There are some things out of the reach for many of us. I enjoy the sport of bowling and have tried—and failed many times—to bowl a perfect 300 score. In the Award Travel space, Southwest Airlines' Companion Pass® may be the most valuable benefit you can earn. Unfortunately, it has been out of the reach for some of us—until now!
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What Is the Companion Pass®?
The Companion Pass® is an amazing perk offered by Southwest Airlines. It allows you to designate a companion to fly with you on any Southwest Airlines flight for free; your traveling companion will only need to pay the taxes for the ticket. This includes tickets redeemed with your Rapid Rewards® points and revenue-based tickets!
Once earned, you will have to designate one person to be your traveling companion. However, you are allowed to change your designated traveling companion three times in a year. This means you could potentially use the Companion Pass on four different people.
How do you earn the Companion Pass®? You normally would need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Flying 100 one-way flights may be out of reach for most of us in a year! However, there is a strategy to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. To learn more about this strategy, see the following post: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card—Get This Card if You Use Southwest Airlines!
However, even the strategy to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year may be out of reach for some of us. For example, you may not be able to open the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card. Is there another way? Yes!
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Welcome Bonus
There are three personal Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit cards that offer the Companion Pass® plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards® points as part of the welcome bonus! Wow! They are: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. You can compare and apply for these cards here!
There are some stipulations to the welcome bonus that you need to be aware of:
The Companion Pass® is valid through February 28, 2023.
You will need to spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The welcome bonus is not available to you if you have a current Southwest Rapid Rewards® credit card or if you have received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
The current offer ends on March 14, 2022. It is possible we will not see another offer like this one for quite some time—if ever.
"The Companion Pass® could save your family hundreds—or even thousands of dollars—on travel expenses.
Granted, being able to earn the Companion Pass® in the "traditional" way yields better value—in terms of points earned and the length of time you are able to use it. Nevertheless, the current welcome offer from one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® personal credit cards opens a door to an extremely valuable perk—saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars on travel expenses. You can apply for one of these cards here!
Chase's 5/24 Rule
The Southwest Rapid Rewards®' credit cards are co-branded with Chase. Chase apparently has a "rule" that indicates you will not be approved a Chase credit if you have opened five or more credit cards—across all banks—within the last 24 months. (I.e. American Express, Capital One, etc.)
However, Chase does not have a published policy to validate the 5/24 rule. Interestingly, there are data points where Chase has recently not been following this "rule." In fact, I recently received a targeted offer for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card—even though I was at 5/24 and had just opened the Chase Freedom Unlimited® about a month ago. I immediately jumped on the offer and was instantly approved. You can read more about this card in the following post: Chase Freedom Unlimited—Don't Miss Out on This Card!
This is the second time I have been able to get around Chase's 5/24 rule. This is the methodology I have used as it relates to some of their co-branded cards:
Determine which co-branded credit I want.
Sign-up for the loyalty program.
Opt-in to marketing offers.
Wait for a targeted offer and then apply for that credit card using the link that was provided.
Strategies to Increase Your Rapid Rewards® Points!
Credit card miles & points enthusiasts will often throw around the term "two-player mode." Essentially, this is a way for two individuals to work together to increase their credit card rewards which can then be redeemed for award travel, cashback, or other redemptions. You can learn more about this strategy in the following post: Getting Approved for a Credit Card While Unemployed—Why You Don't Want to Miss Out!
Southwest Airlines is a transfer partner of Chase. This is great news! Chase, in my opinion, offers some of the best credit card products, and they have a robust transfer partner program. Any Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning credit card can be used to accumulate points that can subsequently be transferred to Southwest Airlines—provided you have one of the following Chase credit cards to complete the transfer: Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Ink Business Preferred®.
In my opinion, the best credit card to get started within Award Travel is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The current welcome bonus is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards®! In other words, you could transfer your 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® earned from the welcome bonus to Southwest Airlines! You can apply for this card here! If you would like to learn more about this credit card, please see the following post: Chase Sapphire Preferred—The Best Credit Card Just Got Better!
Calculate "Your" Value for Each Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card
Everyone has their own "custom" spending habits. Therefore, selecting the right credit card is a personal decision. Wouldn't it be great if there was a "custom" calculator that generated a value based on your spending habits?
There is! AwardYourMiles has developed a Miles & Points Calculator. Select the credit card and enter the amount of money you spend on average per month in the corresponding category. It will calculate the following:
The monetary value of your first and second years using the credit card; and
The miles/ points generated from your spend.
AwardYourMiles has also developed a Credit Card Selector Calculator. It uses our proprietary algorithm which determines the best credit card in our database based on your spending habits. You will be able to determine the value of each credit card in your first year of use!
One of the three Southwest Rapid Rewards® personal credit cards is great to have! The sign-up bonus which includes the Companion Pass® and 30,000 Rapid Rewards® points can be extremely valuable. The Companion Pass® is now easier to earn for a limited time. You can apply for this card here!
Do you feel overwhelmed with all the options available when it comes to redeeming your miles & points? Would you like some assistance to get you started in the right direction? You will benefit from the services of a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant. You will be assisted with regards to earning miles & points through credit card use and redeeming those miles & points for Award Travel. Or, feel free to use any of our Award Travel Tools online. Get started today!