Are Points Earned Towards Southwest’s Companion Pass Cumulative?

by on July 28, 2013 · 38 comments

in Southwest, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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Update: This offer is no longer available. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card here.

TPG follower Ben is looking to qualify for Southwest’s Companion Pass, and tweeted me the following question:

“‪@thepointsguy‬ are points earned towards Southwest’s Companion Pass cumulative? If you have 50,000 points, redeem 10,000 leaving a 40,000-point balance, would you now have to earn 70k or still 60k to qualify?”

To put it simply, Companion Pass qualifying points are different than regular Southwest Rapid Rewards points that you can redeem for airfare. It’s the same thing as with other airlines where award/redeemable miles are different from elite-qualifying miles. For example, with Delta Airlines, your SkyMiles are different from your Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs).


Earn the Southwest Companion Pass after earning 110,000 points or flying 100 one way flights.

Companion Pass qualifying points are still a bit different from elite0qualifying miles on other airlines. That’s because you accrue these points from a variety of activities including flying, credit card purchases/sign-up bonuses and partner activity and will earn the Companion Pass when you hit 110,000 points or fly 100 one way flights within a calendar year.

It does not matter if you use your Rapid Rewards points towards flight redemptions – that won’t affect your Companion Pass Qualifying balance – so you don’t have to worry about having to earn back those points. The balance of your Companion Pass qualifying points never goes down (unless you do something illegal and Southwest takes them away from you) – it will only rise throughout the year as you earn more. When January 1st comes around, your Companion Pass points balance resets to zero, but you will still keep your regular/redeemable Rapid Rewards points which go by a different expiration date.

If you are going for the Companion Pass, I would recommend that you do your best to reach 110,000 points by December 31, 2013. The earlier in the year that you earn the pass, the more value you’ll get out of it since it is valid from the day you receive it through the entire following year, so if you earned it right now, it would be good from now through the end of 2014. I’ve written extensively about the Companion Pass because I think its an incredible value and one of the most lucrative benefits of any of the airline loyalty programs. If you are interested in going towards it, here are some tips to help get you there.

Update: As of November 5, 2013 50,000 point Southwest offers are back until further notice.

Get in on the 50,000-point offers: If you already got one of the 50,000-point Southwest cards this year, you can still apply for the other Southwest credit cards from Chase, which are currently offering 50,000-point sign-up bonuses when you spend $2,000 in 3 months. You can choose between the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Personal or Business cards or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Personal or Business cards. Chase allows you to get the sign-up bonus on each of their individual products, but they set a credit limit for you as a consumer so if you’ve reached that limit you may have to do some trading of other accounts to open up the new credit line. It is possible to get approved for two Southwest cards in one day so don’t be afraid to apply for more than one. The 50,000-point offers will expire August 6, 2013 so act fast!

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Utilize hotel transfer partners: Southwest partners with several hotel programs where you can convert your hotel points to Rapid Rewards. If you are a member of Club Carlson you can convert your Gold Points into Rapid Rewards Points anytime:

  • 2,000 Gold Points = 200 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 50,000 Gold Points = 5,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 100,000 Gold Points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points

Rapid Rewards Members can redeem 5,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for 2,400 Rapid Rewards Points. Members can also redeem 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for 24,000 Rapid Rewards Points and receive a bonus of 6,000 additional Rapid Rewards Points for a total of 30,000 Rapid Rewards Points.

You can also redeem your Marriott Rewards points for Rapid Rewards Points.

  • 10,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 2,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 20,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 5,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 10,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 70,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 25,000 Rapid Rewards Points
  • 140,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 50,000 Rapid Rewards Points

You can also transfer Hyatt points at a ratio of 5,000 to 2,400 Rapid Rewards Points.

While the value of these conversions isn’t usually that great, if you have a few spare hotel points you know you’re not going to use and they can help you top up your Southwest account for the Companion Pass, this might be a good way to get some value out of them.

You can also earn Southwest points instead of hotel points when you stay at hotel partners including Best Western, Club Carlson, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, La Quinta, Marriott, MLife, SPG, and Wyndham – usually at the rate of 600 points per stay. Southwest also has several car rental agency partners such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty (again you usually earn 600 points per qualifying rental), and participated in Dining Rewards Network, so you can earn points on your everyday dining, among other partners.

We’ll be doing a couple most posts this week on how to leverage the companion pass for maximum value so stay tuned. In the meantime, for more information, see these posts:

Limited Time Chase Southwest 50,000 Point Sign Up Bonuses Until August 6

Maximizing the Southwest Companion Pass

Maximizing the 50,000 Point Chase Southwest Offers and the Companion Pass

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Seth

    Is it me or are these questions getting dumber??? DId someone really think you need to have a 110k point balance to get the companion pass?? I wonder whether your readers IQs are dropping or your choice of questions is based on what will allow you to put the most credit card links in a blog post.

  • Mike

    Also, who cares about domestic-only Greyhound-caliber airlines?

  • Steve

    MMS posted an answer on the same day to the same question from a different reader.

  • roburg

    Uh, someone with 4 kids who have grandparents across the country, that’s who! Southwest is a godsend, I fly 6 for the price of 4 and the points I use for the 4 are basically free from all the offers out there…

  • PV

    You can check Companion Pass qualifying points on by logging in under Rewards Activity Details and selecting Current Year to Date, Companion Pass Qualifying Points. (Copy and paste to Excel to do the sum.) One thing to note is that the doubled points from the promotion that Southwest ran for most of this year do not count toward Companion Pass. Most airlines have two point totals they maintain: elite and redeemable. Southwest has three: elite, redeemable, and companion pass. This is a little confusing as they make it look on the website like it is the next level above A-List Preferred tier, but it actually its own points total, separate from both elite and redeemable point totals.

  • thepointsguy

    I saw that.. I guess a lot of people are curious about it!

  • thepointsguy

    Well said

  • thepointsguy

    I like to answer questions from across the spectrum. I’ve actually had a bunch of questions related to this topic, so I figured it would be good to answer.

  • AllAmericanAmy

    Hmmm. I know for SURE people are getting ruder and ruder. Meaner and meaner. Feeling the need to insult (obviously) newer people overwhelmed by the whole points “game” (back in elementary school they called them “bullies” and said people do that to make themselves look and feel smarter or more important – just saying). As far as the credit card link slam goes… Please enlighten me someone: Why do these people READ the blogs when they KNOW the blogger puts in credit card links and DESERVEDLY (IMHO) benefits off of their own links? (Could it be JEALOUSY ?? LOL) If it bothers you Seth – STOP reading his blog (or at least keep quiet and mumble to yourself).

  • Neal

    I recently received the chase ink card. I need to spend $5k in 90 days in order to qualify for the 50k point bonus. At what point does the 90 day clock start ticking.

  • thepointsguy

    From the day you were approved – NOT when you activate the card. Call chase to get the exact date you need to hit your spend to get the bonus

  • cathy

    I have a question – if I end up earning the companion pass, can I buy tickets for someone else – i.e my mom and use the companion pass for my nephew? In other words, can I use the benefit when I am NOT flying on the trip? thanks

  • thepointsguy

    The companion pass is for a companion to fly free (taxes only) whenever you fly. So, you must be flying to use the benefit

  • mvandana

    I got ink card approved. Will the bonus points earned count towards the southwest companion pass?

  • Tim

    Oh, naughty mike here again. Go get a life, would you?

  • Tomleejones

    Forget you pill today?

  • dae

    does points that was transferred from Chase UR points count towards the companion pass?

  • thepointsguy


  • Jared

    Rude is your opinion. I think is rude to ask a question where the answer could easily be found by spending 5 minutes of your own time doing research instead of being lazy.

    As for your opinion of whether the bloggers deserve the benefit, well you need to use your brain a little bit more. The bloggers pass themselves off as providing useful information when in actuality they are just shills for the credit card companies to get cheap advertising. The credit card companies influence the content of blogs by providing benefits to TPG and others. The content here is not for your benefit, it is designed to make money for others. Get your head out of the sand.

  • Ellen

    IT says on the southwest website that points received from new credit cards the bonus points that is do not go towards companion pass…is that true in this case for the card that will get us 50,000 points?

  • Ellen

    Very confusing….I keep reading and getting different information. According to what I read on southwest it sounds like you do not get to use those bonus points towards the companion pass…however on the tpg site it does say you can use those points…sorry but I do not know if I am using the wrong terminology….

  • AllAmericanAmy

    lol. In America we call that scenario you just described a “mutually beneficial financial arrangement”. I totally get-it and am 100% for it! Got NO problems whatsoever with any aspect of it. Sounds like YOU do though. So, my question remains… Why on earth do you waste your time reading webpages that are simply “shills for credit card companies”??

  • scott

    It can take several months for points to post. Do I need to have the 110,000 qualifying points post by the end of the year? If I earn points in October but they don’t post until January, does that mean they won’t count towards the prior year’s Companion Pass?

  • dawn

    can I apply for the CC under my name, but use a friend’s RR # since he is the one who flies a lot (and I am the one who spends the $ ;D)

  • thepointsguy

    The points from the credit card are usable to book reward flights. In addition they do count towards qualifying for the companion pass. Once you pass 110,000 companion pass qualifying points in a calendar year, southwest awards you the pass (no points are deducted). It is a benefit- not something you redeem points for

  • thepointsguy

    No- the name must match the name on the RR account. However, if you want to book flights for your friend, you can do so using your RR account

  • thepointsguy

    They do count.. that wording is confusing.. but they definitely do count

  • thepointsguy


  • dawn

    thank you!

  • dawn

    can I apply for 2 personal plus cards… or do I need to apply for 1 personal plus and 1 personal premier? thank you!

  • dawn

    can I apply for 2 personal plus cards… or do I need to apply for 1 personal plus and 1 personal premier? thank you!

  • thepointsguy

    Two personal is possible but I’ve only ever done a personal and business

  • dawn

    I see… when you say “two personal is possible”, do you think these need to be different in that one is premier and one is plus… or do you think we can do two personal plus?
    Thanks in advance for your help/response!

  • smartakus

    I can’t seem to find an answer to this question anywhere: Do points which are “gifted” to you by another Southwest Rapid Rewards member count towards the Companion Pass?

  • Brent

    Can you still receive the A-List Preferred benefits such as free wi-fi and 100% bonus earning miles when you achieve Companion Pass Status?

  • Jarry

    Do points trasfered from one Rapids Reward account to another Rapid Rewards Account(shared points) count towards A Companion Pass? My GF has 10000 RR points I can have trasfered to my RR account……thanks for all the info:)

  • Jim

    Diners club (now really master card with a DC logo) is shown as a RR partner. Do you know if points converted from Diners Club Rewards (at the advertised rate of 1500 DC to 1200 RR) count toward companion pass status.

  • Ben

    Do the sign-up bonus points still count? I’m thinking of getting a personal and a business card (Chase Southwest) and hitting the spending triggers in Jan 214, just want to make sure the points are still working.

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