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One of the easiest ways to earn extra travel rewards throughout the year is through referral bonuses. Many issuers offer bonuses for cardholders when a friend or family member signs up for the card through your referral link and is approved.

For Southwest cobranded cardholders, earning a referral bonus just got a little easier. Similar to Amex’s new and improved program, Southwest recently expanded its referral program so that cardholders can refer someone for any Southwest personal card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card, even if you don’t hold that specific card.

Each friend successfully referred will earn you 10,000 bonus points, and you can earn up to 50,000 bonus points each year through referrals. According to TPG’s valuations, an additional 50,000 points are worth $750.

You can refer a friend by logging in through Chase’s refer-a-friend page for Southwest. However, be aware that some Southwest referral offers have lower sign-up bonuses than the best publicly available offer, so check to make sure you’re directing your friend to the best offer available. It’s also important to note that rewards earned through referral bonuses are considered “miscellaneous income,” so you’ll likely receive a 1099 from Chase next tax season.

Using Referral Bonuses to Earn a Companion Pass Faster

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring someone with you every time you fly. (Photo by Summer Hull / TPG)

While the idea of earning an extra $750 worth of Southwest points might be enough to convince you to refer your friends and family for a new Southwest card, there’s another benefit to participating in the referral program.

The bonus points you earn through referrals also count toward earning a Southwest Companion Pass, one of the most sought-after benefits available to flyers. Currently, Southwest Rapid Rewards members can earn the Companion Pass benefit by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. By successfully referring the maximum of five people this year, you’ve already taken care of almost half of the required points.

If you’re planning on applying for either the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card or the new Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, you can earn the Companion Pass benefit just by hitting the minimum spending requirements for the sign-up bonus and earning the max referral bonus.

(Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)

The Premier Business offers a 60,000-point bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and the new Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card offers an 80,000-point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Add 50,000 points to either of those sign-up bonuses, and you’ll meet the 110,000-point requirement for the Companion Pass.

Bottom Line

Referring friends and family members for new cards is a win-win strategy. They’ll get a new card with the potential to earn a great sign-up bonus, and you’ll get a nice referral bonus if they’re approved. Now that Southwest is allowing cardholders to refer people for cards they don’t currently have, it’s even easier to make the most out of the referral program offered by Southwest and Chase.

Know before you go.

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New! Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card

With the Southwest Performance Business card you'll earn 9,000 bonus points each year after your cardmember anniversary. Southwest also offers one of the most lucrative airline perks - the Companion Pass.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines?® purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$199
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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