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The Best Credit Card Offer for Families ... Ever.

Jan. 10, 2019
7 min read
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Official application links: Earn the Companion Pass and enjoy 2-for-1 travel for the rest of 2019 with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

The words "best" and "worst" probably get overused a touch on the internet in 2019, but best is the most apt description for a brand-new credit card offer that just launched today. The best credit card offer for families (on the best US airline for families) has officially arrived.

Get Approved for One Card, Get a Southwest Companion Pass

For a very limited-time (only until Feb. 11), your family can become the proud owners of a special Southwest Companion Pass just by getting one credit card sign-up bonus. This isn't a stacking, hacking, gimmicky, must combine multiple offers and know the secret handshake type of deal. It is a legitimate one and done offer. Yes, my mind is blown, too.

Jumping to the details -- all three Southwest cobranded personal Chase credit cards have the same Companion Pass offer.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Spend $4,000 on the new card in the first three months and get 30,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points and a Southwest Companion Pass valid until Dec. 31, 2019.

In case you aren't familiar, a Southwest Companion Pass allows you to designate a companion who can fly with you on all of your Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes. It doesn't matter if you are flying Southwest on points or dollars, you can still add a companion and pay as little as $5.60 in taxes to bring them with you on your Southwest flight! You could designate your kid, your spouse, your partner, your parent, your friend, whoever. Normally you must earn 110,000 Companion Pass-eligible Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year to get the pass, but that requirement is waived with this special offer.

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Create a Family Travel BOGO

If you have a family of four, both parents could get this limited-time offer by each getting approved for their own Southwest personal credit card (not as an authorized user) and each designate a kid as their companion. Then all four family members could fly all year on Southwest for the price of two. Think of it as your own yearlong travel BOGO. If you have a child under 2 years old who can fly for free already as a lap infant, then you wouldn't need to designate them as your companion. In that case, theoretically fly three people for the price of one. (Companion Passholder + their companion + lap infant). You can change your companion up to three times in the year. The best deal in family travel indeed.


The 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points you get with the bonus are worth about $450 in Wanna Get Away fares, so you can use those points to book the companion passholder's ticket. If you run out of those points, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. That will allow you to keep the award travel gravy train rolling without hitting your wallet.

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(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Who Is Eligible for These Southwest Credit Cards?

Now the nitty gritty -- the Southwest credit cards are subject to Chase's infamous 5/24 rule, which basically means you won't get approved if you have opened five or more card accounts across all banks in the last 24 months. They determine this number based on your credit report, so there are some types of accounts that won't display or be counted (such as some small business cards).

Beyond 5/24 concerns, the terms indicate that:

“The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapids Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.”

In practical terms, this means you cannot get approved for a new Southwest personal credit card if you currently hold one and/or received a new card member bonus for one in the last two years. This only refers to primary account holders, so if you were just an authorized user on someone’s Southwest card that should not hurt your chances of getting your own card. Also note that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card is viewed differently than the personal cards and having it now or in the past does not disqualify you from getting a personal Southwest credit card.

Aloha to Hawaii and Beyond

Southwest is behind its original schedule to operate flights to Hawaii, but they are getting close. Assuming the government shutdown doesn't drag on forever and ETOPS approval is secured from the FAA to operate flights to Hawaii, odds are very, very high that Southwest will fly to Hawaii for a good part of 2019 while this Companion Pass is valid. Once that happens, this pathway to the Companion Pass may be your family's best opportunity to get to Hawaii for much less than anticipated.

Bali Hai from Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii (Image by Getty Images)

Southwest also operates flights to other five-star destinations outside of the United States, such as Nassau, Bahamas; Liberia, Costa Rica; Aruba; Grand Cayman; Turks and Caicos and more. And yes, your Southwest Companion Pass will work to all of Southwest's destinations, not just those in the Lower 48.

Little Pipe Cay in the Bahamas (Photo courtesy Knight Frank)

Bottom Line

No credit card offer is for everyone. If Southwest doesn't operate where you live or travel, this may be a pass for you. However, with its "Bags Fly Free" policies, laid-back attitude, family boarding, free award cancellation/repricing and pretty cool route map, Southwest truly is a top-notch choice for many families. Jumping on this limited-time offer to lock up a Companion Pass for the rest of 2019 and get 30,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points with just one card approval is the best credit card deal for families I have seen ... ever.

Want to learn more about Southwest, its routes and the Companion Pass? Here are some resources:

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.