How to Earn a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Quickly Without Getting a Credit Card (or Flying)

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The best deal in travel has to be the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. Earn 110,000 eligible points in a year in the Rapid Rewards program and you can take a designated companion with you on your travels through the end of the next year for just the cost of taxes — whether you buy your own ticket or redeem points.

And the easiest, fastest way to earn a companion ticket is with a Southwest Airlines credit card. Right now the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is offering 80,000 Rapid Rewards points with $5000 spend within 3 months. Spend on a Southwest card counts towards the Companion Pass as well.

However there’s another easy way to earn Rapid Rewards points quickly, where the points count towards a Companion Pass. While transferring hotel points into Rapid Rewards no longer counts towards Companion Pass, booking travel through the Southwest Airlines website.

Hotel bookings are provided through a white label version of Rocketmiles, which is now a (Priceline) company.

Some points awards are modest, others are quite generous, which presumably depends on the booking tool’s margins.

Since Southwest Airlines points buy about 1.5 cents apieceworth of flights, tha can be a really strong rebate on your hotel bookings.

This is most useful when you are booking non-chain hotels, or hotels outside of your usual chain, since you won’t earn credit cards elite status, receive elite status benefits, or earn points in a hotel’s loyalty program for the stay.

The points or miles earned via a booking site like Rocketmiles can be worthwhile in those cases anyway. Add in the leverage of a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass and it can even make sense to bail on the ‘book direct’ strategy since a Companion Pass can effectively double the value of your points.

There’s no question that an 80,000 point initial bonus offer from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card is the easiest and fastest way to earn a Companion Pass (in addition to being really big on its own towards reward travel). However there are other fast ways to earn a Companion Pass even without a Southwest Airlines co-brand credit card.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Word of caution: it’s not always clear how many of the points listed are considered “bonus points”, which apparently don’t count toward CP when earned via RocketMiles (or other partners like SouthWestHotels).

  2. What if one already applied for Southwest Rapid Rewards®Premier Business Credit Card in the past 24 months (and cancelled). Will it still qualify for 80K points for this Performance Business card?

  3. I talked to and confirmed with Rocketmiles that all points earned on Southwest Hotels and base points earned count towards CP qualification. The only points that don’t are promotional ones like when you get a one-time bonus for being a new customer.

  4. Hi Gary, Long time reader, first time commenter. I am considering applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If I accumulate 110 K points, can I transfer them to Southwest in say February 2020 and get a companion pass good for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021? Or do I need accumulate the points in 2020 on the Chase card…kind of confused.
    Pat in Boise

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