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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

TPG reader Mike tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy– “Is now the best time to get the Southwest credit card if I want the Companion Pass, or should I wait until 2015?” 

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most amazing airline perks out there. It lets you bring a designated companion along on any Southwest flight so long as there’s a seat available, and you can use it whether you’re flying on an award or paid ticket. You can also change the companion up to three times each year. If you fly Southwest and want to bring a friend along, you can get massive savings.

The Companion Pass is earned when you accrue 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points within a calendar year. Once you earn it, you get the Companion Pass for the remainder of the current year, as well as the entire following year. That means if you earn the Companion Pass in January, it will be valid for almost two full years.

The Southwest Companion Pass is extremely valuable.
The Southwest Companion Pass is extremely valuable.

When deciding whether to get the Southwest credit card now or wait until 2015, consider the mininum spending requirement. You have to spend $2,000 in the first three months to get the sign-up bonus of 50,000 points that come with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card (or the business version), or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card (which also has a business version). You could get a combination of two of those cards if Chase deems you credit worthy, in which case you’d earn most of the 110,000 points needed for the Companion Pass.

The best strategy in my opinion is to get the card(s) now, but wait to meet the $2,000 spending requirement until January of 2015. The bonus points will then hit in early 2015 and and you’ll be able to earn the pass soon after, giving you Companion Pass status through the end of 2016.

If you get the cards now and don’t wait, then the bonus points will count for this year. Waiting until January will double the value for you, so in my opinion, that’s the best strategy.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.