August 11, 2022

A Better Way to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

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A Better Way to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

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Recently, all three Southwest personal credit cards offered immensely valuable sign-up bonuses: 30,000 Southwest points and a promotional Southwest Companion Pass valid through February 28, 2023, after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

That limited-time offer was extremely generous. After all, the Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel. It allows you to bring a friend or family member with you every single time you fly Southwest for just the cost of taxes and fees. Depending on how often you fly, this could save you many thousands of dollars.

For anyone who procrastinated too long, those offers have now disappeared — but the offers that have replaced it actually facilitate an even more valuable Companion Pass  — with potentially less effort.

The regular Southwest Companion Pass is better than the previous limited-time offers

To earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you normally need to earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year.

At first glance, that’s no small feat; after all, activities like transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, buying Southwest points, and earning “bonus” points from many Southwest partners don’t count toward this 125,000-point roadblock.

That’s why the ability to earn a Companion Pass as part of a Southwest credit card’s sign-up bonus was so attractive — it eliminated the need to earn any qualifying Southwest points.

But here’s the tasty little secret: All Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses currently count toward the 125,000 points you need to achieve the Southwest Companion Pass. Here are the current offers:

When you earn a Companion Pass by accruing 125,000 points, the pass is valid for the remaining calendar year in which you earned it, as well as the entire following calendar year.

Read more: Southwest credit card offers can help you earn the Companion Pass, one of the best deals in travel — but timing is important

In other words, if you were to earn a Companion Pass in April 2022, your Companion Pass would be valid for about 20 months (through December 31, 2023). That’s significantly more valuable than the promotional Companion Pass offered by the recently-expired Southwest personal credit card bonuses, which offered a Companion Pass expiring on February 28, 2023.

The strategy: Earn a better Companion Pass with an easier spending requirement


Regular APR


15.99%–22.99% variable APR


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Regular APR


15.99%–22.99% variable APR


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit.

First, a quick couple of rules to help you determine if you’re eligible for this technique:

  • If you’ve opened more than five cards in the past 24 months, you are not eligible for a Southwest credit card
  • You cannot hold more than one Southwest personal credit card
  • If you’ve earned any Southwest personal credit card bonus within the past 24 months, you are not eligible to earn another personal credit card bonus
  • To be eligible for a Southwest small-business card, you must have a for-profit venture — but part-time side gigs like Uber/DoorDash driving or freelancing can count as a small business

Read more: Who can qualify for a small business credit card?

If you’ve made it through that semi-complicated bulleted list, you’re a stone’s throw from earning a Southwest Companion Pass. Just follow these steps.

Step 1. Ensure you’re eligible for both a personal and small-business Southwest card

While Chase won’t let you hold more than one personal Southwest card, they will allow you to hold one personal card and one (or more) small business card(s).

Our goal here is to open the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and one personal Southwest credit card one month apart to give you the most time to meet minimum spending requirements.

Step 2. Open the Southwest Performance Business Card

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card comes with 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. After meeting minimum spending requirements, you’ll have earned 85,000 Southwest points. That’s nearly 70% of the points necessary to achieve the Companion Pass.

Step 3. Open any Southwest personal credit card one month later

All three Southwest personal credit cards offer 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. After meeting this card’s minimum spending requirements, you’ll have earned a total of 126,000 points from both credit cards. You’ll immediately qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Step 4. Meet minimum spending as soon as possible

Because you’ve staggered your credit card applications by a month, you’ll be able to achieve these card bonuses in four months without needing to spend more than $1,667 per month:

Of course, the faster you can meet your spending the better, as it means your Companion Pass will be valid for a longer period of time.

Read more: I earned 2 Southwest Companion Passes for my family this year without even traveling

By using this approach, you’ll only need to spend $1,000 more than if had you applied for a Southwest credit card during the recent limited-time bonus offering a promotional Companion Pass — and your Companion Pass will be valid for much longer!

Bottom line

The Southwest bonuses offering a promotional Companion Pass are now gone. They were wildly popular while they were here, but if you didn’t get in on them you didn’t miss much. That’s because the Companion Pass is just as easy to earn with the current Southwest credit card bonuses — if you know the right strategy.

Featured credit cards from our partners

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APR

15.99% – 22.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APR

14.99% – 23.74% Variable APR

Credit Score

Good to Excellent