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Southwest Companion Pass: How to get and use this perk

Limitless free flights for your chosen companion during the duration of your pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is a benefit that allows you to bring one companion to fly with you on flights booked through Southwest Airlines. With the Southwest Companion Pass, your companion will only pay taxes and fees throughout the Companion Pass term. And the cool part? This applies to both paid and tickets bought with points.

For some, the Southwest Companion Pass is the crème de la crème of airline companion passes, and it’s easy to see why: Once you’ve earned it, you’re free to use it as many times as you want on eligible flights for the remainder of the pass — with some exceptions.

How to earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Earning methodRequirementsWays to earn
Flights100 qualifying one-way flightsOne-way flights booked through Southwest
Qualifying pointsEarn 125,000 qualifying points
  • Revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines
  • Points earned on Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards, including anniversary points
  • Base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners

Once you earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll use it for the remainder of that year, plus the following full calendar year.

Do any Southwest cards offer Companion Pass?

No. As of March 2021, no Southwest cards offer a Companion Pass as part of their welcome offer. Southwest was offering Companion Passes as part of each card’s welcome offer through February, though that offer has now passed. Companion Pass welcome offers are rare and incredibly valuable, often worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

While the welcome offers are gone, Southwest credit cards still help you earn a Companion Pass in two ways:

  • The card’s signup bonus. The Rapid Rewards points you earn from a Southwest credit card signup bonus counts as qualifying points toward the 125,000 points you need for the Companion Pass. This gives you a huge boost toward nabbing the pass and is especially useful if you open your account and earn the bonus early in the year.
  • The card’s earning categories. Any points you earn through everyday spending will also count as Companion Pass qualifying points.

What is the best way to earn a Southwest Companion Pass?

A combination of Southwest flights and using a Southwest credit card is the best method for earning a companion pass. This method relies on a big point boost thanks to a Southwest card’s signup bonus followed by accelerated points through smart spending. You can also use the Southwest shopping portal to earn additional points.

Spending needed to reach 125,000 qualifying points with Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Earning methodReward valueSpending each monthTotal spending per yearPoints earned
Signup bonus65,000
Southwest flights6x points on Wanna Get Away fare + 3x points using your Southwest credit card$625$7,50060,000

As you can see, using a Southwest credit card and clearing its signup bonus makes it easier to get earn the companion pass.

In subsequent years, you won’t have that initial bonus point windfall, so plan your long-term spending if you want to keep chasing the Southwest Companion Pass dragon. We also recommend applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. These cards offer the highest anniversary points at 50,000 and 50,000 respectively, which count toward your required qualifying points.

How to use a Southwest Companion Pass

Using the Southwest Companion Pass is relatively simple once you’ve earned it.

  1. Select your companion. You can do this by logging into your account and clicking Enter companion information under your profile settings.
  2. Book your flight. Book your primary flight in cash or points through Southwest Airlines.
  3. Book your companion’s flight. After booking your primary flight, you can book for your companion by choosing the Rapid Rewards Companion Pass booking option on the Southwest website or by calling the toll-free reservations number at 800-248-4377. The option for adding a companion is usually listed below your flight information.
  4. Be sure you’ve scheduled correctly. Both the primary and companion flight must be booked on the same flights and dates.

How to get the most out of your Southwest Companion Pass offer

With how much work it takes to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, it pays to squeeze as much value out of it as possible. Here are some quick tips for doing so:

  • Earn the ticket early in the year. If possible, try to earn your intro bonus early in the year. The Companion Pass is good for the entirety of the year you earned it and the following calendar year. If you earn the pass early, you could enjoy nearly two years of this benefit.
  • Bring a friend on rewards flights. The Southwest Companion Pass is applicable to rewards flights in addition to purchased flights. This means your Rapid Rewards points are practically worth double when you redeem them on flights and bring your companion.
  • Change your designated companion. You can change your companion three times each year. Considering the first year you get to choose one companion and then change it three times, technically you can switch your companion seven times while your Southwest Companion Pass lasts.
  • Redeem your pass on expensive flights. Unlike some airlines, Southwest offers international flight opportunities with their Companion Pass. This means big value if you bring your companion along for the ride.
  • Fly often. The most valuable part of the pass is you’re not limited to only one flight. Take the opportunity to make as many travel plans as possible that also include your companion.

Companion Pass Rules: What else should I know?

Whether you’re chasing down qualifying points or ready to use your Companion Pass, there are a few rules to keep in mind:

  • Transferred and purchased points don’t count toward the pass. Points transferred to your Southwest account from another credit card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, don’t count as qualifying points. Similarly, points transferred from another Southwest account or purchased to your account directly won’t count either.
  • Taxes and fees apply. You’re responsible for taxes and fees associated with a Companion Pass flight, which start at $5.60 for one-way flight.
  • You can only have one companion. You must designate a specific individual as your companion member. You can only change this individual three times each calendar year.
  • You’re unlikely to qualify for two Southwest cards. Chase generally enforces a “one card” rule when it comes to Southwest. If you have a Southwest card already, Chase is unlikely to approve you for another.
  • Companion Passes are good for the following year. You can use an earned Companion Pass the year you earn it, as well as the following calendar year. If you time it right, this means you can potentially use your pass for up to two years.
  • Companions don’t earn qualifying points. If you’re aiming for your next Companion Pass after earning your first, don’t factor your companion flights into your points equation. Companion flights don’t earn qualifying points toward your next Companion Pass.
  • Your companion flight mirrors your own. If you cancel or change a flight, your companion’s flight will be canceled. If rebooking, you may need to manually add your companion to your new flight.

Southwest credit cards with welcome offers

While there are no Southwest cards that offer a companion offer as a bonus, all can help you earn qualifying points. Use our comparison table below to compare them side-by-side:

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
Up to 100,000 points. 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus 50,000 points after spending $12,000 total in the first 12 months.
Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
New! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
New! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
Our best points offer ever! Earn up to 100,000 bonus points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and 6,000 points after your card anniversary
2x points on Southwest Airlines and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months and 6,000 points after your card anniversary.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Meeting the eligibility requirements for Southwest’s Companion Pass is challenging, but if you can take advantage of the introductory bonus — or a rare Companion Pass welcome offer when they happen — you’ll find unmatched value in Southwest’s offering.

If you don’t fly Southwest or you’re looking for a program that’s a little easier to obtain, compare your airline card options to find a companion fare that suits your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Can I book two Companion Pass flights at once?
No. A Companion Pass flight is not a purchased flight and can’t be used in conjunction with another Companion Pass.

Can Southwest Companion Pass be used on international flights?
Yes. You can use your Companion Pass on international flights, so long as it’s a Southwest Airlines itinerary.

Do points earned through the Southwest tiers apply as qualifying points?
No. Tier bonus points don’t apply to your Companion Pass qualifying points.

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