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The Ultimate Guide To Earning Southwest Companion Pass (Oct 2022 update)

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.

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Updated: October 10, 2022
One of the best travel deals was to earn our Southwest Companion Pass (SWCP or CP). The premise is quite simple. I think of it as a BOGO deal (buy one, get one). With our SWCP, we’ve traveled to Hawaii a few times, Arizona, Las Vegas, Bay area, Washington DC. It was a no-brainer money-saver.
What you need to know about Southwest Companion Pass (SWCP)
  • 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
  • No restrictions as to which Southwest flights you could use for the SWCP
  • You could use this as many times as you want
  • As long as there are open seats, you could use the SWCP
  • Good for:
    • Domestic flights (yes, including Hawaii),
    • 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, the SWCP holder, 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.

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.

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

How long is the SWCP good for

Once you’ve earned the SWCP, 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 November 1, 2022, it’s good thru all of 2022, and all thru December 31, 2023. So to get the best bang for your buck, the challenge is to earn the CP in early part of 2023, so you could have the CP for all of 2023, plus all of 2024 (thru Dec 31, 2024)….therefore you could have your SWCP 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. The first person you pick does not count as part of the 3 allowable changes. You could pick/change three different times after that. If you switch back to a person you’ve chosen in the past, that’s allowed BUT, that’s considered a change. So just keep that in mind.

What happens to the 125,000 points that you’ve earned

Guess what? You get to use the 125,000 points. Those are yours –  book flights for yourself, and you could easily add your designated companion to fly with you for free.

Strategies

Remember you will need 125,000 points to earn your SWCP, so when you begin shopping for the right set of cards, make sure you get to 125,000 points or more.

  • Apply for 1 Southwest personal and 1 SW business card (this was exactly how I did it in 2021 – see below); or
  • Apply for 2 Southwest business credit cards.

What did Jason do

On October 20, 2021, I first applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card to get 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. I got approved, and I had 3 months to meet the required spend for this card (I had until January 20, 2022). I met the spend in January 2022, and I got 80,000 bonus points. However, the 80,000 bonus points  alone would not be enough to get me a SWCP. I knew that.
On December 7, 2021, I applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to get 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. I made sure to meet the spend in January 2022, and I did earn my SWCP after that since I earned 130,000 worth of bonuses from both cards (80,000 + 50,000) plus the points earned from the spend with both cards,  The 130,000 points was more than enough for me to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Since I earned the SWCP in the early part of 2022, I then have the benefits for the rest of 2022, and all of 2023. My SWCP benefits ends on December 31, 2023. That’s nearly two years with SWCP.

How long to wait in between credit card applications

In my case, I gave it about 45 days from the time I applied for the business card, and then I applied for the personal card. So if you follow the same approach like mine, wait about 30 days from your business credit card application and then apply for a personal card.
If you plan on applying for both business credit cards, I’d give it 30+ days before you apply for the next business credit card. So let’s say you apply for the first business credit card on October 20, I’d apply for the 2nd business credit card towards the end of November (anytime after November 21st or in December). Again, make sure to meet your minimum spend in early 2023.

Make sure you are UNDER 5/24

Here I go again with 5/24. Your 5/24 matters – read this  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

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 Southwest credit card now

The time to apply for SWCP is between October and December. Remember you have to time this properly. Let’s say you applied for 2 Southwest credit cards, and you get to the 125K SW points and earn the SWCP in Nov 30, 2022…..your new SWCP is good for the remainder of 2022 and all of 2023….roughly 14 months. Not bad BUT your goal is to meet the spend in the beginning of January (not before the end of 2022).

Don’t rush in applying and meeting the spend quickly

But if you meet the spend and earn the CP in early Jan 2023, you will have the CP for all of 2023 (12 months) plus all of 2024 (another 12 months) = nearly two full years.
Trust me on this. I’ve seen folks unknowingly meet the minimum spend before the end of the year, thus reducing the # of months they’d have the SWCP. Chase had also awarded folks their SWCP earlier, even if you’ve not met your min spend. So be disciplined. The goal is to meet minimum spend on both cards in early 2023. I just cannot stress that any more!

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 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Annual fee $69
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In each year
    • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
    • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases, local transit and commuting, including rideshare, Internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
    • Earn 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Annual Fee $99
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In each year.
  • NO Foreign Transaction Fees
    • 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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. .
  • Annual fee $149
  • Get $75 Southwest travel credit each year.
  • Get 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks and WiFi
  • No foreign transaction fees
    • 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.

BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

    • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    • Annual Fee – $199
      • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
      • Earn 4X points on Southwest purchases.
      • Earn 3X on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
      • 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and rideshare.
      • 1x on all other purchases
      • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
      • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee Credit.
      • Up to 365 inflight WiFi Credits per year
      • $500 fee credit for points transfers per year
      • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

    • 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 local transit, commuting, including 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
      • Earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent
      • $500 fee credit for points transfers per year
      • 25% inflight purchases
      • No foreign transaction fees

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 two business credit cards or one business and one 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.

“I already have a personal Southwest card, can I still earn the Southwest Companion Pass?”

The answer is yes, but you need to check if it has been more than 24 months since you received the bonus. If it has been greater than 24 months, then yes. You will need to call Chase, and CANCEL the SW personal card. I’d give it about 30 days before you reapply again. Again, make sure to meet the minimum spend in 2023.

I hope this helps you in strategizing and earning your Southwest Companion Pass. As always, I appreciate your support by using my links when you begin applying for your credit card.

What about you? What are your plans? 

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 “The Ultimate Guide To Earning Southwest Companion Pass (Oct 2022 update)

  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!

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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.
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