How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass 2024

Alex

The Southwest Companion Pass is among the best deals in the points and miles world. Either I or my husband have had the Southwest Companion Pass off and on for the last six years. When you earn the pass, you get to fly someone with you for free (minus taxes and fees starting at $5.60) every time you fly for the rest of the year in which you earn it and all of the following year! We have used it to fly to Hawaii multiple times, Cancun, San Diego, Denver, Washington D.C., and more. Let’s go over how you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

 

How to Earn It

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you have to either take 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year. We aren’t going to waste our time with that first option, we’re just gonna stick to getting those 135,000 points.

The easiest way to get 135,000 points is through credit card signup bonuses. The standard bonus on the Southwest personal cards is 50,000 points, and 60,000-80,000 points on the business cards. Periodically, the bonus on the personal cards will jump up to 60,000+ points! Opening just one of these cards isn’t going to cut it. What you need to do is open two cards. However, Chase won’t allow having more than one personal Southwest card, so you will need to open a personal and a business card or two business cards. 

 

Our Southwest Companion Pass Credit Card Recommendations

I would recommend applying for the Southwest Performance Business and then one of the Southwest personal cards of your choice. Between the bonuses on the cards and the spending to meet the bonus, you will have over 135,000 points to meet the requirement for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Additionally, as a Southwest credit card holder, you will be given 10,000 points toward the Companion Pass. If you opened your first card before January 1st, then those 10,000 points will be deposited into your account by January 31st. If you become a Southwest credit card holder after January 1st, then your 10,000 points will show up in your account up to 30 days after opening your card.

These are NOT points you can use to book flights with. They are only Companion Pass qualifying points. If you have a business, this is definitely a deal worth considering. And if you don’t think you have a business, check out this post on how to qualify for a business credit card. You may be surprised to find out you have something that does count as a business.  

 

Southwest route map

Southwest route map

 

Timing for the Southwest Companion Pass

Timing when you decide to open these cards is super important. It can be the difference between you having the pass for close to two years, for about a year, or not even earning the pass. As I mentioned above, all 135,000 points need to be earned in one calendar year.

To get the most time out of your Southwest Companion Pass, you want to open your cards towards the end of the year but not complete the minimum spend requirement until the beginning of the following year. You also need to make sure you complete the spending before the three months are up. In doing this, you will have the pass for close to two years!

What you don’t want to do is open one card and accidentally complete the minimum spend and earn the bonus in November or December and then finish the minimum spend on your other card in January or February. If you do this, you will NOT qualify for the pass, as all the points won’t have been earned in one calendar year.

If you want to play it safe, you can wait until January to start working on the Companion Pass. You won’t have the pass quite as long, but you won’t have to worry about messing up and earning half the points in one year and the other half in another year. I even started earning the pass in July once- increased offers at the time meant it made sense for my family, and we were able to use the pass that fall.  

 

Qualifying for the Companion Pass

Chase issues Southwest cards, so in order to qualify for these cards, you’ll need to be under Chase 5/24. If you are at 4/24, then make sure you apply for the business card first. If you already have a personal Southwest card or have received a bonus on one in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible for the bonus on another Southwest personal card.

In order to be eligible, it has to have been 24 months or more since you last got a bonus on a Southwest personal card. You also can’t currently hold a Southwest personal card, so you will need to cancel that card and wait 30 days before you reapply.  

 

Rules of the Southwest Companion Pass

Once you earn the Companion Pass, you will be able to name a companion by logging into your account and designating who that person is. You are able to change that person three times each calendar year. To change the companion, you will need to call Southwest. You need to wait until any booked flights for your current companion are complete before you call to change your companion.  

 

The Southwest Companion Pass helped get my family to Cancun

 

What Counts Towards Companion Pass

Along with credit card welcome bonuses and spending on your Southwest cards, here are other points that count toward the Southwest Companion Pass:

Check out this page from Southwest for a full list of what does and does not count towards the Companion Pass.  

 

The Southwest Personal Credit Cards

 

 

 

  • $69 annual fee
  • 3,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 2x the points on Southwest purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year

 

 

 

 

  • $99 annual fee
  • 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent

 

 

 

  • $149 annual fee
  • 7,500 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, rideshare, internet, cable, phone, and select streaming, and 1x on all else.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year, when available
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent

 

The Southwest Business Credit Cards

 

 

 

  • 6,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 3x points on Southwest purchases, 2x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental bookings, local commuting, transit, and rideshare, and 1x on all else.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2 Earlybird Check-ins per year
  • 25% back on inflight purchase
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit for transferring points (Southwest charges to move points to another Rapid Reward account- this benefit gives you $500 of free transfer credits)

 

 

 

  • $199 annual fee
  • 9,000 points on your cardmember anniversary
  • 4x points on Southwest purchases, 3x on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases, with 2x points on local transit, commuting, rideshare, social media, and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services, and 1x on all else.
  • 4 upgraded boardings per year, when available
  • inflight WiFi credits
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
  • $500 fee credit for transferring points (Southwest charges to move points to another Rapid Reward account- this benefit gives you $500 of free transfer credits)

 

Bottom Line

The Southwest Companion Pass is ideal for family travel. It is among the most incredible deals in the points and miles world. Have you ever had the Southwest Companion Pass?

 

 

southwest airplane taking off

Share this post

  1. LizF says:

    I got the personal Southwest card in April 2023. In order to get companion pass for 2024-2025 I would need to apply for a business southwest card now, spend about $4,500 by December, wait, then meet the rest of the spending on Jan 1st ( not a day sooner or a day later)?

    • Pam says:

      Your timing is off for this as ALL spending has to be met in the same year. You have started that clock with the personal SW card for this year. Your best bet is to get the Business card now and meet the minimum spend by the end of December. You will have it for all of 2024 but not 2025. Ideally, you get the first card in Oct/Nov. Then, a month later get card #2, NOT completing minimum spends on either until after January. Listen to our Southwest podcast and reread this post for more understanding. I’m so sorry that it won’t work for all of 2024 and 2025.

  2. Chris A. says:

    Hi Hacking Mom! So I want to get the companion pass for 2024 and 2025. I’m trying to time getting my first card (business) close enough to the end of the year so the points post in January, or is that not a concern? My confusion here is if I spend on the card in 2023 will those points won’t count towards getting the $5000 minmum if I wait until after January to complete the full $5000?

    • Pam says:

      Your points spent in 2023 will count towards the minimum. You just don’t want to finish the full $5000 until after January. I would save $500 to spend AFTER January 1.

  3. Sara says:

    If we missed the timing and already hit the bonus with southwest, what do you recommend we do next? Wait until next year and try to get to 135,000 again in one calendar year?

    • Pam says:

      That is what I would probably do unless you can get another card right away and reach the 135K this year and have it for next year. If you have Player 2 that could do it in 2025 for the two years.

  4. Brearley says:

    Hi there! Thanks so much for this helpful information. Since the SW personal card bonus just went up, I’m thinking of jumping on the companion pass bandwagon! I am safe in the land of 5/24, but I recently got approved for a Chase Ink card about a week ago. A few questions: 1. How long should I wait to apply for my first Southwest card? 2. Should I apply for a personal or business first? 3. How long should I wait in between the two Southwest cards? Thanks so much!

    • Pam says:

      You can get a Chase personal and business card in a 30-day period so that I would do the personal card first. I would then wait about 60 days for the next Southwest card.

  5. ANDY says:

    Thanks for the article, Pam.
    On 12-14-21, my wife was approved for a SW Airlines Priority CC. We completed The Spend and received the Companion Pass as part of the deal on 1-7-22, good through 12-31-23.
    Any word that SW Airlines will offer that great deal again towards the end of this year? (So, I can avoid the 2-card process you describe!)

  6. Stefani Flores says:

    Hello, I just want to make sure I understand the timing. If I get the personal SW in November and then work my way towards the minimum but holding off like about $500 to pay in Jan. In the meantime, apply for the SW business which I will get in Dec if it takes 30 days and work towards the minimum which will be lets say Feb. Would that qualify me to get the companion pass for 2 years?

  7. JL says:

    Hi, if I open the SW cards (personal and business) now, do I have to worry about the 10,000 bonus points depositing this year (2023)? or will they be deposited in 2024, when I complete min spend?
    Thank you!

    • Pam says:

      You will get it when you open your card. Just include it in the amount of points you have – it will show up and leave wiggle room for spend in 2024. Personally, I’d leave $500-$1000.

  8. Brooklyn says:

    If I applied for a card in November 2023 and wait to hit the minimum spend until 2024 (within the 3 months that the minimum spend is due in), can I apply for my second card to reach the 135,000 points in January or February of 2024? Or do both have to be started at the end of 2023?

  9. Michelle says:

    I applied (and was approved for) the Southwest personal card on October 14th. When I applied, the promotion was 50,000 bonus points if you spend $3000 in the first three months. They awarded my bonus points after $1000, and told me that was the promotion in place at that time. I was planning to wait to cross that $3000 threshold after January 1st. I cannot find any evidence at all on the Southwest page (updated since that time), but found your page, which initially said 50,000 points after spending $3000 in 3 months, which has now been updated to reflect 75,000 bonus points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months. Can you PLEASE help me find evidence of the promotion I signed up under? I am trying to get all of my bonus points awarded in January to allow me to earn my companion pass for 2024 and 2025. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

    • Pam says:

      Both Alex and Jess thought that the $1000 promotion could have been the promotion at the time. Unfortunately, we don’t have a history of offers. To everyone, it is always a great idea to take a pic of your promotion offer in case this happens. I wish I had better news. You will have the pass for all of 2024 and could have Player 2 get it next year for 2025/2026. I am SO sorry that this happened to you. If anyone has a screenshot of the offer for that time, please send it to us!

  10. Matlub Ahmad says:

    I am trying to understand how the bonus points from business account transfer to the personal account point balance. Is it automatic, does it have restrictions or do I need to do something to reach the combined point total of 135,000?

  11. Question about the Performance Business card and their TSA pre-check benefit. Does your designated companion also get to go through pre-check with you? Or would they need to have their own TSA pre-check? Husband and I both plan to have precheck and the companion passes, and would be traveling with our 2 teenagers age 18 and 15.

  12. Chris says:

    Hi. Thanks for all you do. When should I refer my spouse to my Southwest CC in order to get the CP for 2024-2025? I wanna make sure the referral points don’t post before January 2024 right? But he needs time to meet the minimum spend also. I appreciate you all.

    • Pam says:

      This was what Alex said: I would tell her to look at her statement closing dates and refer her husband after the date of her December statement closing so it doesn’t post before then

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hello! Is there any easy way to find your anniversary date? I thought mine was March but got my anniversary points on November statement. I only used one of my four early boarding passes because I thought I had until March. Any advice on how to confirm the date!

  14. Pratima L says:

    I have read all the blogs and listened to a bunch of podcasts and still feel like I messed this up because I’m not playing the multiple CC game but rather earning the CP through straight 135,000 points. As of right now, I have 132,208 out of 135,000 points earned. My statement close date is December 8. I’m not spending anything on that card right now and was planning holding off to get over 135k after my December 8 close date so that the points post in January but were for December spending so I get 2024-2025. But I’ve confused myself reading so much stuff about the CC bonuses and fear I’ve just messed it up and should just get the CP now and have it for 2024 only. Can you please spell this out for me in terms of actual dates of when to spend to get 2024/25 if possible? Thank you so much! I originally intended to get this during the pandemic and finances took a hit.

    • Pam says:

      You need to earn all 135K points in the same calendar year, so you need to spend on the card before the Dec 8 statement to get the rest of the points. On Jan 1, companion pass qualifying points reset back to zero. The two years just works for people who are getting the card(s) at the end of one year and finishing the spend at the beginning of the new year but within the three month minimum spend time limit for the signup bonus

  15. Angela says:

    I’m looking to get the companion pass for 2025/2026, Can you book say a trip to Hawaii in December 24 for Summer 2025 to secure and then once pass hits in February 24 can they refund points to change a ticket to the companion pass? OR will I have to cancel and then rebook? How often is their availability for August Hawaii flights if booking in FEB?

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