How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Airlines is known for its generous Companion Pass program, which allows you to bring a designated friend or family member on any Southwest flight for almost free. With the current elevated 75,000-point offers on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you can quickly earn the 135,000 Companion Pass qualifying points needed to take advantage of this incredible perk.

The Southwest Companion Pass is not unique to Southwest Airlines, as many credit cards offer some form of a single-use companion fare. However, what sets the Southwest Companion Pass apart is that you can use it as many times as you want until the pass expires. This means that even if you fly every day of the year, your companion can come with you for just the cost of taxes and fees. This applies to both cash and award tickets, allowing you to redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points for yourself and bring your companion without using additional points.

The value of the Southwest Companion Pass is significant. The Points Guy values Southwest points at 1.4 cents each, but earning the Companion Pass effectively doubles the value of your points (or cash) when flying on Southwest using the pass. Additionally, the pass is not limited to flights within the lower 48 states. Southwest has expanded its routes to include Hawaii and short-haul international flights in recent years.

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass requires accruing 135,000 qualifying points or taking 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year. While this may sound daunting, it is actually quite achievable with the help of Southwest Airlines credit card bonuses. By opening one or two Southwest credit cards and timing your spending strategically, you can earn a large chunk of the required points.

Not all Rapid Rewards points count toward the 135,000-point requirement for the Companion Pass. Points earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest, points earned on Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners all count. However, transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards, purchased points, flight bonus points, and points transferred from hotel and car loyalty programs do not count.

To maximize your chances of earning the Companion Pass, it is recommended to open a new Southwest credit card in November or December and begin spending on the card after your December statement closes. This ensures that any bonuses you earn will be posted to your Rapid Rewards account early in the following year and count toward next year’s qualification. By following this strategy, you can potentially earn a Companion Pass that is valid for nearly two years.

Southwest offers five different credit cards with varying sign-up bonuses, and all of them count toward earning the Companion Pass. In addition, Southwest cardholders receive an annual boost of 10,000 points toward Companion Pass qualification. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card all currently offer an elevated welcome bonus of 75,000 points after meeting the spending requirements.

If you have a business, you can also consider applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card. This card offers 80,000 Rapid Rewards points as a sign-up bonus, and when combined with earnings from a personal Southwest card, it can help you qualify for a Companion Pass without any additional activity.

It is important to note that Chase has restrictions on Southwest credit cards related to sign-up bonuses. Make sure to review the terms and conditions before applying for multiple cards.

In conclusion, earning the Southwest Companion Pass is an excellent way to bring a designated friend or family member on any Southwest flight for (almost) free. By strategically utilizing Southwest credit card bonuses and timing your spending, you can quickly accrue the qualifying points needed to earn the pass. With over a year of nearly free buy one, get one Southwest flights, the Companion Pass is a highly coveted perk for frequent Southwest flyers.

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