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In life, timing is everything. And if you’ve been hoping to acquire a Southwest Companion Pass — one of the most popular travel benefits around — there’s no better time than right now. That’s because the sign-up bonuses on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card are currently 50,000 points each after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Meanwhile, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card earns 60,000 bonus points with $3,000 in spend in the first three months.
Before we get to how these bonuses can help you earn a Companion Pass for two years, let’s talk about what a Companion Pass is in the first place. The Southwest Companion Pass lets you bring a friend or family member with you on any Southwest flight essentially for free, regardless of whether you paid for your own ticket with cash or Southwest points. That means you can get a free companion ticket on a ticket you booked for free using points.
In order to get a Companion Pass, you have to accumulate 110,000 qualifying points in one calendar year. Unfortunately, not all Southwest Rapid Rewards points that you earn count as Companion Pass points, and Southwest stopped counting hotel point transfers as qualifying points last year. But points earned from the Southwest credit cards do still count toward the Companion Pass — and that includes the sign-up bonuses as well.
You generally can’t get more than one personal card and one business card in a 90-day period from Chase (and also keep in mind the bank’s 5/24 rule). But, if you sign up for both the Southwest business card and either the Southwest Premier card or the Southwest Plus card and complete the minimum spending requirement on each, you’ll get a total of 115,000 Rapid Rewards points. That’ll put you over the top for Companion Pass eligibility.
Not only will you get the Companion Pass for the rest of 2018, you’ll keep it for all of 2019 as well. Depending on how quickly you can get the cards, complete the spend and earn the 110,000 points, that’s nearly two full years of having the Companion Pass.
If you don’t have or don’t want to apply for a business credit card, you can still get the Companion Pass via Southwest’s personal credit cards. You’ll just have to spread things out a bit so you can get both the Premier card and the Plus card with at least 90 days in between each application. The 50,000 point bonuses on those two cards — plus the $2,000 spend on each — will get you to 104,000 total Rapid Rewards points, which is only 6,000 short of what you need for the Companion Pass. You can earn the remaining points either through additional spending on one of the credit cards, by flying on Southwest or through one of Southwest’s partners, such as the Southwest shopping portal.
Unless you’re lucky enough to be targeted for a Companion Pass offer like the one California residents were fortunate to get last year, this is the best remaining way to quickly get the points you need for a Companion Pass, and early in the year is the best time to do it. With Southwest launching flights to Hawaii in 2018, the Companion Pass is likely to be more valuable than ever. So, if this awesome perk sounds like a good fit for you, grab one or two of these credit card bonuses and get working on earning your Companion Pass today.
Featured image by John Gress/Getty Images.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel