ADVERTISER DISCLOSURE: DaddyTravelsNow is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

How to earn Southwest Companion Pass + increased offers on Southwest Cards (updated as of 10/19/21)

ADVERTISER DISCLOSURE: DaddyTravelsNow is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com  This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

For more deals, follow me on my travel page on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter
Well, it’s that time. It is Southwest Companion Pass (SWCP or CP)  season…..so it’s time to visit our strategy how to earn your Southwest Companion Pass. 

My disclaimer

I have never earned a SWCP, have always been intrigued. So I’m invested here, I want to learn as much as I can, and by learning, I want to share what I know.

What you need to know about Southwest Companion Pass

The premise is quite simple. It’s like a BOGO deal.
  • When you’ve earned a companion pass, you pay for the full fare + fees for yourself
  • Your designated companion only pays the fees.
  • Tickets can be paid in cash or purchased using points.
  • There are no blackout dates
  • You could use this as many times as you want
  • As long as there are open seats, you could use CP
  • Good for domestic (yes, Hawaii), and international flights (yes, not just the US – Mexico (Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, etc), Belize, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Cuba, Turks & Caicos, etc.
  • You have to check in and fly with your companion
  • A designated companion’s reservation is NOT a purchased flight, therefore another CP reservation cannot be purchased from it.

So how do you earn the Southwest Companion Pass

There are a couple of ways to earn SWCP:

  • Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights with SW in one calendar year
    • How many of you do this? I bet, not many,
  • Earn 125,000 qualifying points
    • This is what we’re going to talk about

For many of us who do not fly Southwest that often, earning 125,000 points is the strategy. And you’ve got to time it properly. So how will you earn 125K? You guessed it…..credit cards. (this will be discussed further below)

Southwest Counter – Austin

Sample SWCP cash booking

  • You pay $200 + $11.20 in taxes/fees = round trip to LA to Kauai
  • You companion only pays $11.20 taxes/fees

Sample SWCP points booking

  • You pay 12,000 points + $11.20 taxes/fees = round trip to LA to Kauai
  • Your companion only pays 0 points + $11.20 taxes/fees
  • NOTE: Points earned with Southwest or with Chase Ultimate Rewards transferred to SW will work.

How long is the SWCP good for

It is valid for the remainder of the calendar year it was earned PLUS the next calendar year. So if you earn your CP in April 10, 2022, it’s good thru December 31, 2023. So the challenge is to earn the CP in early January, so you could have the CP for nearly two full years.

Picking your companion

You can only have one designated companion at a time. You can change your companion up to three times per calendar year.

Which credit cards to sign up for

Open a Southwest Business Credit Card AND one of the Southwest Personal Credit Cards. The combination of points you earn with these credit cards could be your ticket to SWCP. Remember you will need 125K points, so when you begin shopping for the right set of cards, make sure you get to 125K. In some cases, applying for two cards will get you at 120K, but once you add the points from meeting your minimum spend, then you could be well over 125K.

Strategy: Apply for 1 SW personal and 1 SW business card, OR apply for 2 SW business credit cards.

Your 5/24 matters. Here I go again with Chase 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened 5+ credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase will NOT approve you. So you have to be under 5/24 to qualify for these cards.

Apply for the business card first

Thanks to Brian M. from my Facebook travel group page, Daddy Travels Now, he said:
Also, it’s important to apply for the business card FIRST. Those are sometimes harder to get approval. You don’t want to burn a 5/24 slot on the personal card if it turns out that Chase won’t approve the business card application.

Do I apply for the SW card now?

Remember you have to time this properly. Let’s say you applied for 2 SW credit cards, and get to the 125K SW points and earn the CP in Oct 30, 2021…..your new CP is good for the remainder for 2021 and all of 2022….roughly 14 months. Not bad BUT….

Don’t rush in applying and meeting the spend quickly

Your goal is to meet the spend in the beginning of January (not before the end of 2021). If you meet the spend let’s say in Dec 2021, and you earn the CP in Dec 2021, then you will only be awarded the CP for the rest of 2022. But if you meet the spend and earn the CP in early Jan 2022, you will have the CP for all of 2022 (12 months) plus all of 2023 (another 12 months) = two full years.

Your Southwest business and personal credit card options

You could begin taking a look at these card options to get an idea of the different cards available. These offers are SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

PERSONAL CREDIT CARDS

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus points.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open,
  • Plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months
  • Annual fee $69
  • New Earning Rates
    • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
    • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus points.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open,
  • Plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
  • Annual Fee $99
  • New Earning Rates
    • 6,000 anniversary points each year.
    •  Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
    • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
    • 2 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn up to 100,000 bonus points.
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
    • Plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
  • Annual fee $149
  • New Earning Rates
    • 7,500 anniversary points each year.
    • Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases.
    • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
    • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
    • Get $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
    • Get 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.

BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS

    • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    • Annual Fee – $199
    • Additional perks
      • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
      • Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
      • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
      • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
      • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
      • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
      • Global Entry or TSA Precheck® Fee Credit.
    • Earn 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    • Annual Fee – $99
    • Additional perks
      • 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
      • Earn 3X points on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
      • Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
      • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
      • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
      • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
      • Earn unlimited tier qualifying points towards A-List status.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Cards side by side comparison

 

My plan to earn the 125,000 points via credit card bonus offers

To get to the required 125,000 points to get a SWCP, here are my plans

  • I plan on applying for two credit cards. I will apply for the the business credit card first by November
  • A month later (December), I plan on applying for the personal credit card
  • I will make sure NOT to meet my minimum spend on BOTH credit cards in 2021. My goal is to meet the minimum spend in early January 2022.
  • When I do this correctly, I will have earned 80,000 points  + 50,000 points from the bonus offers, plus 7,000 points from meeting the minimum spend.
  • This will get me to 130,000 points which is more than enough to earn the 125,000 points required to get the Southwest Companion Pass.

Caveat: Know your spending strategy. Are you disciplined enough NOT to meet the minimum spend in 2021? Because THAT IS THE GOAL. You should aim for meeting your minimum spend in early January 2022. Depending on the cards that you plan on getting, for me, the minimum spend on the two cards I mentioned up above are relatively low. The holidays are coming. My kids have their own expenses with school so I just know that I will not have any issues meeting the spend.

The strategy that won’t work

Chase had changed the rules when it comes to applying for the personal credit cards. This applies to these 3 personal cards:

To earn a bonus with Southwest personal cards, you have to meet the following statements:

  • Have not earned a bonus on another Southwest personal card in the past 24 months
  • Do not currently have a Southwest personal credit card

So if your plan was to open up two new Southwest personal credit cards to earn a Companion Pass, that plan won’t work

Get 2 business credit cards or 1 business and 1 personal

You could, however, sign up for two Southwest Airlines Business Credit cards. You could have one or two of the business credit cards, and still apply for a Southwest personal credit card.

What about you? What are your plans? Do you have a Southwest Companion Pass? Do you plan on going for it again?

 

For more deals, follow me on my travel page on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter

 

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

 

One thought on “How to earn Southwest Companion Pass + increased offers on Southwest Cards (updated as of 10/19/21)

  1. Your article made me changed my mind about pursuing UR thru Sapphire and Ink bonus, instead trying to continue holding SW CP for the 6th and 7th year. Last year our UR ended up getting transferred to SW & Hyatt anyway. Our kids are about the same age as yours, and we only have a couple years to vacation easily with our middle daughter. Thanks Jason!

Leave a Reply

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
%d bloggers like this: