It’s back! Earn a Companion Pass with the new sign-up bonus on these Southwest cards

Feb 9, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the most current offers. 

One of the most valuable airline benefits out there is the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows benefit holders to bring along a companion for (almost) free on Southwest flights — you’ll just pay taxes and fees starting at $5.60 one-way.

You can earn a Companion Pass by earning qualifying Rapid Rewards Points or flying a certain number of qualifying flights. Starting today, you could also score a Companion Pass through the sign-up bonus across Southwest’s three cobranded consumer credit cards: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

Starting Feb. 9, 2021, new cardholders can earn a Companion Pass that’s valid through Feb. 28, 2022 — plus 30,000 points — after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

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(Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Typically, you can earn a Companion Pass by flying 100 one-way flights or earning 125,000 qualifying points in one calendar year (though Rapid Rewards members active as of Dec. 31, 2020, received 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (CPQPs) and 25 qualifying one-way flights deposited in their accounts in January that lowered your Companion Pass requirements to 100,000 points or 75 qualifying one-way flights). But this current sign-up bonus helps cardholders who may not be planning to travel or spend enough to earn a pass outright this year grab a Companion Pass that’s valid through February 2022.

All three of Southwest’s cobranded consumer cards earn 2x on Southwest flights and partner hotels and car rental bookings, but here’s a snapshot of how each card stacks up:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Best for: Beginners and infrequent travelers
  • Annual fee: $69
  • Primary perk(s): 3,000 anniversary points each year

Check out the full card review.

Related: Battle of the Airlines: Why I think Southwest Airlines is the best

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • Best for: Regular Southwest flyers
  • Annual fee: $99
  • Primary perk(s): 6,000-point anniversary bonus; and the chance to earn Tier Qualifying Points toward A-List elite status

Check out the full card review.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Best for: Southwest loyalists who fly the carrier regularly
  • Annual fee: $149 (but a $75 annual Southwest credit drops it to $74)
  • Primary perk(s): 7,500-point anniversary bonus; four upgraded boardings a year; and 20% inflight discount on inflight drinks and Wi-Fi; and no foreign transaction fees

Check out the full card review.

Who should take advantage of this offer?

You may be wondering whether it’s worth it to take advantage of this offer or wait for something that offers more Rapid Rewards points instead of a Companion Pass. The Companion Pass benefit as part of the sign-up bonus is a spectacular offer for those who will use it to its full potential, but it’s not necessarily the best offer for everyone. Here is who will likely get the most out of this current sign-up bonus:

Family travelers

If you frequently travel with a partner and/or children, you know how expensive tickets for an entire family can get. The Companion Pass can help you save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on flight tickets for your designated companion since all they will have to pay is taxes and fees, starting at $5.60 per flight.

Those who may not qualify for a Companion Pass otherwise

Earning a Companion Pass outright the old-fashioned way means your pass will be good for the rest of 2021 and the entire 2022 year, which means earning it the traditional way may be more valuable long-term if you are someone who flies frequently enough with Southwest to rack up enough points easily without this offer. However, if you’re not sure you’ll be able to earn a Companion Pass outright this year, this offer is a great, simple option.

Related: Who should (and who shouldn’t) get the Southwest Companion Pass?

Bottom line

Southwest continues to be a great airline to show loyalty for domestic itineraries. It continues to lead the pack in terms of booking flexibility with no change or cancellation fees on any ticket (a policy Southwest is known for outside of just the pandemic).

The number of Southwest Rapid Rewards points required to book a flight is directly tied to the flight’s current fare, and you often get good deals if you know when and where to look for redemptions. And because of Southwest’s policy against any cancellation or change fees on its flights, you can actually reprice a Southwest flight if you book a trip and then find the same itinerary at a lower price before departure.

While Southwest operates primarily domestic routes in the continental U.S., those looking for a tropical getaway can use points to book flights to a number of Latin American, Caribbean and Hawaiian destinations as well (barring any travel restrictions and quarantine requirements).

If you’ve been considering applying for a Southwest credit card and think a Companion Pass would make a great addition to your wallet in 2021, now is a great time to jump on board.

Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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15.99%-22.99% Variable
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Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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