Southwest Companion Pass Tricks

Southwest Companion Pass Trick: 2023 Complete Guide

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.

One of my favorite travel deals is the Southwest Companion pass. Learn about the Southwest Companion Pass trick here. This guide aims to tell you everything you need to know to earn two-for-one travel for your family!

Southwest Companion Pass Basics

Let’s start with the basics: if a person earns 135,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, besides all those points you just got, you will also earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

Once you earn the Companion Pass: for the rest of that calendar year and the next calendar year, you can name a person who will then fly with you anytime you fly and only pay about $5 in fees each way. (International Flights will have higher taxes).

Note: Starting January 1, 2023 — Southwest credit card holders will also automatically earn 10,000 Companion Pass “Qualifying Points” so the requirement essentially if you hold a Southwest credit card is to earn 125,000 points. These are not points that you can redeem for flights, these just basically jumpstart your Companion Pass Tracker with 10,000 points.

You can also change your companion 3 times per year.

Since earning our first companion pass in 2015, we have exclusively traveled on Southwest for domestic flights. For much of that time, my husband and I EACH held a companion pass. That means both of our kids were flying domestically for $5 each!

There are a few tricks to earning it and maximizing your Companion Pass, as well as some restrictions. I’m going to try to lay them all out here, so you can enjoy two-for-one travel, too.

If you’ve never flown Southwest, check out my intro guide to flying Southwest. We love the customer service we get on Southwest, as well as the free checked bags and freedom to change our flights up until 10 minutes before take off.

Southwest Companion Pass Promo – March 2023

Through March 19, 2023 — you can earn a promotional companion pass with one credit card sign up offer. This promotional pass will be valid through February 28, 2024. Currently all three personal credit cards from Southwest offer this offer. UPDATE: this offer is now only available via personal referral links.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points
  • $149 annual fee
  • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • $69 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check-ins per year
  • 3000 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 2x earning on Southwest flights, local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #1: Timing

Timing is important when it comes to the companion pass.

You have to earn 135,000 points in a calendar year (January 1 – December 31) in order to earn your Companion Pass.

When you log in to Southwest’s website, you’ll see your Companion Pass Tracker on your Account page. This resets on January 1 each year.

Your Companion Pass Tracker will look like this. This resets on January 1. So if I didn’t earn the last 6,000 points before January 1, I would not earn a Companion Pass.

You’re not redeeming points for a Companion Pass, it is just an extra perk that Southwest gives to reward you for your loyalty — their way of saying “Thanks for earning those points, here’s a bonus!”

Remember, if you have a Southwest credit card — by January 31 you will have 10,000 qualifying points automatically added to your tracker.

Best time to earn

As soon as you’ve earned your required points, you will get the companion pass for the rest of that calendar year plus the NEXT calendar year.

Earning it early in the year will give you the most time with your Companion Pass.

If you earn the companion pass on January 31, 2023, you will have it until December 2024– the rest of 2023 and the whole next year (2024) — 23 months.

If you earn the companion pass in December 2022, you will only have it until December 31, 2023 which is about 12 months.

For maximum value, you want to try to earn it as early in the year as possible. Keep reading to find out the strategies I use to earn it as early in the year as possible.

You can also sign up for my free downloadable guide which has an optimal timeline here.

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #2: Earn a Companion Pass by opening new credit cards

The most straightforward way to earn a companion pass way is by opening 1 or 2 new Southwest credit cards from Chase, which is the exclusive issuer of Southwest cards. There are 3 Southwest branded personal cards to choose from and 2 Southwest branded business cards. Each dollar spent on a Southwest credit card earns you at least 1 Southwest Rapid Rewards point but it is the sign up bonus that is most helpful in earning a companion pass.

Sign up bonuses vary, and often during the year, you will be able to earn the Companion Pass just by earning two sign up bonuses. Other times, the sign up bonuses will get you most of the way there and then you will need to top off your earning with a few more points.

Sign up bonuses on the personal cards start at 40,000 points after spending $1000 in 3 months, but often go up to 60,000+ points after spending $2,000 to $3,000 a few times a year. Some bonuses will have different tiers — like earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months, and earn 50,000 more after you spend $12,000 total in 12 months. Occasionally Southwest offers a limited time Companion Pass as part of the sign up offer on a credit card. The offer on the Southwest Performance Business card is pretty standard at 80,000 points (after spending $5,000 in 3 months). Annual fees range from $69 to $199 depending on the perks of the cards.

To be eligible for the credit card bonuses you need to have good or excellent credit. You also need to qualify under Chase’s unofficial “5/24 rule” which means you need to have opened fewer than 5 credit cards (from any issuer) in the past 24 months. Head back to my getting started with credit cards page if you’re just starting out with opening credit cards for free travel.

Note: you are only allowed to earn a bonus on 1 personal Southwest card per 24 months, so if you want to earn the Companion Pass solely through credit card bonuses, the easiest way is a combination of 1 business Southwest card and one personal Southwest card.

Here are all your card options. If you’re interested in applying for one of these cards, please use my affiliate links as it helps support my site and doesn’t cost you anything!

Personal Cards: Earn 50,000 points

As of February 4, 2023, all Southwest personal cards are offering 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months.

I think the Priority Card offers the best value by far, even though it has the highest annual fee. The annual fee effectively drops to $74 after the $75 annual statement credit. The statement credit is extremely easy to redeem, you can even buy $75 of Southwest Giftcards on their website each year and the credit comes off on my statement automatically. You could also use it for taxes and fees or in-flight food and beverages.

The Priority card also offers 4 upgraded boardings (instead of the 2 early bird check ins) and more points on your card anniversary.

Keep in mind that you are only eligible for a new personal card if you haven’t received a bonus on a personal card in the past 24 months. Essentially 24 months after you receive your bonus you are eligible to apply for another card and get another bonus (as long as you have cancelled your previous card).

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • $69 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check-ins per year
  • 3000 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 2x earning on Southwest flights, local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Card
  • $99 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check-ins per year
  • 6000 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points
  • $149 annual fee
  • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying

Business Cards

Southwest business cards tend to have very consistent offers and we don’t see the same variation as we do on the personal cards.

If you have any side hustle that generates income, you probably qualify! This includes things like selling old toys on Facebook marketplace, walking dogs, babysitting, tutoring, and more.

For those types of “small businesses” you will apply as a sole proprietor and use your Social Security number where it asks for an EIN.

Southwest Premier Business Card
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – 60,000 point bonus
  • $99 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check Ins per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit
  • 6000 points per year on your card member anniversary

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card – 80,000 point bonus
  • $199 annual fee
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry statement credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 4x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 9000 points per year on your card member anniversary

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #3: Time your Credit Card Applications

As discussed above, the best time to earn the companion pass is in January. So how do you accomplish that with credit cards? Part of the Southwest Companion pass trick is to get your timing right. 

You need to time your card applications carefully. Business card applications from Chase can take a few weeks to process, so I recommend starting the application process as early as October 15. You can try applying for both a business card and a personal card on the same day and it might get approved. Or you can apply for 1 first, wait 30 days and apply for the other.

The next step is critical: timing when you will receive your bonus points. 

After you complete your minimum spending requirements, Chase typically gives you your bonus points on the day that month’s statement closes.

Let’s say you apply for the card in early October and complete your $1000 spending pretty easily in November. When your statement closes on December 15 (for example), you will earn your 50,000 bonus points. But wait! That’s NOT what you want to do. You are trying to get those bonus points to post in January at the earliest.

You absolutely don’t want to complete your minimum spending before January 1.

Got it? Don’t complete your minimum spending before January 1!

Technically you should be able to complete it as soon as your December statement closes. The date will vary for each person. You can call to confirm your statement closing date and often you can change the date you want it to close.

If you want to do some end of year charitable giving on your card (one of our favorite ways to complete minimum spending requirements) you could do that on December 31 and you should be fine, most transactions don’t post on your credit card for a few days anyway.

But if you want to be absolutely sure, just wait till January 1 to spend big. You could apply for your cards as early as October 3. You need to complete your spending within 3 months so watch your dates very carefully. You can also wait until December or January to apply for the cards if you don’t have any travel planned early in the year. Historically, usually in the late fall and winter, Chase raises the sign up bonuses on all the Southwest credit cards, so personally, I like to wait until I see an offer of 60,000 points before I jump on it. 

You can also sign up for my free downloadable guide which has an optimal timeline here.

The 10,000 “qualifying” points from having a credit card will appear on your Companion Pass Tracker by January 31.

Sample card combos to earn the Companion Pass

These calculations were calculated with the 50,000 point bonus on the personal cards that was available on March 16, 2023.

Remember: effective January 2023, if you hold a Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card on the “first business day of the calendar year” you will get a boost of 10,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points. These will be deposited by January 31st. You only get one boost, even if you have two different cards. This “boost” is not giving you points you can redeem but just points that will get added to your Companion Pass tracker.

Personal Cards Only:

Opening any Southwest personal card will give you 51,000 points after completing your spending. I prefer the Priority card over the lower annual fee Plus card due to all the benefits it adds. If you open only a personal card, you will still need to find other ways to earn the 74,000 other points to earn the Companion Pass. This can be through a combination of additional spending, referring friends and family to the card, or using shopping portals. It is hard to do, I’d recommend waiting for another higher offer.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points
  • $149 annual fee
  • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
Card OpenedSouthwest Priority Card
Total Annual Fees paid$149
Total points earned after minimum spending51,000 points
50,000 from bonus + 1,000 from spending
Additional points needed to reach 135,000 and earn Companion Pass74,000 points (you’ll get 10k added to your tracker by holding a card)
Additional premium benefits4 upgraded boardings per year + $75 back on Southwest purchases, which includes taxes and fees from booking flights



One Personal + One Business Card:

Southwest Priority Card  + Southwest Premier Business Card

This combo will give you the lowest total spending across two cards to reach your bonuses. You could also substitute the $69 annual fee Plus card if you wanted lower annual fees.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points
  • $149 annual fee
  • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
Southwest Premier Business Card
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – 60,000 point bonus
  • $99 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check Ins per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit
  • 6000 points per year on your card member anniversary

Cards OpenedSouthwest Priority Card
Southwest Premier Business Card
Total Annual Fees paid$248
Total points earned after minimum spending114,000 points
110,000 from both bonuses combined + 4,000 from spending
Total spending needed to earn bonus points$6000
Additional points needed to reach 135k and earn a Companion Pass9,000 point
You’ll get 10,000 points added to your tracker for holding a card
Additional premium benefits4 upgraded boardings per year
$75 back on Southwest purchases, which includes taxes and fees from booking flights
2 Early Bird Check Ins per year

Southwest Priority Card  + Southwest Performance Business card

This card combo gives you the highest level of benefits from Southwest cards. It requires a higher level of spending to achieve both bonuses but will offer more points, too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points
  • $149 annual fee
  • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card – 80,000 point bonus
  • $199 annual fee
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry statement credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 4x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 9000 points per year on your card member anniversary
Cards OpenedSouthwest Priority Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Total Annual Fees paid$348
Total points earned after minimum spending136,000 points
130,000 from both bonuses combined + 6,000 from spending
Total spending needed to earn bonus points$6000
Additional points needed to earn Companion PassNone! You’ve earned it!
Additional premium benefits8 upgraded boardings per year
$75 back on Southwest purchases, which includes taxes and fees from booking flights
Free Wifi on flights
TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit

Business Cards Only:

While you can only open one personal card, the rules for business cards are different. You can open both business cards in the same year if you choose to.

Southwest Premier Business card  + Southwest Performance Business card

Southwest Premier Business Card
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card – 60,000 point bonus
  • $99 annual fee
  • 2 Early Bird Check Ins per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit
  • 6000 points per year on your card member anniversary

Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card – 80,000 point bonus
  • $199 annual fee
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry statement credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year
  • Free in-flight wifi
  • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
  • 4x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 9000 points per year on your card member anniversary
Cards OpenedSouthwest Premier Business Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Total Annual Fees paid$298
Total points earned after minimum spending148,000 points
-140,000 from bonus
-8,000 from spending
Total spending needed to earn bonus points$8000
Additional points needed to earn Companion PassNone! You’ve earned it!
Additional premium benefits4 upgraded boardings per year
2 free Early Bird Check-Ins per year
Free Wifi on flights
TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #4: Other Ways to Earn Rapid Rewards Points

New credit card sign up bonuses are the fastest way to give yourself a huge points boost on your quest to earn a Companion Pass. But it isn’t the only way! Here are a few more options. These are also the best options for card offers that get you most of the way there but maybe not all the way.

Refer a friend (or spouse) to any Southwest Credit card if you already have one
  • Referral bonuses are usually 20,000 points per referral. If you have any Southwest credit card, you can generate a personalized link that will allow you to refer a friend to any of the Southwest cards.
  • Sometimes Chase will release a lower offer through the referral page. 
  • If you refer a friend to a Southwest credit card in December after your December statement is closed, this referral will post to your account in January and will count for your next year’s companion pass earning. This is a great way to get a boost on your earning.
Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
  • Earn points by clicking through the links from a wide variety of online shopping options
  • Note: bonuses sometimes allow you to earn as much as 3500 bonus points after spending certain amounts — but technically these bonus points won’t count towards the Companion Pass. Just the base points on your portal purchases. In practice, though, sometimes these bonus points often count towards your companion pass.
Book Hotels Through Southwest Hotels
  • Earn points per dollar you spend on Southwesthotels.com – and bonus points of up to 10,000 per night!
  • Southwest partners with Booking.com for this and guarantees the best rates
Rapid Rewards Dining Program
  • Register any credit or debit card to earn points when you dine at participating restaurants.
  • Technically only the base points you earn count towards the companion pass, not any bonus promotions — but in practice the bonus promotions seem to count as well.
Earn points for flights you take and pay cash for on Southwest
  • Depending on which card you have, you will earn 2x-4x points on any Southwest flight you’ve purchased, in additional to the points you get for your actual flight.
Earn bonus points though Southwest partners (base points only, not bonus points)
  • Hotel stays booked through Rocketmiles can earn up to 10,000 Rapid Rewards points per night
  • Car rentals booked through the Southwest partner site can earn points per booking
  • Check the Southwest site for all the current deals!
Quarterly bonus points from Chase
  • Every quarter, Chase targets some cardholders for bonus spend opportunities. Sometimes it is as simple as earn 5x on all spend. Or it might be spend $1,000 and earn 3000 points.
  • Check your cards here: https://www.chase.com/mybonus to see if they qualify every quarter!

Which Points Don’t Count Towards Earning a Companion Pass?

It is important to note that not all Rapid Rewards points you earn will count towards the 125,000 you need to earn a companion pass. Here are the points that technically DON’T count:

  • Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts (like the Chase Sapphire or Ink products)
  • Points converted from hotel or car loyalty programs
  • Purchased points
  • Points from e-Rewards?, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club?
  • Tier bonus points
  • Flight bonus points
  • Partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase).

In practice, some people find that partner bonus points DO actually count towards the Companion Pass, so your results may vary.

Check out the full terms here

Southwest Companion Pass Trick #5: How to complete your minimum spend if you have low monthly expenses

One of the key parts of using credit cards to earn miles and points is not spending more money to reach these bonuses, but just to leverage your everyday spending. We have monthly expenses that are around $1,000 a month so we often need to use other strategies to help us reach minimum spends. This is also helpful with bonuses that require a larger amount of spending (like $10,000+) if we want to complete it more quickly. Read our full article here.

  1. Move all your spending to your new card. We use Google Pay to set up both of us to use the new card for stores that accept contactless payment. 
  2. Buy store gift cards. You can’t do this perpetually, but if you are a few hundred dollars short on a minimum spend, it can help to buy a gift card to a store where you know you will use it. I sometimes buy as much as $1,000 in Costco gift cards, knowing I will spend it eventually. This only works if you have the cash flow to essentially pre-pay your biggest expenses.
  3. Buy Visa gift cards when your grocery store or Staples has a promo (otherwise the activation fees might not be really worth it). I then register these gift cards with a PIN number online and use them for bills that I can only pay with a debit card, like my health insurance (many online processors will consider them a debit card — always test with a smaller amount first!)
  4. Pay your car or home insurance (or time a new card sign-up to when you have an insurance bill coming). Many companies will even allow you to pre-pay.
  5. Pay your property taxes. This varies depending on location. In our county, I am charged a small fee to do this but I often find it worth it anyway if I’m working on a new card bonus.
  6. Fund micro loans through Kiva. You will get paid back eventually and do good in the process!\ 
  7. Save up your charitable giving and use your credit cards to give. 
  8. Use Plastiq to pay bills where credit isn’t usually accepted. Again, there is a fee but sometimes the fee is worth it for us, like if we pay a $50 fee but then get $700 of travel! If you want to pay your mortgage, you can only use a Mastercard, so this doesn’t work for the Southwest cards.
  9. Open a new bank account and fund it with a credit cardDoctor of Credit has a great resource on this. I recently opened a money market account with Great Southern Bank and was able to fund $4900 with a Chase credit card. It coded as a “Financial Purchase” and I received points for the purchase. I will keep the account open for 30 days and then close it.
  10. Prepay monthly expenses like Netflix, gym memberships or tuition. 
  11. Pay a car down payment. When we bought a car we were allowed to put $2500 of the down payment on a credit card. Varies by dealer. 
  12. Load your Amazon account with Amazon gift cards.
  13. Add a trusted family member or friend as an authorized user and let them reimburse you for their purchases.
  14. Pick up the tab if out to dinner with friends and have them pay you back via Venmo or another electronic cash app. 
  15. Get reimbursed for business expenses. Clear this with your company first. 
  16. Pay your rent with a service like RadPad or Place. Usually about a three percent fee.
  17. Pay your federal income or state income taxes (fees of 1.67%+ will apply. 
  18. Pay tuition. 

How will I know I’ve earned the Companion Pass?

When you log into your Southwest Account, you can see your progress right on the dashboard.

You’ll see this on your Rapid Rewards Dashboard

When you have earned the Companion Pass, you will receive an email from Southwest congratulating you on earning it.

Southwest Companion Pass Trick

How to use Southwest Companion Pass: Designating your Companion

The email you receive from Southwest will invite you to designate your companion. When you log into your account, you should also be prompted to designate a person.

Keep in mind, you can change your companion 3 times in a calendar year, so you do have some flexibility. But after the 3rd change, your companion will be locked onto that person.

After designating your companion, you will also receive a physical card in the mail that says “Companion Pass” with your companion’s name. We have always just stuck this in a drawer and never looked at it again. We’ve never needed it.

How to Book with Southwest Companion Pass

If you already have a flight booked, you can now add your companion to it. You can always do this over the phone if you want to. Or generally it can be done online. Log into your account and find your booking. You should see a link to “Add Companion” to your reservation. The reservation screen is very similar to booking a regular ticket.

You always have to book your flight and then add your companion separately. You can use your Rapid Rewards points to book more than one ticket. So if you are a family of 4 with one companion pass, you can book 3 tickets together from one Rapid Rewards account and then add the companion. You and your companion will also always have separate reservation numbers so it is an extra step on check-in. You will need to check in separately.

We love that Southwest doesn’t charge change fees and will just deposit your miles back into your account as long as you cancel at least 10 minutes before your flight leaves!

Occasionally we have run into problems with adding a companion to our reservation. Sometimes with International itineraries you need to call in to add a companion. You will also pay additional taxes when flying internationally. Sometimes because we have 2 companion passes, we need to call in to add the 2nd companion because the screens error out and tell us  we already have added a companion to the reservation. Sometimes if we want to change a reservation and have already added our companion to the reservation, we need to call in to do so. Southwest customer service is always helpful and friendly so really, don’t be afraid to call and ask for help!

What other questions do you have about the Companion Pass? Do you need help with the Southwest Companion Pass Trick? I’d love to help you get some two-for-one tickets!

73 thoughts on “Southwest Companion Pass Trick: 2023 Complete Guide”

  1. I recently booked a round trip Pittsburgh to Reno. connecting through Las Vegas with my wife as companion. On the return trip, is it possible for my wife to complete the trip back to Pittsburgh, and for me to stay in Las Vegas for a few days and use my ticket to return to Pittsburgh ??

    1. Unfortunately, not as a companion. She would have to book a separate ticket home if she wants to come back early. You can cancel her as a companion on your reservation and rebook her return separately. If it gets complicated, just call Southwest, they have great customer service!

  2. My husband currently has a Southwest companion pass that expires 12/31/21. We usually take turns having the companion pass as we only need 1 companion for our trips. There is a promotion right now to get the companion pass until 2/28/22. I haven’t applied for a companion pass under my name since 2014. Should I use this offer or wait for January of 2022 and see what offers are available or plan on trying to acquire the 125000 points?

    1. I’d probably recommend waiting if you have a pass that expires 12/31/21. With the current promotion, you would essentially only be extending the pass by 2 months. If you have a lot of travel you’re hoping to do in January and February of 2022, it could be worth it. But otherwise, you will get more value by waiting until late 2021 to apply for the cards so that you can earn it. If you earn your 125,000 points in early 2022, you will then have the Companion Pass for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023.

  3. If I have never had a companion pass before is the current offer the best one to start with? 30,000 points plus companion pass until 2/2022

    1. If you think you would use the Companion pass at least 2 times before it expires, I think it is a good offer! Especially if you are invested in trying out the Companion pass. If you decide you like it, your spouse or significant other could try to earn it in 2022 so you could get another one.

  4. Any way to extend the Companion Pass by a few days? I’m planning a trip from 12/26-1/2, and I would love to use it in both directions. Thanks!

  5. Veronica Peshoff

    Is it possible to earn a companion pass through one personal credit card application? Please provide example to accomplish it. Thank you.

    1. It is possible but how hard or easy it is varies greatly based on the current credit card offers. Early in 2021, there was an offer where you could earn 90k points after spending $10,000 on a SW card. That one card could actually earn you the companion pass because in 2021, you only had to earn 100k points. But when the offers are 40k, it would be very hard to earn with just one personal card.

  6. Elizabeth Freuck

    I have had my Southwest Credit Card for over a year. My online statements don’t say anything about a 20,000 point credit in 2021 and it says I need a total of 125,000 points to earn the companion pass. How can I make sure I received the 20,000 point credit?

    1. You will only see it on the companion pass tracker. It is a bit confusing, they didn’t actually give you points. They just gave everyone 25k points extra on the companion pass tracker, which means, essentially, you only have to earn 100k in 2021 to earn your companion pass.

  7. I have a personal and business credit card. Does it make any point to keep the cards and pay the annual fees if I am not going to qualify for companion this year? (Without the bonus points, I’ll never make it.) I was unlucky enough to qualify during a pandemic and had to cancel trips. 🙁

    1. I think it makes sense for some people and not others. If you are a person that uses Early Bird Check In or the upgraded boardings, the benefits can easily off-set the annual fee. Especially because you also get points on your cardmember anniversary. But you could also cancel the cards and get them again when it has been 24 months since your bonus posted. Bummer about not getting much use from your pass.

  8. My wife and I have a trip booked in December 2021, and then another one with our kids in March 2022. All of these flights were booked with points. I just hit the companion pass in November and I was wondering if I can somehow drop my wife off of the reservations and add her as the companion. All of the flights still have seats left but not at the prices they were when I first booked, therefore It would not benefit me to cancel the whole thing and rebook. Thoughts?

    1. Yes, you can definitely do this. First you will want to name your wife as your companion. Then I’d suggest just calling into Southwest and letting the Customer Service reps doing this for your. They should be able to remove her from the reservation and then rebook her as your companion. Enjoy your Companion Pass!

  9. My husband has a SW rapid rewards credit card. I am an extra authorized user on his account, and have a card in my name that is connected to his account. We last got the bonus over 24 months ago (back in March of 2019). If he cancels his card, can I apply for one in my name and we get the 100,000 bonus points following the requirements?

    1. Yes! You don’t even have to cancel his card. He should try to refer you so he gets extra points but most referral links have dropped down to a lower offer of 40k. You may be able to apply for the 100k offer and later attach his referral as I recently saw someone able to do this.

      1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your reply, and will follow your tricks above to wait until Jan to start earning!

  10. I applied for both cards today. approved for the personal, but the business just said something like thanks for applying. you can close this window now. No approval/denial/pending… Is this normal now? Never seen that before.

  11. I have a personal SW Rapid rewards card and have earned 100,544 points so far in 2021. I just received a SW Business card and will earn 60,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months, starting Oct.7. I have about $300 left to spend. My business card statement ends on Dec. 25. If I spend the remaining $300 in the last few days of the year are points credited to 2021 or 2022? Wondering if there’s a way to maximize the Companion Pass for 2 years. Thank you

    1. If you complete the spending before your statement closes, the 60,000 points will post to 2021 and you will have earned the Companion Pass for 2021 and 2022. If you wait to finish your spending until Jan 1, your 60,000 points will post in 2022. You would still need to earn 65,000 more points in 2022 in order to earn the Companion Pass. You could open 1 more business card or if it has been 24 months since you got the personal bonus, you could cancel and reapply.

  12. I have 122000 points and need 3000 more points for the companion pass. My SW credit card shows that I have another 4000 points pending; however the statement closes on January 3rd and the companion points resets on January 1st. Will I be eligible for the pass or need to start over again?

    1. Unfortunately those wont post till Jan 3 then and your Companion pass counter will reset. I just made a comment below on ways you could possibly earn those 3000 points before the 31st.

  13. Hi Katie, love your page. I am at 122, 379 miles and almost over the edge. My account statement already posted for this month, and Had I known it was going to be so close, i would have pushed a little harder! Anyway, do you have any ideas about how I can pick up some additional last minute points to keep my companion pass. I did refer my husband for a card about 6 weeks ago, but I suppose those points won’t post until he completes his 3 months and gets his points on his card, correct? I called the credit card number and asked to move my closing date on it, but they say it takes 2-3 billing cycles to become effective. Would love any thoughts you have.

    1. Normally the referral bonus posts the statement after the friend is approved, but not always. You are so close! A few things you could try:
      1. The only way I think youd for sure get those points is if you booked a cash fare and flew it in SW liketomorrow. When you book a ticket it tells you what you will earn. I think if you book a $250 round trip it would get you those points.

      2. You could try doing some shopping through the Rapid Rewards portal. I saw some things like Norton had 20x earning. These often post within 5 business days but no guarantee.

      3. You could book a hotel with Southwest Hotels that has a bonus. In Chicago I saw some with bonuses of 3k or more, for instance. You would actually have to check in to your stay. Again, not 100% sure they would post in time.

      Good luck and let me know if it works out ?

  14. Currently, the personal cards all come with Companion Pass bonus thru Feb 2023. If I open one of those personal cards + 1 Business card (to get the companion pass thru Dec 2023), I know I should do the Business Card first. Then when I open the Personal card though, won’t the companion pass that comes with that “override” the companion pass that’s good thru Dec 2023? Or will I then have enough points that the “bonus” pass from the personal card (thru 2/23) be then “upgraded” to the companion pass thru 12/23? That sounds confusing….I want to be sure I won’t end up with the pass thru Feb 2023.

    1. Those offers are separate. So anyone who earns 125,000 points in a calendar year will earn a Companion Pass for the rest of the year and also the next calendar year. So if you earn 125,000 points, you will get the Companion Pass for the full time — regardless of what personal offer you do (like if it includes the promo Companion Pass). There is also a personal offer for 50k after $2k spend that is officially the “in-flight” offer but should work – https://swa.mychasecreditcards.com/a1/southwest/50kdualinflightEmail

      1. Oh, that is a great option! Thank you-if that’s still available 32 days after approval from the business card, that’s the one I’m going to do.

  15. My husband got both a personal card and a business card and we are about to hit the Companion Pass threshold. When it comes time for the annual card fee again, does it make any sense to keep both the cards? If we drop one, does it matter which one?

    1. I just got a approved for the southwest plus card with 30,000 bonus point and companion pass if I spend 5000.00 In 3 months. If I spend the 5000.00 within a couple weeks of getting card when will i get my points and companion pass ?

  16. What is the best way to KEEP re-earning the companion pass? I’ve earned one through the end of 2023 with the personal Priority card….is there a way to see how much spend I have to keep putting on the card to make sure I earn it AGAIN afterward? I’ve heard of people cancelling and re-applying for the card to get another sign on bonus….not sure if that is a good strategy. How do you do it? I don’t have anyone else who can apply for the card in the family so I’m the solo “cardholder”

    1. It is pretty hard to earn through spend alone unless you have a small business that spends a lot. In 2023, you will see the Companion Pass tracker start over. The easiest way to re-earn is to cancel the cards and apply again when it has been 24 months since you earned the bonus.

  17. Just wondering, the goal is to earn 125,000 points and then we “redeem” those points for a Companion Pass…is that correct? or is it once you earn 125,000 points, you earn it automatically AND you still keep all the points for other uses?

    1. You earn the 125k in a calendar year and you ALSO get the Companion Pass on top of that. And then you can use your points to book flights and your companion can come for free all year!

  18. Hi Katie,
    Great post! I currently, have premier and plus personal cards (for more than 24 months) and looking to close one if not both at a last shot to acquire companion pass – at 72k now so a new card bonus alone would get me there. I have seen in the past that you cannot have any rewards credit cards open in order to be eligible to a new card bonus but have not seen recently, are you familiar with this? Additionally, do you know if my personal cards need to be closed for a certain amount of time before I can reapply?
    Thank you!

    1. The easiest thing would be if you are able to open a Premier Business card. You do not have to cancel the personal cards to open the SW business cards. BUT if you cannot and want to open a new personal card for the bonus you will need to cancel both of your cards. You can reapply after 14 days.

      1. Hi, I currently only have a SW personal card and earned a companion pass through their promotion with sign up until Feb 2023. My plan is to refer my husband for both personal and business cards to earn another companion pass for 2023-2024. Will I be able to earn a referral for each card he gets approved for?

        Also, once he has both the personal and business cards, is he able to refer me back for a business card and earn the referral bonus? We’re trying to both earn companion passes so our kids can travel as well.

        Are we able to earn companion passes year after year or is there any restrictions (waiting for pass to expire before qualifying, etc?)

        Thank you!

      2. There are no restrictions on earning a Companion Pass in consecutive years. And yes, you can earn 2 referrals for your husband’s cards (one for each card) and then he can refer you back!

  19. I currently have a Companion Pass that I earned this year through Southwest Visa bonus points (awarded in March) and spending enough to hit 125,000 points. The card has me as the primary cardholder and my wife as an additional credit card holder as a joint account member, so all points earned and spent apply to my RR number. It will expire December 2023. I won’t be eligible to get bonus points again for 24 months (March 2024), so will be without a Companion Pass for at 3 months or more. Instead of waiting, could my wife apply for a card in late 2023 and include me as a joint account holder (though she will be the primary). Then she could earn the bonus points and get the Companion Pass sooner. I would then fly as her companion in 2024-2025.

    1. Yes, that is exactly what I’d recommend. And you can refer her to those cards from your card as well and earn extra bonus points for that, too.

  20. Hi there, re-read this several times. In your sample tables, what is the difference between “Total spending needed to earn bonus points” and
    “Additional points needed for Companion Pass”? Thanks!

    1. Let me try to clarify here:
      1. You need 125,000 points earned in 1 calendar year to earn a Companion Pass.
      2. The total spending is what you have to spend with current card offers to get the new cardmember bonus. The amount you have to spend on the personal cards to get the bonus varies a lot through the year.
      3. “Additional points needed” is what other points you need after you have gotten the bonus points from the credit card signups.
      Hope that helps!

  21. This site is helpful! I wish I had seen it BEFORE I opened my SW plus personal card! I didn’t realize the companion pass was for calendar years, I thought it started from the month you earned it. So, I am starting over. My daughter and I are going on her senior trip in May 2023, but I have to book the flight on Oct 2022 ( next week ). I want to try to book with points but May have to pay cash for one of them. If I open two business cards in Nov 2022 and earn the companion pass in Jan or Feb 2023, can I use the companion pass on an the existing reservation booked in Oct 2022 with cash?

    1. Yes! Once you earn a companion pass you can then add your companion to any reservations that you have. No matter whether you paid for the tickets with cash or points.

  22. If you have two new cards (one for me and one for a spouse) from SW and want to combine the sign up bonuses to get to the minimum amount of points for the companion pass, do you have to pay to transfer points from one card to the other?

    1. Unfortunately you can’t combine points to earn a Companion Pass. Points transfers will not count as “qualifying” points.

  23. Will purchases made on my SW credit card before the statement closing date in December count towards earning a companion pass for 2023?

  24. Hi! I have a quick question! Your guide was seriously so helpful and honestly convinced me and my wife (and helped us convince some friends) that we wanted to go for the companion pass starting next January.

    So we’re figuring out all the details for which cards we are going to apply for and who is going to refer who, but then we realized that in the Referral website, it says that you earn the referral bonus points *when the person is approved* for the card. *But* it can take up to eight weeks for the points to be posted in the account.

    So do you think if we referred a friend to a personal card before December 5, would the points go towards this calendar year or next calendar year? I’m going to get a personal and a business card, so I’ll be covered in hitting the 135k after Jan 1st. My friend however is wanting to see if he can qualify for the CP by just getting a personal card and referring 2 people. My plan was to refer my friend to a personal card, he would refer me to my personal card, and then he would refer his wife to the personal card as well. (Side note: He knows that his wife would be blowing her chance of getting the companion pass for 2023 by doing this cause she’s not getting a business card, just the personal card).

    Sorry if that was extremely confusing haha. We are just trying to figure out this. If he refers me and his wife to the personal card now, is it likely those points would count toward 2022 or do you think they might post in 2023? Thank you!!!!!

    1. If you want to be sure the referrals post and count in 2023, I don’t recommend that you do it until after your December statement closes. Typically the referral points appear whenever your next statement closes. I would hate for your friend to have those points too fast!

  25. My husband and I both have personal cards. It’s showing that he has 93,974 points and I have 61,181 towards the companion pass. I currently have the companion pass until 2/28/23. What would be the best strategy to keep my companion pass? Also, what would be the best strategy to get my husband the companion pass? We are both willing to open a business card. I just want to make sure we get our timing correct. We would LOVE to earn two so we can travel with our kids! Thank you in advance!

  26. THE BONUS SIGN UP POINTS NOW DO NOT GET COUNTED TOWARDS COMPANION PASS POINTS!!!

    You get the points but not counted towards COMPANION POINTS!

  27. I received 30,000 sign up points on April 11, 2021. I cancelled the card and now there is an offer to get a companion pass that is good until February 28, 2024 if you spend 4000 in 3 months. The offer closes 3/13/2023. Do I have to wait until April 11 to apply for the card or do I apply now and make sure to time my earning the sign up points to post after April 11? Thank you.

  28. Hi,
    I have looked all over the internet for this answer. I recently hit my minimum spend and my statement closed. On Chase, it says I’ve earned 80k points, but those points haven’t shown up in my RR account yet and it is two days after the closing date. I met the minimum spend early February, the statement closed and my Chase account is showing I have those points, but my RR account is not. How long typically for Chase to send points to RR.
    Wanting to take a trip next week and use companion fare for my son.

  29. HI-
    If I have a Southwest Business Credit Card can I refer myself for a Southwest Personal Credit card to earn the refer a friend bonus? Also, I have 2 businesses-could I refer my other business to get the bonus?

    1. Generally, I don’t recommend self-referrals with Chase because it seems they could lead to your account being red flagged by Chase as it is against terms. But you could refer someone else is your same household.

  30. I want to meet the spending limit as quickly as possible. If I send Chase a $4,000 payment now which they would hold on my account, will it unlock my Companion Pass access?

    1. You won’t get the points until you have spent the money on new purchases and your statement closes. So if you want it ASAP, you’ll want to spend it on a big purchase and then call to see if you can have your statement close sooner.

  31. Have u ever seen this? My father in-law got a personal card in Nov 2022. He spent $2,600 on it in Nov/Dec (just shy of the $3k min spend). They posted his bonus at the end of Dec before he hit the $3k. Can he fight this?

    Thank you for your time

    1. He could try but I’m not sure how they could alter it. How frustrating! Did he by chance have returns on the card?

  32. Hi thanks for the article! I still have a few questions if you know the answers!

    1) How can you earn more by opening more than one card? Is it because both are linked to the same Rapid Rewards account? (So, no transferring or anything like that?)

    2) If you earn CP, can you use it if you pay for your flight with a Southwest Gift Card? (I know you can use it if you pay with cash or points, but can’t find the answer re: gift cards)

    3) If I transfer RR points to another person, do the earned points still count towards CP?

    1. Hello!
      1) Yes, both the business and personal card will be tied to the same account which is how you can earn the points needed for a companion pass. You can’t transfer in to earn the CP.
      2)Yes, no matter how you pay for your SW flight (gift card, credit card, points, flight credit), you can add your companion.
      3) Transferred RR do not count towards CP

  33. Danielle Visone

    Need help! What did I do wrong?
    Applied for the SW priority card during the 2023 promotion where if you spend $4,000 in three months and then earn 30,000 bonus points as well as a promotional companion pass that is valid through February 28, 2024.

    I met this qualification and earned my 30,000 points but did not receive my companion pass. What am I missing??

    Thanks!

  34. Hello Katie,

    Thank you for this great article. I have one quick question. I opened the Southwest priority card during the 2023 promotion where if you spend $4,000 in three months you earn 30,000 bonus points as well as a promotional companion pass that is valid through February 29, 2024. I got Companion Pass and now I’m accumulating Rapid Reward points.

    My question is, would I still get Companion Pass again if I reach the 130,000 points by January 2024 as you stated in your article even though I have Companion Pass until February 29, 2024? I currently have 60,000 qualifying rapid rewards points towards Companion Pass and I’m thinking of opening a Southwest business card for my side hustle closer to the end of this year to get the bonus for the 135,000 for the Companion Pass but I can’t find anything on whether my Companion Pass will extend if I reach the points.

    Thanks again for all your great work on this website!

    1. What you would want to do is earn the rest of the 135,000 (so for you, 70,000 points) before the end of 2023. You need to earn 135k total in the same calendar year. Then you will extend your pass till December 31, 2024.

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