Southwest Credit Cards Put Companion Pass Back Into Play

Two credit cards. $168. A year of free flights. How tough can it be? Southwest Airlines has increased its credit card sign-up bonuses,* and they’re back up to a level where you’ll want to look at them.

The Southwest Companion Pass


Your friend can be here for free.

Southwest Airlines offers the most valuable perk in the airline business: The Companion Pass (CP). The companion pass allows you to bring a friend with you for free every time you fly. It’s not stand-by, either. You can book your friend’s free flight at the same time that you book your paid one.

Despite how valuable it is, the CP is simple enough to earn. You can get it by flying 100 one-way flights in a year, but the easier way to do it is to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points, the Southwest version of frequent flyer miles. For Southwest flights, you earn anywhere from 6 to 12 points per dollar spent, so 110,000 points could cost you almost $20,000. Ouch.

This Trick Gets You the CP for a Lot Less

But Rapid Rewards has a unique feature that makes the Pass much more obtainable: It counts all points that you earn, not just the ones from flying. Earn points from shopping? They count. From dining out? They count, also. From your Southwest credit card? Yup. They even count the signup bonuses.

Thats right, when you sign up for a Southwest credit card and spend the required amount, you’ll get a large bonus. Those points will count toward the minimum that you need.

Here’s Why it Matters Now

Southwest’s standard credit card sign-up bonus ranges from 30,000 — 40,000 points, but they offer frequent promotions. And now, they’re offering 60,000 points for signing up for a new card and spending $2,000 in your first three months. That’s more than half the minimum that you need.

But it gets better. They also offer a business card, which means that you can earn 120,000 Rapid Rewards points by getting both cards, paying the annual fees ($69 and $99, respectively) and spending a total of $4,000 over the first three months.

Oh, one other thing: A Rapid Rewards point is worth about 1.7 cents. Got 120,000 of them? Perfect, because that’s almost $2,000 in value on Southwest Airlines. And that’s before the companion pass.

Here’s What You Need to Know

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are applying for your cards:

  • Southwest offers three different types of personal credit cards. Normally, I advocate getting the one that gives you the best total value, but if you’re doing this just for the CP, just get the cheapest one.
  • Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 policy. If you’ve received five personal credit cards from any bank over the past 24 months, they will almost always deny you if you apply for a Chase card. That rule does not, however, apply to business cards.
  • If you’ve had a Southwest Airlines card in the past 24 months, you won’t get the sign-up bonus for this one.

Your Bottom Line is the Bottom Line

$2,000 in airfare and a companion pass. If you fly Southwest, you’ll want to take advantage of this offer.


*I don’t offer Chase cards. This link will take you right to Southwest’s page.


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