Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Southwest Companion Pass [2019]

Update 10/17/19: Starting 2020 this companion pass will require earning 125,000 points in a calendar year.

What Is It?

The Southwest companion pass lets you choose one person to travel with you for free for one year. You actually get the companion pass for more than a full year, this is because you’ll get it until the end of the calendar year you earn the pass in and then the next calendar year. This means that if you earn it in January of 2019, you’d get the companion pass until December of 2020.

There are two ways to qualify for the companion pass:

  • Fly 100 qualifying one way flights or
  • Earn 110,000 Southwest points

Once you’ve earned the companion pass and designated your companion whenever you book you’ll be given the option to add that companion to your booking. There are no limits to how often the companion pass may be used. The companion pass can be used on award & paid flights. Getting a companion pass does not give you the benefits of A-List status.

What Fees Does The Companion Pay?

This is a government mandated fee that was introduced in light of September 11th, this fee is aptly called the “September 11th security fee“. This fee cannot exceed $5.60 per one way flight ($11.2 for a round trip). This is the only fee you are required to pay when adding your companion.

Southwest gives customers two pieces of checked baggage for free on all tickets. You can view their full baggage policies here.

The companion pass is only booked once the main individual purchases their ticket (with cash or points) and it has been processed.

This means you cannot immediately book your companion pass after booking the initial flight. There is some lag time between the two events. H/T to Paul.

Best Ways To Earn It

Most people won’t fly 100 one way flights in a calendar year (unless you’re a road warrior, in which case you might). The easiest ways to get a Southwest companion pass all involve getting multiple credit cards.

Two Southwest Cards

The normal sign up bonus on the Southwest cards is 25,000 points after $2,000 in spend, but these cards often have an increased sign up bonus of 50,000 points after $2,000 in spend. These cards earn at a rate of 1 point per $1 in spend (they earn 2 points per $1 in spend on Southwest flight purchases, hotel partners, car rental partners & point purchases). These are the four cards that Southwest offers (Business plus was discontinued in 2014).

  • Southwest Personal Plus comes with an annual fee of $69, 3,000 point anniversary bonus
  • Southwest Personal Premier comes with an annual fee of $99, 6,000 point anniversary bonus
  • Chase Southwest Priority comes with an annual fee of $149, 7,500 anniversary bonus
  • Southwest Business Premier comes with an annual fee of $99, 6,000 point anniversary bonus
  • Southwest Business Performance comes with an annual fee of $199, 9,000 anniversary bonus

At the moment ther 80,000 points on the Performance card and the personal cards are offering 50,000 points or 60,000 points. Applying for one business and one personal card would give you enough points for a companion pass.

What Points Do & Don’t Count?

Does count

  • Points earned from Southwest flights
  • Points earned from spending on your Chase Southwest credit cards
  • Sign up bonus points from the Chase Southwest credit cards
  • Anniversary points from the Chase southwest credit cards
  • Referral points earned from referring friends & family do count towards the companion pass
  • Points from the Southwest shopping portal. Although additional bonuses from a portal will not count
  • Points from Southwest dining
  • Points from Energy Plus (please becareful with this company, a lot of horror stories)
  • Points from Everything Energy
  • Points from Regus virtual office payments
  • Points for signing up to Dish
  • Points from Reliant secure
  • Points from SuperShuttle & ExecuCar
  • Base points earn from hotel booking websites that earn airline miles instead of hotel points count (e.g RocketMiles, PointsHound, Kaligo) but any additional bonuses (e.g sign up bonuses) do not count. Update: some people are reporting that all of these points count. Keep in mind your points won’t post until after your hotel stay.

Does not count

F.A.Q’s

How can I see if certain points have qualified for the companion pass?

  • Log into your rapid rewards account
  • Navigate to rewards activity (or click that link)
  • Click the drop down menu next to “type”
  • Select companion pass qualify points

You’ll then see a full list of points that do qualify.

Can I change the name of my companion?

Yes, it’s possible to change your companion up to three times for the duration of your companion pass and you can change back to the same person as well (e.g nominate your wife, change to your mistress and then back to your wife). To do this just call Southwest up and make the request.

Update: The limit of 3 is actually for each calendar year; e.g. if you get the Pass in January 2016, you can switch 3 times in 2016 and another 3 times in 2017.

When do points post from the Southwest credit cards?

Typically within 1-2 days of your statement closing date.

How soon can I start using my companion pass?

As soon as 110,000 or more points are earned within a calendar year your companion pass should start to be worked on. Most people find it’s not fully processed for 2-3 business days, calling Southwest to expedite might help.

Can my companion fly for free if I am not taking the flight?

No, you must be on any flight your companion takes for it to be free.

Are companion passes stackable? E.g, if the companion I designate also has a companion pass, do they fly for free?

No, this is not possible.

Do I need to keep the physical companion pass card with me for flights when I am flying with a companion?

Southwest’s official policy is that you do, but I don’t know of anybody who has ever had their pass checked. That being said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Can you add a companion to a previously booked flight?

Yes you can add a companion to your flights at any stage, as long as there is still room on the aircraft. Although I’d avoid doing this too last minute as it might cause issues.

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Alex
Alex

I’m going to try for the companion pass with just one card (hoping to get referrals) as I unexpectedly was able to get the plus card recently due to the online black star preapprovals.

Does anyone know when the points from referrals post? Do they coincide with your statement closing or some other timeline?

Al
Al

Companion pass will cost 125,000 points starting Jan 1, 2020

Zac
Zac

I have read in other places that you cannot use two personal cards to get the CP. That you would need to do one personal and one business for it to qualify towards the CP. I don’t see anything about that here. Can anyone confirm or deny?

Sean
Sean

Will chase reduce credit limits from other cards to approve you or do I need to call and have my CL reduced before applying? If so, how long should I wait after the reduction before applying?

Al
Al

I scanned through the comments, and didn’t see this question asked anywhere, apologies if I missed it:

Question: if my companion pass is expiring at the end of this year (2019), does that expiration apply to *booking*, or *flying*? For example, could I book a companion flight now (October 2019) for a flight in March 2020? Or does the expiration mean that no companion flights can happen after 2019, regardless of when they were booked?

Rox
Rox

Flying. Your companion flies for free only till Dec 31, 2019.

Jay
Jay

If I am named as the companion of my spouse’s Companion Pass (I dont have a Pass) and I buy a ticket for under my name (e.g. work travel), can my spouse be added to the itinerary and fly free?

Liz
Liz

Nope. The companion pass holder must book the ticket and then you (as the companion) can be added to the itinerary. It doesn’t work the other way around.

Jonathan Phillips
Jonathan Phillips

William Charles could you please update this post with correct links for the cards? the link to the business card sends us to a page that says the offer expired in january.

I think we’re now within the three month window where people are going to start trying to sign up for these cards and get the bonus to hit in early january of next year to maximize the CP time, so this would be a helpful post to have updated.

thanks!

Johnny
Johnny

I just got approved today, pretty happy with $19,000 credit limit.

anthony
anthony

That would be great. Also, are there any current 60k offers? It would be perfect to do one 60k and one 50k. My wife’s CP is ending in December and I need to start working on mine for 2020.

Tyler L
Tyler L

Business offers are 60k and 80k if you have any sort of business. that is the only way to earn the points with two cards now since you can only get the bonus on one personal card.

the current 60k personal offer has bad terms compared to all the other offers so the 50k personal offer is much better.:
(The personal 60k offer requires 12K of spend and for applications made prior to the end of the year it is difficult to time for the companion pass because you earn the points as you make the spend. i.e. make $12k of spend in the first week or two of January.)

SS
SS

I know that a person can only have 1 personal card.
Does being an authorized user on someone else’s card count towards this personal card? If so, I’ll cancel the AU card…any idea how long to wait after canceling the AU card before applying for my own personal card?

Thanks

Dailybread
Dailybread

AU doesn’t count for the purpose of 1 SW rule. However, if the AU account date falls within 24 month window then it may or may not count towards your 5/24 depending on the rep.

Tylet
Tylet

How long does it take to get the companion pass after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $4,000?

Corey
Corey

If I cancel premier how long do I have to wait to apply for a different or same personal SW card? I currently have the business card.

Andrew S.
Andrew S.

I too would like to know this question. I received my last award more than 24 months ago. Can I cancel and IMMEDIATELY reapply? Wait one week? A billing period? Any help appreciated!

Girish Singhania
Girish Singhania

Yes. My friend did in past. Cancel and apply next day. Make sure ur chase account shows account is closed. Open the card and then send a secure message from chase and ask when will you qualify for signup bonus to keep in ur records