Which Points Count toward the Southwest Companion Pass?

Sep 27, 2015

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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 Janice sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning the Southwest Companion Pass:

“I’m close to earning the Southwest Companion Pass, and I’m counting on the 6,000-point anniversary bonus from my Rapid Rewards credit card to get me over the threshold. I’ve read on TPG that these points count toward Companion Pass status; however, I called Southwest Airlines and was told the opposite by two different reps. Please help!”

A few weeks ago, Chase launched a new offer for 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card. Sign-up bonuses like these are a great way to boost your earnings toward the highly prized Southwest Companion Pass, which requires earning 110,000 points in a calendar year. So it’s no surprise that whenever a new offer like this comes out, I get a ton of questions about which points qualify and which don’t.

Apart from the sign-up bonus, the Premier Card offers an anniversary bonus of 6,000 Rapid Rewards points to help offset the $99 annual fee. Janice wants to make sure these points will count toward the Companion Pass, and fortunately, they do. The terms and conditions on the Southwest website are pretty cut and dry (bolding is mine):

“A Member who earns 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points through Rapid Rewards Partners or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for a Companion Pass.  ‘Companion Pass Qualifying Points’ are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners.”

The anniversary bonus is categorized as points earned on one of the Southwest credit cards, so you can bank on it to help you earn the Companion Pass.

It doesn’t surprise me that Southwest Airlines phone reps get this wrong. I think the confusion comes from the Companion Pass often being referred to as a “status,” when it’s really more of a perk. For the most part, points earned on Southwest co-branded cards do not count toward elite status. The exception is the 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points you earn for each $10,000 of eligible purchases (up to 15,000 TQPs annually). Those points count toward A-List and A-List Preferred status, but don’t count toward the Companion Pass.

You can be confident that the sign-up bonus, anniversary bonus and points earned from spending will all qualify. However, pay attention to when those points show up in your account, since you have to earn the full 110,000 in a single year.

For more tips on earning and maximizing the Companion Pass, check out these posts:

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

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