Now Is The Perfect Time To Get Started on a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for 2020

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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 most of the way towards a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

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 rises from 110,000 points from qualifying sources up to 125,000 points next year, but now is the best time to prepare to earn one – because if you earn it at the start of 2020 it’ll last nearly two full years.

What’s more, a single credit card gets you most of the way there – which is historically the best you’ve been able to do. The total points required to earn one is rising 15,000 points, but no other Southwest card has ever publicly offered more than 60,000 points and this card is offering 70,000 points which means:

  1. It’s almost all the way to a companion pass 125,000 points in a calendar year (starting in 2020) 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. 70,000 points are worth ~ $1050 in travel. In cash terms I value Southwest points at 1.3 cents apiece though they buy about 1.5 cents apiece in travel. A 70,000 point offer should get you around $1050 in Southwest Airlines travel.

  3. With a companion pass, that gets you ~ $2100 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 70,000 points or nearly $2100 in travel from the initial bonus alone.

  4. Getting the card now lets the initial bonus post in January or February. You don’t have to meet the spend requirement by the end of the calendar year, by having the bonus post in 2020 means it counts towards a pass you’ll earn in 2020 (so valid for the rest of 2020) and that lasts 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 (or Citi or American Express) doesn’t count towards or increase the total number of cards in your 5/24 numerator.

Meanwhile the card also comes with 4 upgraded (A1-15) boardings per year; statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years; Southwest Airlines inflight wifi credits; and 9000 Southwest anniversary points with card renewal each year.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business 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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  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.


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