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TPG reader Cara sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning the Southwest Companion Pass:
“Do I need to have 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in my account to qualify for the Companion Pass, or do they still count even if I redeem them.”
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most valuable travel rewards out there, and I often get questions like this from readers who are anxious about spoiling their chances to earn it. Fortunately, while attaining the Companion Pass does take some effort, what matters is the number of points you’ve earned, not how many are currently in your account.
To get the Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, but once you’ve earned those points, they count toward the pass whether you use them or not. Theoretically, you could completely zero out your Rapid Rewards account and still have the pass (though that would be a crying shame). Another common misconception about the Companion Pass is that you have to redeem 110,000 points to purchase it, but that’s also not the case. You get it by virtue of earning those points in the first place; how you spend them is irrelevant.
Keep in mind that not all Rapid Rewards points count toward the Companion Pass. Aside from actual flights, you can earn qualifying points from spending and bonuses on co-branded credit cards like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card, from other partner activity like shopping portals and dining programs, by transferring points from select hotel programs and more. You need 110,000 points total, but they can come from any combination of those sources.
While you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest, those points do not count toward earning the Companion Pass. The same goes for points that are purchased or transferred from another Rapid Rewards account, so don’t include those in your calculations. If you’re unsure about whether you earned qualifying points for a certain transaction, you can check your progress with the Companion Pass meter in your Rapid Rewards account online.
Check out these posts for more information about earning and maximizing the Southwest Companion Pass:
- Should I Transfer Points to Southwest for a Companion Pass?
- Earning Southwest Rapid Rewards Points Without Flying
- What Is Southwest Airlines Elite Status Worth in 2016?
- How Can I Earn Points for the Southwest Companion Pass?