It’s Time: Get Your Southwest Companion Pass [100K Offers Expired]

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Now is the time to set the wheels in motion towards your Southwest Companion Pass.  The end of the calendar year is the ideal time to sign up for Southwest credit cards in order to earn huge numbers of qualifying points quickly.  If you earn the Companion Pass early enough in the calendar year, it will be good for almost 2 full years: the rest of the year in which it is earned and all of the next.

Update 12/9/21: Public links for the consumer card 100K offers have expired (2 days after they were expected to expire), but a couple of good offers for Southwest business cards remain.

The Southwest Companion Pass is awesome.  Sure, it’s not as awesome as the companion pass-ish thingy that Aeropan now offers (details here), but it doesn’t require a million dollars of spend.  The Southwest Companion Pass only requires earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and points earned on credit cards (including welcome bonuses) qualify.

Once you earn 125,000 qualifying points, you can add a companion for free to all of your Southwest flights for the rest of that year and all of the next year.  That’s true regardless of whether you book flights with cash or with points.  If you fly Southwest a lot with a companion, or you want to, this is obviously an incredible deal.

Strategies

Even though Chase offers three different personal Southwest cards, they’ll only let you have one at any given time.  Plus, you can’t get the welcome bonus for a personal card if you’ve earned the welcome bonus on any of the personal cards in the past 24 months.  These rules do not apply to Southwest business cards.  With business cards, it’s true that you can’t sign up if you currently have the exact same card or if you’ve earned the bonus on the same card in the past 24 months.  But, you can sign up if you have a different business card or any personal Southwest card and it doesn’t matter when you last earned bonuses on those cards.  All of that boils down to the following:

Keep in mind that you won’t be approved for a Southwest card if you are over 5/24.  If you are approved, the Southwest business cards won’t add to your 5/24 count, but the personal cards will.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months.
To determine your 5/24 status, see: Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

With that info, here are a couple of strategies for earning the Companion Pass:

Strategy One: 1 Card [Expired]

Update: This was a viable strategy until the 100K offers expired on 12/9/21 (2 days after they were supposed to end)

Through December 7th, each of the personal cards are currently offering a total of 100K points after $12K spend:

Card Offer
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $3K spend in 3 months

$69 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $3K spend in 3 months

$99 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $3K spend in 3 months

$149 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

If you sign up now, your first statement closing date will be in January 2022.  As a result, all points earned on the card will credit in 2022 and will count towards the Companion Pass in 2022.  If you quickly spend $25K on your new card, you’ll earn a total of 125,000 points and a Companion Pass that is valid for the rest of 2022 and all of 2023.

How can you spend $25K so quickly?  One option is to pay (or overpay) estimated taxes.  Another option is to pay bills with Plastiq.  Both options incur fees (~2% and 2.85%, respectively), but that can be well worth it to get the Companion Pass.

Note too that it might not be necessary to spend so much.  In 2021, Southwest gave all members 25,000 qualifying points towards the Companion Pass.  If they do the same in 2022 then you’ll only need to spend $12,000 on your new card in order to earn the full welcome bonus and the Companion Pass.

Strategy Two: 2 Cards

The current Southwest business card offers aren’t as good as the personal card offers, but if you get both (or one personal and one business), you’ll have more than enough points for the Companion Pass.  Here are the current business card offers:

Card Offer

With the offers available at the time of this writing, you would only need to complete $8K spend across the two business cards in order to earn the welcome bonuses.  And with that spend, you would end up with nearly 150,000 Southwest points.  Boom.

A downside to signing up for two cards is that it will be a bit over two years before you can sign up for either card again.  If your goal is to earn a Companion Pass every few years, this would limit your options.  On the other hand, if you have a regular companion who can alternate with you in earning the Companion Pass, you can stretch out your sign-ups to approximately once every four years.

Conclusion

This is a great time to sign up for one or more Southwest cards if you’re interested in earning a Companion Pass.  By earning the pass early in 2022, it will be valid for nearly two full years!

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Steve

I signed up for the 100k SW Personal Plus offer on 12/7, spent the first $2k, and the first 50k points just posted due to Chase deciding that 12/25 would be my statement posting date. I would update this post’s assumption that the first statement posting date will be 30 days after application.

Susan

Just got my SW Priority card with the 100K point offer. Can I use it before the end of the year to purchase a SW gift card to trigger the $75 SW credit for 2021? then get the $75 credit again in 2022 for a SW purchase? The language is somewhat vague about calendar year and anniversary year. Thanks!

Nun

Southwest is introducing another fare category. What a coincidence they waited until after the credit card offer! (Probably still very valuable nonetheless)

Slaven

Would like to get this card (slot 4), but this would put me dangerously close to being locked out of chase business cards for 2 years, leaving absolutely no room for any other card. I plan on applying shortly for venture X and citi premier (slots 2&3) and recently got CSP with 100k offer (slot 1).

[…] deal yet. And you can get it done with, what else, Southwest credit cards as laid out in this post: It’s Time: Get Your Southwest Companion Pass. It will be appreciated it if you get the cards with my links AFTER you decide they are right for […]

Ryan

I’m told I get a decision in 2 weeks. If the decision is negative and I call the reconsideration line, will I get the sign-up bonus pegged to when I applied (before the Dec 7 cutoff?)

patrick

Call them anyway… before the 2 weeks. I have always done that and it was never an issue.

Michael

DP: P2 applied last week, 1 Chase card under 5/24, mid 700s… Instant approval

Kelly Hartnett

Weird, they are reviewing my application. Hope that means approval. My score is 819 and I’m at 2/24

Mike

Did they approve?

Kelly Hartnett

No word yet.

patrick

Call them.

Justin Manduke

The 100K personal offers seem to not be working through referral links any longer. Is anyone else seeing the same thing?

dizzy

Yeah, whoops. So SW gave me a head start on CP for this year. Good news is I just needed one card with $5k spend, 80k points bonus to get CP another year. Bad news is I am only getting an extra month basically instead of close to 2 years. But super painless. Will try for getting closer to 2 years next time with an app late next year.

Hank

I should know this… but I’m still smarting from my $38k Jetblue charge put thru 11pm Dec 31st that Barclays counted toward ’20, not ’21.
Approved for SWA card yesterday, $18k credit line, have $17k bill due next week. Is everyone absolutely certain that my closing date of Jan 3rd means Chase will count the spend as done in ’22 if I charge $17k in mid-December?

Ryan

I believe they will. That appears to be the common consensus. Barclays may count it when “spent” rather than “posted”?

Ryan

Just applied. Do not have a 5/24 issue, nor a card benefit within the last 24 months. 805 credit score. Said it needs more time to review? Should I call? Is this normal?

Par

Not uncommon for Chase to have to shift your credit lines around. Call reconsideration line – 1-888-270-2127. Most of us have to call, for that very reason.

Buzz

I got the same thing. We’ll over 800 score and 0/24. I will eventually get approved. They did the same thing with my business app.

Kelly Hartnett

Same here. Strange

LarryInNYC

Yet again, I’m putting off consideration of the companion pass for another year. I don’t anticipate much, if any, pair flying in 2022 and I just made Platinum Pro on American and will probably concentrate my domestic flying with them.

The CP sounds great for some hopefully-not-too-distant future in which my wife and I are both at least semi-retired and travelling together frequently.

Ryan

What personal card do you recommend as the best “bang for buck” for a frequent SWA traveler?

HoKo

There has been some recent discussion that the southwest cards may no longer be subject to 5/24. Any thoughts here Greg, what data points have you been seeing?

Last edited 1 year ago by HoKo
Joseph Giorgianni

Darn! I really messed this up and we’ve been doing it for years. Wife was approved for the Performance business card on Oct. 4. Need $5,000 spend for 80,000 points. At $4,000 now, statement date is Dec. 3, so will finish the spend after that and the 80,000 points should post next year. However, she was approved for the Plus personal card on Oct. 8. Need $1,000 spend for 40,000 points. Already spent $1,300 and the statement date is Dec. 7. I forgot that the 40,000 points will post then and not count towards nest year’s Companion Pass. Any suggestions? Help!

Joseph Giorgianni

Called Chase last night. Asked if they could switch the bonus offer to the 50,000 points after $2,000 in spend but they wouldn’t. They did set us up for 50,000 points after $12,000 in spend after 12 months. Could have been worse.

Joseph Giorgianni

Is there a way I can verify that she did set it up? Thanks.

Joseph Giorgianni

I sent a secure message to Chase. Their reply was:

“Thank you for contacting Chase in regards to richer offer
request for points tier on the Southwest Rapid Rewards®
Plus Credit Card account ending xxxx.

Thank you for inquiring of the richer offer. We will be
happy to review this inquiry.

Michelle, after further review, it was determined the
richer offer requested is eligible to be honored.

Earn 50,000 points after $12,000 spend in 12 months / will
not receive additional points for first tier.

“Purchases” do not include balance transfers, cash-like
transactions, betting transactions, fees or interest and
other non-qualified transactions. For a list of
non-qualified transactions, please reference the Rewards
Program Agreement, available at chase.com.

If you need any other assistance, you can send us a secure
message. We appreciate your business and thank you for
choosing Chase.

Sincerely,

Felishia

Senior Service Specialist”

As I read it we will receive the 40,000 points after $1,000 in spend (already received) and then an additional 50,000 points after $12,000 in spend. Am I reading that right? Thanks.

wayne

From the post above, it isn’t clear to me if my wife would be currently eligible or not to sign up and receive the bonus for a personal card (strategy 1) or both a personal and a business card (strategy 2) to obtain enough points for the SW companion pass.

Here are her specifics: In Nov. 2019, she signed up for and then received the SW Plus personal card bonus on 01/15/20. In Oct. 2019, she also signed up for the SW Performance Business card and received that bonus on 01/15/20. Both card accounts were then closed in Jan. 2021.

Is the rule that you can’t sign up for the card at all, if you received the bonus in past 24 months? Or is it that you can sign up, but you won’t receive the bonus because at time of sign up, it has not been 24 months since previous bonus? Or is it that you can sign up, and you can receive bonus, so long as the current bonus posts at least 24 months after the previous bonus? The timing is obviously key here.

John

I would be very careful about your closing date. I signed up for one of the personal cards on Nov 6, 2022 and my first closing date was Nov. 27th. So, signing up before the 7th of this month does NOT necessarily mean your first closing date will be in January. I would wait all the same and not risk it. Besides, as I think Greg has pointed out in years past, sometimes card numbers are stolen and fraudulent charges trigger the bonus – something Chase will not reverse if I recall….

Robert

If you game the two year bonus limitation and choose the right combo of signups you can make this happen. We’ve done it for the past 4 years successfully. This year is the only variance, we reearned it for just next year to get the smaller spend amount to qualify.

Robert

And I need to add that i hate flying Southwest, if not for companion pass i would avoid them. Most flights are similar or higher cost than other airlines.

patrick

Free bags? Free change of tickets?

Byron

Got approved yesterday and this may help someone. My online application went pending, so I thought maybe a call to Chase will help. Called 888-270-2127 for reconsideration and after confirming the application and my house payment, and moving some balances around I was approved. I had just dropped to 3/24 in December. I will wait until Jan. to do the Bus. SW card. For years SW had not flown into the local airports but now they do, so this made a good Christmas present.

Ryan

Thanks, Byron. I had the exact same thing happen. Took your advice, called reconsideration. They confirmed the application, house payment, moved some balances around from other cards. Thanks for the advice!!

Jim Livesay

I’ve never looked very closely at Southwest flights, because of the boarding policy. However, this post has me looking into Southwest, because that companion pass sounds great. Now, I’m looking at one of the business cards, and it says it provides “four upgraded boardings per year when available” (A1–A15 slots). Question: if P1 is flying and using a companion pass for P2 and they wanted to do the upgraded boarding, would they have to pay for one upgraded boarding, or two?

JoshF

Pretty sure they make you upgrade boarding for everyone on your itinerary, not just one person.

Beth

In my experience as companion pass holder, if I have paid for upgraded boarding (Early Bird) my companion also gets the next boarding number. So for example I get position 23A in boarding, my companion gest 24A. This was true even when the entire flight was booked with points. I do not know if it works the same way with the upgraded boarding passes which put you amongst the first 15 passengers. But that positioning is not necessary as often those first 15 slots have not been purchased anyhow. There are plenty of good seats available in the first 20-30 boarding positions.

Although you are not “allowed” to save seats for another passenger, if you have early boarding and your travel partner does not, you can always try to hold a middle seat for them. Most people move on when you say you are saving the seat for your partner since middle seats are not anyone’s preference. . So long as they are not in the last 10 people to board the plane, it’s normally not a problem.

patrick

Just don’t EVER,EVER try and save an exit row seat.(even the middle one) That’s really the only seat saving etiquette rule I agree with.

Robert

Just qualify for A-List, then everyone on your reservation gets it too

Buzz

I applied for the business card a few weeks ago and was recently approved. I’ll apply for the personal card before the deadline. I can leisurely meet the spend because I already have the promo CP for January and February. It will be nice to have the CP for two full years!

patrick

HA! Exact same situation for me. I’ve got $4,000 of my $5,000 done on my business card. (got to take a break on it so I don’t go over the $5,000 before Jan 1) and I was just approved for my personal card and I have the CP for Jan and Feb. So come the end of Feb I’ll be ready to go for another 2 years.

Jamie

None of the $4k you have spent will count in 2022 if your billing cycle on that spend doesn’t hit in January. You want the pass in 22 so you have it almost all year and then all of 23. That means you’d ideally open a card today who’s billing cycle will end in early January so all holiday spend you normally make will hit in January allowing you to meet your goal.

patrick

I’m not really worried about the $4,000 spend counting for Jan. I just need to make sure the bonus doesn’t trigger before Jan. which it won’t as I just finished one billing cycle with only about $2,500 on the card.