Do Southwest Cards Qualify For A Companion Pass?

by on July 21, 2013 · 50 comments

in Southwest, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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Update: The 50,000 point Southwest offers have expired. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards here.

TPG reader Kristen asks:

I’ve had the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card for several years now and am looking to open up some new credit cards. I’ve read about the Southwest Companion Pass and think it would be great for my family since we frequently fly Southwest Airlines. Do bonus points for a new Southwest credit card count toward reaching the 110,000-point qualifying mark for the Companion Pass?”

Good news!  Although there is some text that says promotions and credit card sign up bonuses won’t count towards the Companion Pass qualification, that is absolutely not true and I know hundreds of TPG readers have gotten the pass with sign up offer points.

Chase has been offering 50,000 points on the Southwest Visa personal and business products for a couple weeks now but the offers will end August 6, 2013. To get the 50,000 points you need to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account and there is a $99 fee on the Premier card and $69 fee on the Plus card. The Premier comes with 6,000 points every anniversary (~$108 in Wanna Get Away Fares) and the Plus gets 3,000 ($54).

I think the best route for you to take is to open up a personal card if you are eligible to do so. The key here is that you cannot get the same card that you already have. If you’ve had the personal Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card for years, you can not apply for that card and get the bonus again but you can get the bonuses the for personal Southwest Premier card as well as the business versions of the Southwest Plus and Premier 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.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.

The companion pass is valid for the remainder of the year plus the following year.

The Companion Pass is incredible because once you hit the 110,000 points (or fly 100 one-way flights within a calendar year) you can designate a companion that flies for free (just pay 9/11 taxes) on any flight that you are on – even if you use points for your ticket. This benefit can save you serious amount of money and the best part is that there is no award “availability” on Southwest – if there’s a ticket for sale in the same ticket fare that you purchase/used points for, then your companion can fly as well for free.

Transferring to Southwest can be a great deal, especially if you take advantage of their Wanna Get Away offers.

By getting two credit cards, you could earn up to $3,600 worth of travel.

Once you hit the spend requirement of $2,000 in 3 months on each card, you’ll receive the points and automatically earn the Companion Pass. In general if you get the Companion Pass now you’re not technically maximizing it, but you’ll still have it for a year and a half which can save you a ton of money. One sign-up bonus alone is worth about $900 in Wanna Get Away fares, pair that  with the Companion Pass and you’re talking about $1,800 worth of travel for one measly credit card sign ups – a pretty good deal in my book.

For more details on why the Southwest Rapid Rewards program has so many benefits, check this recent Top 10 post. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or tweet me @thepointsguy!

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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  • dealseaker

    Two questions: 1. Can I earn 100,000 miles with 2 cards and then add Chase’s Ultimate reward points (all-purpose miles) to transfer 10K to SW and get my 110 K to get companion pass?
    2. Once I get the Companion Pass, can I use these 110K miles or I have to have that balance in the acct?

  • Brmess

    Transfer points do not count towards the

  • everintransit

    in order:

    1) no, UR points don’t count. you can get a Marriott card, though.

    2) yes, you can use the points and get double value for your points.

    also, TPG put a weird qualifier on availability for when you can use it. there is no such thing. you can decide to add the companion up to an hour before your flight. there need not be any ticket availability at all, let alone same fare class. SW will actually bump somebody else off the flight to accommodate your companion.

  • Alexandria Melissa

    Just a data point for reference: I did an AOR this past Wednesday. I applied for a Citi AAdvantage Personal Platinum (immediately approved), Barclays US Airways (approved – my second time getting this card), and Chase AirTran Personal (immediately approved) and Chase AirTran Business (pending). I called and they said I had too much credit with Chase, and that I had just been approved for the AirTran personal card. I also have a Chase Ink, Sapphire preferred, Southwest, and United cards. I offered to close my Chase United or Chase Southwest cards or move around other credit limits, but they said they still couldn’t approve me for the AirTran business card under any circumstance. Tried calling back twice now and they have been firm. My previous AOR had been in mid-March (applied and approved for 3 cards – Citi AA Business, and the personal and business Club Carlson cards). Anyway, just wanted to offer my experience.

  • Lively

    I read of an instance on FT where someone had the same experience as you….except they applied for the United card (and they were approved for other cards from different banks on the same day).

  • penny

    My question is: If I have both cards approved and the minimum spending is $3,000 in first 3 months to receive the bonuses, that would be $6,000 to achieve the 100,000 points. Would I then have to spend another $10,000 to get the companion card? or does the $6000 count leaving an additional $4000 to be spent to get the companion card status?

  • phone home

    This is a very neat summary of the SW deals. Thank you TPG!

    I applied for the SW Plus card on 7/10 and got approved after moving some credit around. I absolutely cannot apply for a business card (it’s complicated), so that means my only shot at the Companion Pass is through the Premier card (which I’ve never had before).

    First, does Chase have any rules about applying for multiple cards in a short period? Could I still get approved for the SW Premier before 8/6? If not, do you think the bonus will go back all the way down to 25k?

  • penny

    Was just looking at the special and see the transfer point, I also had that question, can you reach that qualification by transferring points? Looking at what I just read it implies you can, but these things can be a bit perplexing :)

  • fotobrad

    Since I now have the companion pass through 2013, I had hoped to apply for the cards in my wife’s name around Jan. 1. Since this promo ends in August do you have any suggestions? Any likelihood of a repeat of the offer?

  • Talat

    I was approved for the personal plus card on January 2013. Do you think I could get the bonus for personal premier card, now? I cannot apply for the business card. From you discussion I wasn’t sure, whether I need to apply for both the personal cards on the same day.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes you can- it doesn’t have to be in the same day- just 110,000 companion pass qualifying points accrued in a calendar year

  • fotobrad

    Since I now have the companion pass through 2013, I had hoped to apply
    for the cards in my wife’s name around Jan. 1. Since this promo ends in
    August do you have any suggestions? Any likelihood of a repeat of the

  • Dexter

    You also get points for the minimum spending. So yes, if you spent $6k to receive the 2 bonuses of 100k, you only need $4k or 4000 points to get the 110k points for the companion pass.

  • Dexter

    I got approved for 2 personal SW credit cards at the same day. This is better because you only get one hard credit pull if done at the same time.

    You can also facilitate further your companion pass by adjusting your credit card statement date on the month you achieve the 110,000 points because the points won’t be posted until your statement date. On the day I got the 110,000 points, I adjusted my statement date to a few days after, so I received the companion pass status about 2 weeks earlier than expected.

  • Martin

    This is crazy. You spend $10,000 to get reach the 110,000 threshold mark. Is it really worth all this trouble when you otherwise would not force yourself to spend $10,000?

  • Charles Clarke

    The $6K counts, leaving $4K to be earned.

  • Andrew

    I bought and transferred 18,000 choice points to southwest. 18,000
    choice points becomes 5400 SW qualifying points. So, I had 104,000 from
    the spending and sign up bonus, then 109,400 with the choice transfer.
    Then, I bought flowers for my wife for $50 and received a bonus 1000
    points through a promo for Southwest.

    I spent an extra $250 that I
    normally wouldn’t spend and I received the companion pass for it. I’ve
    flown 5 times since then and have saved at least $1000 with it so far.
    That’s not even mentioning the value of the 110,000 SW points I can use.

  • Carl Ackermann

    I have looked for the business southwest card links as well as M/C virsion as I have both personal cards already. I cannot locate them. can you please provide a link?

  • Nick

    So if I am get a companion pass this year, my companion flies essentially free for this year and next as long as I buy my ticket or use points? Even if my points drops under 110,000 after getting the pass? Is there a limit to the number of times I can use the pass?

  • Andrew

    Yes, buy ticket or use points, your companion flies free.

    Yes, even if your points drop under 110,000, you’ve already earned the companion pass once you reach that threshold. It won’t go away until expired.

    There is not a limit to how many times you can use it, but there is a limit to how many times you can change who the companion is. You can only change who your companion is 3 times throughout the life of the pass. Some have reported that it’s 3 times each year, but I wouldn’t risk locking someone in you might never fly with again.

  • Jessica F

    If I add a companion who has his own companion pass, can he also add a companion on any flight I book?

  • Degelbeck
  • Min Mini

    Hello I have applied personal card in May 2013 and got 50,000 points and spent another $10000. Recently I booked few three tickets using points and plan to use all tickets by August.

    If I apply for second card (business card) and get , would I be eligible for companion pass? Does SW look into the points eared during calendar year? Any response is appreciated

  • JF

    I thought transfer points do not count? I don’t think I could pull off the 10k spend but I could pull off 6k spend plus transfer strategy. Just need some confirmation this works.

  • thepointsguy

    Hotel transfers do.. Chase transfers do not

  • thepointsguy

    Hotel transfers count.. Chase transfers do not

  • binny

    My wife applied for plus and premiere personal cards. Premiere approved instantly, dreaded “we need to think it over” screen for the plus. A couple days after receiving premiere, plus came. Didn’t call or anything – decided it would be rejected and cut our losses, it just showed up unexpected. Points posted for premiere, waiting for plus.

  • binny


  • Mr. Cool

    companion pass works with airtran international flights? anyone know or actually try this? thanks

  • binny

    only AirTran flights to Puerto Rico (which are booked thru southwest) can be used w/companion pass so far. In 2014 there may be more AirTran destinations available to be booked thru SouthWest so I’ve heard.

  • Mr. Cool

    not ALL airtran destinations are bookable through southwest?? weird. would i need to transfer points from SW to AT in order to book AT & even then NO international? ..even more weird

  • Mark

    I have several upcoming Southwest flights that I’ve already booked using both cash for some reservations and SW points for others. If I am able to qualify for the companion pass before the date of the trip, can I add my companion without having to rebook the ticket at a higher price?

  • jeffcwheeler

    Great to know that hotel transfers count. Choice Privileges points could end up being a life saver if I end up having a small gap to close.

    Question, do transferring of RR points from another RR account (or being awarded with RR Partnership points) count toward the Companion Pass? Fine print says transferred points don’t count-however, I thought I’d try to confirm this here. Thanks!

  • dawn

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

  • Pingback: Southwest 50,000 Point Offer Is Back- But Why You Should Wait Until October to Apply | The Points Guy()

  • Michael Bianco

    I already have the personal & premium southwest cards. Is there any way to cancel and reapply for the cards to get the 50,000 bonus again?

  • bennytma

    Brian, can you confirm that its possible to sign up for personal and business SWA Chase credit cards before the 50K offers expire in October, get approved, and then wait three months until Jan 1 to activate the cards? Will Chase really let me wait that long and not cancel the accounts? Thanks.

  • Susie

    My husband has the personal card and I have the premium. We just used the point yo fly to Florida. Is it possible to cancel these cards, get new ones and receive the points all over? We are planning a trip in February and would love fly. What are your thoughts?

  • Justin

    My recent experience is proof this still works. I just received Companion Pass membership despite only having around 50,000 qualifying points. I picked up my Rapid Rewards card last June, however, and I’m well over the 110,000 points needed now. I received the membership once I hit that milestone with my credit card and base points combined.

  • Kyle

    did points ever post for plus?

  • Michelle

    Hi Is the 50,000 miles still available? I want to open up a card. I am new to this mile thing. Thanks

  • Joe P

    I just spent 90 minutes in the phone with Chase (on Jan 19, 2014), finally speaking with a senior supervisor, who insisted that though I may qualify for both personal cards, even if I applied for both in one day, I would only qualify for the 50k points bonus on one of the two cards. I asked if she was absolutely certain, and she said she was in fact certain, and that many people have been let down by this in the past. She cited restrictions put in place by SWA. Please advise if you can – thank you.

  • Liz

    I have had the Premier & Plus Personal cards, but they have been cancelled for over 6 months. When can I apply again and will I be able to qualify to earn points again? If not and this sounds silly, but can you apply for the business card without owning a business?

  • Nancy

    When does the 50,000 miles expire.

  • Angela

    I know this is an old thread but hopefully someone will have an answer for me. Someone sent me a referral to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card, which is valid until the end of September and has the 50,000 bonus Rapid Rewards. My question is this – I wanted to try to get enough points for the companion pass, but if I am understanding this I’d have to get all 110000 points by December, as they won’t carry over. Is that correct? If I managed to get 110000 point by then (which I might could do, as I could transfer 50000 UR points to Hyatt and then to Southwest, to get 30,000 RR points….. but I’m not positive I could get the rest and if I did, I would get the Companion Pass just for the year of 2015, is that correct?

    I’m wondering if I should wait until they offer it again next year, assuming they do offer it again.

  • Sandy

    Correct Angela, points do not carry over … I am in the same boat on trying to decide if I want to apply for two cards in the next few months and get all the points December or get the cards in Nov and the other in Dec and finalize the points the first or second week in January. Only issue is wanting to hurry and get the additional 6000 points to earn the CP by around March to be able to use it most of 2015 and all of 2016

  • prash
  • Lisa

    I see the links for the 50,000 points for the Premier Personal card, but am only finding 25,000 points for the Premier Business. Is there a link someone could post for the 50,000 points sign up for Premier Business?

  • Lisa

    It says you cannot get the bonus again unless it has been 24 months since you “Applied” for the card the first time. so you can keep the card you have for 23 months, then close, and reapply. Have you tried the Plus and Premier Business cards?

  • caroline

    want to know same thing

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