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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
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 135,000 qualifying points
This is what we’re going to talk about
For many of us who do not fly Southwest that often, earning 135,000 points is the strategy. And you’ve got to time it properly. So how will you earn 135,000? You guessed it…..credit cards. (this will be discussed further below)
How long is the SWCP good for
What’s the ideal way of earning the SWCP
Picking your companion
Credit card application strategies
Remember you will need 135,000 points to earn your SWCP, so when you begin shopping for the right set of cards, make sure you get to 135,000 points or more.
- Apply for 1 Southwest personal and 1 Southwest business credit card (this was exactly how I did it in 2021 – see below); or
- Apply for 2 Southwest business credit cards – this is ideal for those who do not want to take up another 5/24 spot because business cards with Chase do NOT add to your 5/24 count. This is also ideal for those who aren’t able to qualify for applying for another personal card.. (What is 5/24? This is key – read this – it could affect your application)
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:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
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.
“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 2024.
What did Jason and Nancy do to earn the Companion Pass
STEP ONE: Apply for a business card
11/9/23 – Applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card,
At the time, the offer was to earn 80,000 bonus points, after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Not instantly approved
DID NOT call to speak with a rep
Called status line daily for voice recorded status
Approved 11/21/23 – 12 days later (learned via status line)
STEP TWO: Apply for a personal card
12/5/23 – Applied for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
At the time, the offer was to earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
NOT instantly approved
- Called the status line, and the recording kept prompting us to enter our application ID – which we don’t remember getting
We were tempted to call and speak to a rep BUT I told Nancy…”No, we will let the process take its course.”
No news is good news
18 days later, Chase called Nancy’s cell
Advised her that Chase had extended lots of credit and if she was open to moving some of the credit limit from her existing business account, she’d be approved
She said YES……APPROVED.
How long to wait in between credit card applications
Don’t rush in applying and meeting the minimum spend in 2023
Make sure you are UNDER 5/24
Apply for the business card first
Business cards 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
- Business card – applied 11/9
- Personal card – applied 12/5
10,000 boost towards companion pass
What is this 10,000 boost? Is this something I could use to book towards my future travels?
In essence, when you apply for Southwest credit cards and aim for the companion pass, you truly just need to earn 125,000 points. How so? If you have a Southwest Airlines credit card, you will be awarded 10,000 points applicable towards Companion Pass. This means, for many of you who apply for a Southwest credit card before the beginning of the year 2024, Southwest will award you 10,000 points to help you qualify to the Companion Pass. This is the boost.
NOTE: These 10,000 points are NOT usable for travel. It’s only designed to help you push you towards the CP.
PERSONAL/CONSUMER CREDIT CARDS
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
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.
If I could simplify this, follow these steps
- Apply for your first card in mid/end of October to end of November. I applied around October 20th for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
- Use the business card, but make sure to meet the minimum spend in EARLY 2024 (do not meet the minimum spend in 2023)
- Apply for the personal Southwest card in early or mid December, for me I applied for one of the Southwest personal credit cards around December 7
- Continue using the business credit card and personal credit card, but make sure to meet the minimum spend in EARLY 2024 (do not meet the minimum spend in 2023)
- All of these expenses could take place around the holiday season and it’s tempting to use the cards – but DON’T tap dance close to the full amount in 2023
- Beginning of January 1, 2024….YES, go ahead and finish up in meeting the rest of the minimum spend on both cards.
- Once you’ve met the min spend in January, your bonus points should post in January 2024 or in February 2024
- You will have also earned a 10,000 points boost
- If you applied for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card + one of the personal credit cards with 50,000 bonus = you’d be at 130,000 points + the 10,000 boost – gets you to 140,000 points + all the points you’ve earned from spending on the card. That’s more than enough that will meet the requirement of 135,000 points.
- You will get an email from Southwest notifying you that you have earned a Southwest Companion Pass.
What about you? What are your plans?
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