Get Started on a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass In The New Year

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. That’s a majority of the way towards a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. [Offer expired]

A companion pass is arguably the best deal in all of travel, it allows you to bring a companion along on your Southwest Airlines travels for just the cost of taxes – whether you buy your own ticket with cash or with points.

The requirement for a companion pass is 125,000 eligible points earned in a calendar year. Now is the best time to earn one – because if you earn it at the start of 2020 it’ll last nearly two full years.

And any of these credit cards get you much of the way there.

  1. It’s most of the way to a companion pass 125,000 points in a calendar year earns a companion pass which means bringing someone along with you, whether you’re spending money or points when you travel, for just taxes. The initial bonus plus the points earned on the card from spending count towards that total. When you earn a companion pass — and this offer gets you most of the way there — it’s valid for the rest of the calendar year and the entire next calendar year.

  2. 80,000 points are worth ~ $1200 in travel. Meet the spend on one of these personal cards to earn the bonus and you’ll have at least 80,000 points. In cash terms I value Southwest points at 1.3 cents apiece though they buy about 1.5 cents apiece in travel. 80,000 points should get you around $1200 in Southwest Airlines travel.

  3. With a companion pass, that gets you ~ $2400 in travel. A companion pass is valid on award travel, which means in addition to spending points at ~ 1.5 cents apiece towards your own travel you can redeem and have your designated companion join you for no additional points (just the taxes). That means once you earn a companion pass you’re able to get nearly 3 cents per point in value from those 80,000 points or nearly $2400 in travel from the initial bonus alone.

  4. Getting the card now lets the initial bonus post early in 2020. Having the bonus post quickly means a head start on earning the companion pass this year, so that it lasts for the rest of the year once earned and through the end of 2021.

You’ll still need to earn additional points – from flying, from spending on the card, from hotel stays booked through Southwest’s travel portal for instance. Or wait a month and apply for a Southwest personal card and the initial bonus offer on that card should do the trick.

Now is the perfect time to get this card. You can earn the initial bonus at the start of 2020 – at just the right time to maximize the length of time a companion pass will be valid.

Getting approved for the card, of course, likely requires that you haven’t signed up for 5 or more new cards in the last 24 months. One piece of good news though is that getting a small business card from Chase like the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card doesn’t count towards or increase the total number of cards in your 5/24 numerator.

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. Will Chase allow someone to get a personal SW card if they hold a Business version? Any recent reports of success?

  2. @Gary, please write an article (or point to a previous article) that explains how the average Joe that does not have their own business, is able to apply for a business credit card. Be honest and upfront with how one would go about this if they do not have a business.


  3. now all we need is a 50K personal card offer. i heard they offer one onboard but i don’t have any flights scheduled soon. any idea how to get it outside of taking a flight?

  4. @josh: Ask a friend who is flying to click the Learn More button on the in-flight offer and have it emailed to you. The 50k in-flight offer is not mentioned on blogs because it does not earn them a commission. I suspect that the extra 10k points you get costs the issuer about the same as the commission would have.

  5. “…though I do not know how long they will last. ”

    “Offer ends 2/10/2020.” – Southwest Airlines

  6. If I apply for the small business card then later for the personal card will they both count towards the companion pass. Will the business card be in my name also in relation to the SW companion pass?

  7. Can you please clarify. So, if I say meet the minimum spend in April 2020 and get the companion pass. Wouldn’t it just be good through the end of the year 2020 or am I missing something?

  8. Is it possible to get both Southwest Business cards and get the companion pass without getting a personal Southwest card?

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