Deal of the Month: Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

·4 min read

In the world of frequent flyer programs, there are few things as valuable as the Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines. This pass allows you to add a designated companion to any Southwest flight that you’re booked on, including award tickets. Now is the time to acquire your Companion Pass, because if you get it in early 2022, it will be valid until the end of 2023.

Companion Pass Basics

To receive the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, you must earn 125,000 points, or take 100 one-way flights, in a single calendar year. You an earn these points through any combination of credit card new account bonuses, credit card spending, earning points through travel and shopping partners and from flying on Southwest.

By far, the quickest and easiest way for most people to earn the Companion Pass is through new account bonuses offered by the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards from Chase.

How to use credit cards to earn the Companion Pass

To earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass with credit cards, you need to earn 125,000 points from one or more Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards in a calendar year. Note that you only have to earn those points, not redeem them. You can still redeem those points for award flights.

When you open an account with one of the several Southwest Airlines credit cards for consumers and small businesses from Chase, you have the opportunity to earn bonus points that count towards the Companion Pass. And if you open both a business and a personal card, you can receive enough points to earn the Companion Pass.

Start with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, which offers new applicants 80,000 points after spending $5,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. The Rapid Rewards® Performance Business card has an annual fee of $199 and offers a range of benefits including free in-flight WiFi for a year.

Compliment that card with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, which offers new applicants 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on new purchases within three months. You can also earn another 50,000 points on this card after using it to spend a total of $12,000 within 12 months of opening your account. This card has a $69 annual fee.

By the time you’ve spent a total of $6,000 to earn a total of 120,000 in bonus points from those two cards, you’ll have earned more than the 125,000 points necessary to receive the Companion Pass. Yes, you’ll spend $268 on annual fees, but the 126,000 Rapid Reward points you earn can be redeemed for at least $1,700 in flights, and your Companion Pass can more than double that value. Use the Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card to spend a total of $12,000 within a year, and you’ll have a whopping 186,000 points, worth approximately $2,600 in airline tickets.

The trick to getting the most value from your Companion Pass

When you earn the Companion Pass, it’s good until the end of the next calendar year. So to maximize the value that you receive, make sure to earn all the points in calendar year 2022. That means that you don’t want to earn your new account bonuses before the end of 2021. If you earn it at the end of 2021, then it’s valid until the end of 2022. But if you earn it at the beginning of 2022, then it’s valid until the end of 2023 – nearly two full years.

These new account bonuses are received when you reach the spending threshold and your statement cycle closes. To avoid receiving the bonus points before the end of the month, set your payment due date to the 26th of the month. That way, your statement cycle will close 25 days earlier, on the 1st of each month.

Doing this means that the points and any bonus you earn in December will be added to your account on or after January 1st. So if you get the card before December, just change your due date to the 26th, and don’t use it until after December 1st.

If you can earn both credit card’s bonuses through your December spending, then you’ll receive the Companion Pass in early January of 2022, and it will be valid for nearly 24 months.

Bottom line

By understanding how the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass works, and how to easily earn it through credit cards, you can be sure to get two for one deals on all of your Southwest flights until the end of 2023.

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