrictions across all major banks.

Who Should Jump on This Southwest Companion Pass Offer?

The Companion Pass is excellent for family travel. Whether you regularly get away for weekends with a spouse or partner or frequently travel with your kids, you can slash up to 50% off the cost of your airfare for almost an entire year! If you travel as a family of four, you could potentially get a Companion Pass for each parent and add the kids as companions, turning 2019 into a year of cheap family travel!

The Companion Pass is also a great tool for cheap positioning flights, making it an ultra cost-effective way to position to international gateways so you can take advantage of expanded award availability from hubs outside of your home airport. One reason Southwest is so good for positioning flights is that there are no blackout dates. If there are seats left on the plane, you can book yourself and your companion with points or cash.

It should go without saying, but if you don’t fly Southwest, you can’t move some of your travel plans to Southwest for the year, or you don’t regularly travel with the same companion, you are better off letting this deal go.

The one downside to this offer is that the Companion Pass is only valid through to the end of 2019, whereas if you acquire a Companion Pass early in the year via traditional means, you will keep it through to the end of 2020—the better part of two years.

If you already hold the business card and can put significant spend on it, or you qualify for both a business and personal Southwest card, you may also be better off chasing a Companion Pass down by traditional means, and securing it for up to two years, rather than the one-year deal on the table with this offer.


Final Thoughts

If you’re under 5/24 and fly Southwest even a few times per year with a companion, we’d recommend getting on board with this offer. A Southwest Companion Pass is an exceptionally valuable travel tool that can save you thousands of dollars per year. Remember, this offer is only good through February 11, 2018, so you only have a short timeframe to get an application in and secure this offer. And, we think it’s worth mentioning that, before the year is out, Southwest will most likely be flying to Hawaii, and two-for-one flights to the Hawaiian Islands is a good deal by anyone’s standards.

Earn a Southwest Companion Pass with Just One Credit Card Signup!
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  • Good offer, thanks for the tip.

  • davalath@gmail.com says:

    Is this companion pass is good only till end of 2019? Normally it was valid for rest of this year and next year?

  • Jennifer A Finney says:

    Apply for business card yesterday and was approved. Do you know if this offer is not effective until today or if the application that was approved yesterday will be eligible for this offer?

  • great!! thanks for the break down and keeping us informed.

  • Wow! Just WOW!

  • I like and agree with MOST of what you are saying here, but do want to disagree with one point. You said:

    “In most cases, we wouldn’t automatically assign face value to an airfare credit, but if you won’t use that $75 credit, you shouldn’t be chasing down a Companion Pass or a Southwest co-brand card.”

    I very much disagree with that. I have been doing the Southwest cards and getting the Companion Pass every two years for the past six years. My wife and I have flown at least 20 times for free using just points and the Companion Pass. All with points earned from normal spend and the bonuses.

    I don’t agree with the idea that we “shouldn’t be chasing down a Companion Pass or SW co-branded card” simply because we actually wouldn’t be very likely to use that $75 credit. (Unless you can use it in tiny pieces for the $5.60 tax on each flight?)

  • “…A Southwest Companion Pass is an exceptionally valuable travel tool that can save you thousands of dollars per year. … ”

    Can a pass be used multiple times?

  • Wish SW was in my flight plans. Nice possibilities.

  • Interesting offer! Very tempting! Bummer the CP is only good for one year though. The free early bird checks ins are also nice.

  • I already hold the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, issued by Chase, so I’m out. Wondering if my husband can apply-he is an “additional cardholder” on my account.

    • Do you mean he is already an AU on your account? That won’t prevent him from applying for one himself provided he is under 5/24 and meets the other qualification requirements.

    • I am not eligible as I have had a Southwest card for years. Bummer. am wondering if I should cancel it in the Hope’s of another similar offer coming along in a couple years.

  • I just applied for the SWA Card last week and was approved. Is there a way to still get this offer? I haven’t received my card or activated it yet.

  • “Southwest will most likely be flying to Hawaii”

    Now that will be the thing!!

  • I am over the 5/24 limit. My wife is a authorized user (has a card on my credit card accounts) including on a Southwest Card I currently have. If she applies for a card will she get it? I’m not sure how that works for Chase. Will they allow her to apply for a card that she already carries as an authorized user?

    The nice thing with Southwest Airlines (besides being the best airline and easiest to redeem) if that if she gets this offer and receives a companion pass (and selects me as companion), I can use my existing points (in my RR account) to book her a ticket. She can then select me as a companion on the flight. This may be helpful for couples where one person has a lot of points but their Companion Pass has expired.

  • It doesn’t give you the two years as noted, but it’s still a strong offer if you’re going to travel on SW this year and maybe need a spouse to get it, etc.

  • ron_vaughn@hotmail.com says:

    wow. this is great news!

  • If you can get it the companion pass is well worth it.

  • Interesting way to get the companion pass even for just 1 year. Sometimes it’s difficult to hit the 110,000 points required. Mine just expired last year but we saved a lot of money on airfare.

  • Good deal, but need to find out how to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months…

    • That is not difficult if you put your regular monthly expenses on the card until you reach the $4,000. requirement. Just pay it off with the money you would normally use for groceries, gas, rent, insurance, eating out, clothing, books, incidentals, etc. No need to spend any more than you normally do.

    • That sounds a little worrisome. 🙂 Hopefully, it’s necessary spending that was going to occur anyways, of course! 🙂

    • Buy some Amazon gift cards. We use Amazon enough that I’d be comfortable adding $1,000 gift card to my account. Not ideal but the interest we’d be losing relative to a signup bonus is well worth it.

  • I wonder if an increased sign up bonus will happen one day.

    • Signup bonuses ebb and flow so you’ll definitely see an increase in the future. Depending on your travel habits though, this has the potential to be the greatest signup bonus ever. Just one flight can be worth $300 depending on where you’re going and that’s not even round trip.

  • Great offer to be able to get CP with only 1 card app. Plus have the opportunity to extend it by having the full year to accumulate points.

  • Super deal of the year

  • More competition to Hawaii would be excellent!

  • That’s a great deal! If only I had someone to share it with… 🙁 😂

  • Wouldn’t it still be better, for most people, to take two Southwest cards and get the companion pass for two years?

    • Exactly my thought, presuming one is under 5/24 and could be approved for two SW cards, it’s difficult to see why one would go for this offer. As another commenter said, he’s been following that process ‘every 2 years for the past 6 years’. I know that’s the approach I’d take.

    • You have to be eligible for a business card though and it would require a lot of combined spending in a short period of time due to hitting two signup bonuses on two cards rather quickly.

  • Great offer but shame about the tight deadlines.

  • If only in Europe there would be this kind of credit cards offers …

  • Tempting….but I just don’t fly them enough, except to Vegas….and I don’t want to encourage more trips to Vegas for myself!

  • Do you know if these passes are on your southwest account, or a code I can let someone else use if I don’t wind up needing it that year?

  • If you take one of these offers AND apply for the business card and qualify, can you still get the traditional companion pass so it will be good thru 2020 also?

  • Cannot convince my companion to compromise on convenience of assigned seats, so this doesn’t work for us

  • This is awesome!

  • Good offer, thanks for the heads up.

  • Great offer. Thanks for posting.

  • This is very tempting but for my personal situation, i’m going to be flying a lot of international this year so would not be able to leverage the companion pass enough.

  • Tempting, but 2019 will be a low travel year for me. I like that SWA keeps cycling some very enticing offers on their CCs occasionally. Keeps them relevant.

  • Farid Kassam says:

    tempted to get this offer.

  • Tempting offer but I am using flying solo to meet someone somewhere. If I was sure they were adding Hawaii I would consider. Thanks for the info

  • i still think i’ll wait and do it the “old fashioned” way. 2 cc sign up bonuses, companion pass good for 2 year.s

  • Thanks for letting us know. Certainly worth considering.

  • This is the most enticing offer! Thanks for breaking down the cost benefits, it was super helpful. $4000 in three months is SOO doable too!

    • Especially if you have big expenses coming up. I usually have a cruise on the books about once every two years so if something like this pops up, I can easily pay off the cruise or just whatever spend I have left for the bonus.

  • The companion pass is a great deal but since my goals are mostly international travel in premium cabins, I’ll continue to -focus my points-earning elsewhere.

  • Does Chase’s 5/24 policy include being added as an authorized user on someone else’s account?

  • Does Chase’s 5/24 policy include accounts on which you’re added as an authorized user?

  • Good info as always!

  • such a great offer, but if we get 110000 points this year will we still get companion pass next year?

  • You don’t actually get for Early Bird check ins. The fine print reveals what you receive is four upgraded boarding’s which are defined as A1-A15 priority boarding at the gate or ticket counter (space available) the day of the trip. With so many people opening this credit card this will be a very difficult thing to take advantage of this benefit. You should change your post to reflect this.

  • Wow this is a very tempting offer.
    I had a different card in sight but now I need to consider this one also…decisions decisions.

  • I didn’t really understand this pass, thank you for the info.

  • This is the best credit card signup bonus I’ve ever seen. Too bad I’m not able to take advantage of it. 🙁

  • Just not enough travel to make it worth my time. I can understand why it’s a big deal but I just like not having to wait til I am there to get a seat. There are always perks to flying with SW and flying with another carrier. Congrats to all who can take advantage of this.

  • This would really be a great offer if the pass was valid through the end of 2020.

  • I would love a companion pass!

  • The companion pass is great, but one of the best parts for me was having 120,000 miles that were basically worth 2x because of the companion pass.

  • thanks for the great info on this sign up!!

  • This is the best CC perk I have ever seen (2nd best was the Citi Prestige 4th Free night).

    Too bad I can’t fly SW since there are very few direct options from my airport this should be a NO BRAINER for anyone who flies SW.

  • In contrast to all the tiered sign up bonuses coming out, this is a fascinating counter-move. Curse 5/24.

    • Agreed! Although I’d argue this offer isn’t that great for most…definitely an interesting move by Chase, and good for certain folks I’m sure.

  • Awesome. Companion pass rocks.

  • It’s a great offer. I’ll have to wait for the 5/24 rule.

  • What is 5/24?

  • Good time of year to consider this offer.

  • nice little bonus here!!!

  • Great use of the points!

  • I like it because it is less of a hassle than signing up for two cards and pretending I have a significant business for the second (business) card.

    Need to have a quick $4k spend at the beginning of year to make it worth the most.

    BTW, they will expedite delivery of the card to you. Got mine in three days after applying after PM them for an expedited delivery.

  • Too many Chase cards 🙁

  • This is tempting, but for those of us who don’t necessarily need a companion pass, how do you think it compares to other branded credit cards of the same calibur? e.g. United, etc.

  • I so wish I was under 5/24!

  • Wow, wish I saw this coming. Granted, the CP obtained via this offer ends in 2019.

    I am currently working on my 4k and 2k minimum spending requirements for the 60k (public offer) RR Premier Business and the 50k (in-flight offer via link) RR Plus cards. For those interested in a CP lasting through 2020, I highly recommend this route. The extra 2k will extend your CP for another year. Looking forward to booking a trip to Hawaii as well!

  • Does the ‘companion’ always have to be the same person?
    And does travel have to be completed by the end of 2019 or just booked by then? We’d like to travel over Christmas-new year…can we do companion for that?

  • They came out with this 2 days after I got the business version

  • Great offer and hard to say no for it.

  • This sounds like a good deal! I’m going to sign up.

  • Super easy promo!

  • Martha Ruiz says:

    Just got approved and cant wait to take full advantage of the companion pass!

  • Wish we could do this but my husband’s card was obtained in Feb 2017 and bonus posted in March of 2017 I believe. I just finished a 2 year stint in December with MY companion pass. We have lots of travel this year. I may try for my hubby in early Feb to see what happens but I think he’s also greater than 5/24.

  • If I had a companion to fly with on a regular basis, I would apply for this in a heartbeat!

  • Does Chase’s 5/24 policy count authorized users or only if you opened an account yourself?

    • If a card for which you are an authorized user puts you over the 5/24 limit, it will usually cause your application for a new Chase card to go to either a pending decision or denial by the automated system. However, Chase will adjust your 5/24 count manually to exclude auth user accounts if you call them to discuss your application. Lots of reports of this working successfully.

      In other words, if you’re willing to call Chase, 5/24 should apply only to cards for which you are the primary user.

  • It would be great if it was valid until 2020. Most of my travels this year are booked already.

  • Kimberly Tam says:

    Very tempted to get this offer with the new flight routes to Hawaii

  • Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass
    I signed up, was approved, charged over $4,000, and actually paid it off as of January 23
    I did all this to receive and take advantage of the companion pass ASAP
    In communications with Chase it now depends on closing date ( I was told February 11) and then 6-8 weeks it takes to actually post to my account

    My question/concern
    I took advantage ASAP to enjoy the companion pass and now I learn, in theory, it could be mid April first part of May before I ever get to take advantage of this offer. That means I was only really able to enjoy 8 maybe 9 months of a advertised 12 month companion pass

    That to me seems a little discouraging


  • I appreciate this quick run-down! I’m about 8 days away from my points posting from the business card sign-up promo and spend, at which point I will have secured the Companion Pass by the traditional means of 110,000 points (the Premier biz + the Priority).

    As far as routes to Hawaii are concerned – it would be great if they were actually rolled out this year! However, it’s not the first year that the possibility has been dangled in front of our faces. How confident are we that this year will finally be the year it happens? At this point, I’m kind of tired of hoping.

  • Wow, this sounds like another great way to earn free travel. Thank you for this information.

  • Very easy promo!

  • Please help! I signed up my husband for the Chase SW rapid rewards. There is NOTHING saying that He is eligible for the companion pass or how to earn it !!! Help !!!

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