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With travel picking up again, one of the best ways to travel with your family is the Southwest Companion Pass. The Southwest Companion Pass promotion is essentially an all-access pass to fly another passenger with you — for almost free (plus taxes/fees) — an unlimited number of times. Think of this as a buy-one-get-one pass that you can use for the rest of the year it is earned, plus the entire following year.
With the current Southwest credit card offers, earning the pass is easier than ever! This is because the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority® Credit Card are offering a 40,000-point welcome offer.
Southwest Companion Pass Trick to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass Promotion
Instead of earning the pass the traditional way by flying, there’s a Southwest Companion Pass trick to earn the pass easily and quickly. This involves applying for one of the Southwest credit card offers. This is because all points earned from the welcome offer and regular spending count towards the 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year required to earn the pass.
And being the beginning of the year, right now is one of the best times to apply for one of the Southwest Credit Card offers. Currently, all three cards are offering 40,000 points once you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months. This means once you meet the full minimum spend requirement, you’ll be 41,000 points closer to earning the pass. This makes this one of the best Southwest Companion Pass tricks to be able to fly your companion for free.
Best Southwest Credit Card Offers for Families
There are five different Southwest Credit Card offers — three personal cards and two business cards.
On all three personal cards, which include the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you’ll earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening. However, these are far from the best Southwest credit card offers we’ve seen, so if you aren’t in a rush to apply, you might want to hold off.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card Application Link
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card Application Link
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Application Link
But, if you are eligible for a business card, you can earn more points with their current bonus offers. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is offering 80,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. There’s also the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, which is offering a slightly inferior offer, but comes with a lower annual fee. With the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card you’ll earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card Application Link
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card Application Link
Earning the Southwest Companion Pass Promotion with the Southwest Credit Card Offers
With this Southwest Companion Pass trick, you can earn the pass for almost two years. The pass is valid for the year you earn the full number of points, plus the entire following year. This means if you earn the pass now, in 2022, you’ll earn it through Dec. 31, 2023. This will give you almost two years with the pass. Typically, points post 3-5 business days after your statement close date.
Including the minimum spend required to earn the points, that’ll give you between 41,000 and 85,000 qualifying points — depending on the card you apply fo. Since you need 125,000 points in a calendar year, you’re only 40,000 points shy of earning the pass with the Southwest Performance Business Card. You can earn the remaining points from additional credit card spend, flying Southwest, and utilizing Southwest Rapid Reward partners. One of my favorite ways to earn qualifying points is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal.
How to Combine a Business and Personal Card
To earn the Southwest Companion Pass promotion right away, you can combine the welcome offer on a Southwest personal and business card. Even though Chase doesn’t allow you to have two Southwest personal cards open at a time, there’s no rule on having both a Southwest personal and Southwest business card.
This means you can apply for one of the Southwest personal cards, such as the Southwest Plus, Southwest Premier, or Southwest Priority, and then combine it with the Southwest Performance Business Card.
After spending $1,000 on the personal card, you’ll earn the full 40,000 bonus on any of the personal cards. Then, when you spend $5,000 on the Southwest Performance Business, you’ll earn another 80,000 points. This means you can earn 120,000 bonus points — but really 126,000 points with the minimum spend included — just by combining two cards. This will earn you the pass right away.
Difference Between Southwest Credit Card Offers
There are many differences between the five cards, including the annual fee and benefits received. Keep reading to learn more about the Southwest Cards that are perfect for families!
The Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier are similar, although the Southwest Plus costs $69 a year. Meanwhile, the Southwest Premier costs $99 a year. The big difference, however, is that on your cardmember anniversary, you’ll earn 3,000 bonus points and 6,000 Rapid Reward points, respectively. With Rapid Reward points worth approximately 1.4 cents per point, this means you are earning about $42 and $84 towards Southwest travel. Starting with your second year on the card, these bonus points almost pay for the annual fee.
Both cards also earn you bonus points on Southwest purchases, 25% back on inflight purchases, and two EarlyBird Check-In credits per year.
The Southwest Priority Card is the main difference between the three. While this card carries a $149 annual fee, the card offers 7,500 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary (worth $105 towards travel), 25% back on inflight purchases, four upgraded boarding positions per year (worth $120 to $200 per year) and a $75 annual travel credit. These benefits pay for the annual fee, if not well more.
If you have a small business, you might be eligible for a small business card. This can include having an Etsy store, being an Uber driver, or even an eBay seller. You don’t need to actually have a registered small business and you can always apply with your social security number.
The Southwest Premier Business card is very similar to the personal version of the card. You’ll earn bonus points on Southwest purchases, 25% back on inflight purchases, and two EarlyBird Check-In credits per year. You’ll also earn bonus points on local transit and commuting purchases, including rideshare. The card also costs $99 a year and comes with 6,000 bonus points on each account anniversary year (worth $84 towards Southwest travel).
The Southwest Performance Business card is the most expensive Southwest card at $199 per year. But the benefits are top-notch. With this card, you’ll earn four upgraded boarding positions, up to 365 Inflight WiFi credits per year (which essentially gives you complimentary WiFi on every Southwest flight you take), Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, and 9,000 bonus points on every account anniversary (worth $126 towards Southwest travel).
What are the Southwest Credit Card Offers Worth?
Southwest has a semi-fixed redemption rate where the amount of points required for a free flight is directly tied to the ticket price. Typically, Southwest points are worth about 1.4 cents per point. This means the 40,000 points earned from the person Southwest credit card offers will give you $560 towards Southwest travel. Or, if you apply for both a personal and business card, the 120,000 points are worth an unbelievable $1,680 towards Southwest flights.
As previously mentioned, we’ve seen significantly higher welcome offers for the personal cards, but these are the best offers for the business cards. The points earned will allow you to take some amazing vacations, solely on points. And best of all, even when you use points earned from the welcome offer for a free flight, you can still add your companion as well. This means if your companion flies with you for every flight you take using the points earned from the credit card offer, you can theoretically receive double in value.
Southwest Companion Pass Rules
Now that you are one step closer to earning the Southwest Companion Pass promotion, there are some things to know.
As discussed above, the pass is valid the rest of the year it is earned, plus the entire following year. That means if you earn the pass now, you’ll have it through Dec. 31, 2023. Your companion can also fly with you an unlimited number of times during the life of the pass.
You can change your companion three times per year, not including the initial companion that is set when you receive the pass. This means, over the course of two years, you can have seven different people fly with you for free. Your companion is also able to repeat themselves later on in the year, if you’d like. Knowing these Southwest Companion Pass rules will help you maximize the pass to the fullest value.
How to Add Your Companion to Your Flight
After your companion is selected and you book your flight, you can easily add your companion to the flight. You can do this directly in your Southwest account online or by calling Southwest. The only requirement is that there has to be at least one flight left for sale. Hint: You can also book your initial flight before earning the pass. Know you’re earning the pass in the near future? You can book your seat now and book your companion later.
As part of the Southwest Companion Pass rules, your companion can also fly with you on any flight booked. It doesn’t matter if it’s a paid fare or if you are using points. Your companion will still fly for free! The only out of pocket for the companion is the taxes and fees. For domestic flights, this is $5.60 each way. International flights will cost slightly more, depending on the destination.
Is the Southwest Companion Pass Promotion Worth it for Families?
Yes! I’ve personally been a Southwest Companion Pass holder for 13 years now. It has saved my family tens of thousands of dollars throughout the year. I’ve used it to fly to many Southwest destinations — both domestic and international. I’ve had many family members and friends fly with me as my companion. Their only out-of-pocket cost is the taxes and fees.
This is truly a no-strings-attached flight that is absolutely worth it. There are no destination restrictions. No blackout dates. No fare restrictions.
If you live in a Southwest hub, the Southwest Companion Pass will allow your family to fly at a significant discount. And right now, with the three personal credit cards offering an all-time high welcome offer, there’s no better time than to apply to take advantage of the Southwest Companion Pass trick. Apply for one — or two — cards and you’ll be on your way to earning the pass!
We hope you liked this article on the Southwest Companion Pass by our contributor Jennifer Yellin! Jennifer is a travel credit card expert and founder of points and miles blog Deals We Like. She is also a freelance writer for CNN Underscored and The Points Guy, among other publications.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, credit cards, or other recommendations generally included within our articles. The card offers that appear in this article are from companies from which Families Love Travel and our contributing writer, Jennifer Yellin, receive compensation.
Editorial Note: All opinions and recommendations expressed here are those of the contributing writer alone, in this case, Jennifer Yellin, and have not been informed by and/or reviewed by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and likewise have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the aforementioned entities.
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