Southwest Rapid Rewards cards are a popular pick among travel enthusiasts not only because of their ability to earn and redeem rewards toward Southwest flights, but also because of their ability to earn rewards toward the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows you to fly with a travel buddy for just the cost of taxes and fees, which usually start at $5.60 for a one-way flight or $11.20 round-trip. Typically, to earn the pass, you’ve got to accrue 125,000 Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.
However, every once in a while, Chase, the Southwest credit card issuer, offers a promotion that makes it easier to score the Companion Pass. Sometimes the issuer will boost welcome bonuses or drop the required amount of points needed to earn it. The most recent promotion, which ended March 14, 2022, made it pretty easy to earn the pass. With it, you could have received the Companion Pass through February 28, 2023, plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards points, after spending $5,000 on purchases on an eligible Southwest credit card in the first three months.
Now that this promotion is over, we’ll cover other ways you can nab the pass quickly. But first, we’ll take a closer look at how the Companion Pass works so you can make sure it’s ideal for your travel needs.
How does the promotional offer for the Southwest Companion Pass work?
The Southwest Companion Pass lets you bring along a designated companion for free on every Southwest flight until it expires. Then, there are some other restrictions to be mindful of, including the following:
- You must pay for your flight with cash or points to book a companion’s flight.
- Your companion must be booked on the same flight and dates to fly for free.
- You can change your designated companion up to three times during the Promotional Companion Pass period.
- If you cancel your ticket, your companion’s ticket will also be canceled, and if you don’t make your flight, they will be charged for the fare.
Note that the cards offering this promotion are available to you only if you don’t have a current Southwest Rapid Rewards card and haven’t received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Southwest business or employee credit card products.
How can you earn the Companion Pass faster?
Although taking 100 or more qualifying flights in rapid succession to get your Companion Pass seems like it could be fun, there are other options if this isn’t ideal. Even in the absence of Companion Pass promotions, there are plenty of creative ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. Here are some tips on how you can earn it much quicker:
Apply for one or more Southwest cards at the same time
When there are no current promotions to help you get the pass faster, this is a common go-to for people who end up scoring the pass. When you do this and meet the spending requirements, you can make real headway in terms of racking up enough points towards the 125,000-point requirement. Here are some Southwest credit cards to consider if you go this route:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
For some, it might make sense to get a Southwest business card and a consumer card, but for others, you can double up on a business or consumer option. You can choose the card combination that fits your needs and will help you to earn enough toward the Companion Pass.
However, be mindful that opening multiple Chase cards may not work if you’ll bump up against Chase’s 5/24 rule. This rule states that if you have opened five credit cards in the past 24 months, you will likely not be eligible to open a new Chase credit card. While you need to fall under the 5/24 rule to qualify for a new business credit card from Chase, your new business card does not count toward your future 5/24 status.
Earn Rapid Rewards points in other ways
Although it’s easier to earn points by using your card and taking qualifying flights, there are plenty of other ways to score Rapid Rewards points:
- Booking accommodations with Southwest airlines and eligible partners
- Spending on shopping and dining partners, including Rapid Rewards dining
- Refer-a-friend bonuses of up to 100,000 points (terms apply)
The bottom line
The Southwest Companion Pass is typically a great deal for those who can meet the requirements. Frankly, it’s one of the most coveted travel credit card perks out there. In the past, some creative cardholders have been able to use clever strategies to earn enough points needed for the pass, but it takes some work. So, when there’s a companion pass promotion that makes it much easier to score, we think it’s wise to act quickly and jump on the deal!