Now is the time to investigate the Southwest Companion Pass as you want to be able to fully maximize as much of the two calendar years as possible, which is the maximum amount of time you could have a companion pass before having to earn it again. You’ll need all 110k qualifying Rapid Rewards points to post in 2019 earn the Companion Pass for all of 2019 and 2020.
Southwest is currently offering up to 60,000 point sign up bonuses on its three personal credit and its business credit card.
Get one personal card and the business card for a boatload of points and a Southwest Companion Pass good until the end of 2020.
You can leverage the offers for ~$3,300 in free flights in 2019 and 2020.
You can get both a personal and business card at once, and after meeting their minimum spending requirements, you will have at least 104k Rapid Rewards post to your account. That’s assuming you spend $3,000 on the business card within the first three months to earn its 60k bonus, and $1,000 on one of the consumer cards (also within the first three months) to hit one of their 40k bonus tiers. You’ll need another 6k points to reach 110k, which you could get by spending another ~$6,000 on either card (assuming it’s unbonused spend), flying Southwest, or various other options. Spending on your credit card and/or on Southwest flights is likely the fastest way of accruing qualifying Rapid Rewards.
Southwest has a nearly fixed-value program in which you can get any Wanna Get Away? (the cheapest) fare for roughly 1.5 cents a piece. That means 110,000 points are worth $1,650 in free flights.
By earning 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards from credit cards in a single calendar year, you get the Southwest Companion Pass until the end of the next calendar year.
If you have the Southwest Companion pass, you can designate a companion who flies for just the taxes on every Southwest flight you fly. That’s $5.60 each way within the United States and a bit more on Southwest’s international routes. That’s every Southwest flight–including paid tickets and awards–for almost all of 2019 and 2020.
Therefore free travel from the 110k Rapid Rewards and Companion Pass are worth around $3,300 (2 x $1,650).
- What is a Southwest Companion Pass?
- How can you get one from two credit cards?
- How can you time this to make your companion pass last 18 months?
There are two primary ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass: fly 100 paid segments or open two credit cards.
This post will be about the easier and cheaper of the two: opening two credit cards.
Qualifying points CAN NOT be earned by transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards or from hotel points transfers.
There are four Southwest credit cards.
|Southwest Credit Cards||Sign-up Bonus||Anniversary Bonus||Category Bonus||Annual Fee|
|Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card||40,000 points for spending $1,000 within three months; an additional 20,000 points for spending $12,000 total card within 12 months||3,000 points||2x on Southwest, hotel, & car rental partner purchases||$69|
|Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||40,000 points for spending $1,000 in three months; an additional 20,000 points for spending $12,000 total within 12 months||6,000 points||2x on Southwest, hotel, & car rental partner purchases||$99|
|Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card||40,000 points for spending $1,000 in three months; an additional 20,000 points for spending $12,000 total within 12 months||7,500 points||2x on Southwest, hotel, & car rental partner purchases||$149|
|Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card ||60,000 points for spending $3,000 in three months||6,000 points||2x on Southwest, hotel, & car rental partner purchases||$99|
None of the cards charge foreign transaction fees. The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card also comes with 7,500 bonus points upon each Cardmember anniversary, 4 upgraded boardings a year, $75 in Southwest travel credit each year, and 20% credit towards inflight purchases made with the card.
All cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, which is that once you’ve opened five (with the exception of most business cards) credit cards in the last 24 months, Chase will deny you for the majority of their lucrative rewards cards.
Can You Get Two Southwest Cards at Once?
You can and should get one consumer card and the business card if you want to get the Southwest Companion Pass. I’ve seen reports of people getting one personal and one business Southwest card on the same day. Unfortunately, you cannot have two consumer Southwest credit cards at the same time, so if you are not eligible to open a business card, you will need to get creative to get your balance up to 110k.
The following excerpt is from Issuing Banks Rules for Approvals and New Bonuses, an important post to bookmark that covers all big issuing banks, so you don’t waste a hard credit pull or new card just to be rejected or not earn a sign up bonus:
“If you have the Personal Plus, Premier Plus, or the Priority Card open, you are not eligible for another Southwest consumer card. You are also ineligible for the bonus on a Southwest consumer card if you have earned a bonus on another consumer card in the last 24 months. The Business Southwest card is a separate product in regards to this rule. In other words, you can have both a consumer Southwest card and a business Southwest card open at the same time.”
So if you’re opening a Southwest consumer card and have earned the bonus on one recently, make sure you follow that 24 month rule.
Can I get a repeat Southwest card?
The Strategy to Get 110k Southwest Rapid Rewards
Sign up for a personal card and the business card.
Spend $1,000 on the personal card card and $3,000 on the business card in the next three months. The sooner, the better*. Once your statements closes on which you’ve met the minimum spending requirement, your bonus points will post. Meeting both spending requirements means you’ll get at least 104,000 Southwest points (60,000 bonus points + 40,000 bonus points + 4,000 for spending at 1 point per dollar).
*just make sure your 110k points don’t post to your account in 2018 or you will cut your Companion Pass time in half, earning it for 2018 and 2019 instead of 2019 and 2020! The linked post discusses timing the Companion Pass for 2018 /2019, but the same logic applies for 2019/2020.
For the remaining necessary 6,000 points to reach 110,000, you could either spend your way there on either card, or earn qualifying points a number of other ways:
- fly paid Southwest flights
- refer friends for the Southwest Cards (at the moment the bonus offered through referrals isn’t as good as the public bonus, so I wouldn’t recommend this outlet for now… but keep an eye on your offers as they periodically change)
- book Hotels Through Rocketmiles
- credit car rentals to Rapid Rewards (like you would credit airline miles earned from a flight, you can often choose a loyalty program to credit travel rewards to when renting a car)
- order flowers on 1800flowers.com
- the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
- the Rapid Rewards Dining Program
Just make sure you earn the rest of these points in 2019 to count towards your 2019/2020 Companion Pass. Any points earned in 2018 will not roll over.
How to Use the Companion Pass
Once you earn your Companion Pass, using it is a snap.
Now every flight you fly, your companion flies for just the taxes on the flight, which are $5.60 one way domestically and a little more internationally.
During the rest of 2019 and all of 2020, you can use your points to book yourself a flight for just the taxes and your Companion Pass to book your companion onto the same flight for just the taxes.
And if you can’t decide who to make your companion, you can actually designate up to seven people during the life of your Companion Pass because you can make three changes per calendar year:
- Original companion
- Change #1 in first year
- Change #2 in first year
- Change #3 in first year
- Change #1 in second year
- Change #2 in second year
- Change #3 in second year
That could be seven different people or it could be two people that you alternate or any number in between. I could see getting a lot of value by having one main companion, but you certainly don’t have to have the same companion the entire life of your pass.
- Original companion
- Friend #1
- Original companion
- Friend #2
- Original companion
- Friend #3
- Original companion
With a few easy steps, you can get $3,600 worth of travel on Southwest:
- Open two of the Southwest cards: one personal card and the business card. Here are your options:
- Meet the minimum spending requirement of $1,000 and $3,000 within three months on each card. That gives you at least 104,000 Rapid Rewards points. Supplement your balance a number of other ways, like (but not limited to) funneling more spend through your Southwest credit card, purchasing a cash Southwest ticket, or shopping through the Rapid Rewards Portal. Earn all points as early in January as possible to maximize the length of your Companion Pass for 2019 and 2020.
- Designate a companion (or seven) to fly just for the taxes on Southwest every time you fly on Southwest, whether you’re flying a paid ticket or an award.
Why not have both parents get the Companion Pass and each name a child as a companion? That would be a 4-for-2 travel deal for up to two years.