How to Fly (Almost) Free For Two Years on Southwest!

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Southwest Credit Card

Link:  Southwest Credit Card

Southwest Companion Pass

About a month ago, I wrote that the Southwest Plus and later the Southwest Premier card were both offering a 50,000 point sign-up bonus.  Well, now all 4 versions of the Chase Southwest credit card are offering  a 50,000 mile (~$833 in travel or $500 in gift cards) sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 within 3 months.

This is great news because it makes it easy to get almost all the 110,000 Southwest points needed to get the Southwest Companion Pass!

Our Southwest Companion Pass!

Emily and I have a Companion Pass and this is perhaps the best miles and points perk which we have.  Why?  Because it lets a companion travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free!

We’ve used our Companion Pass much more than we intended including for 5 weekends in a row this summer.  From using it to take flights to our departure city when visiting Paris or Bora Bora, to meeting Travel by Points and Travel Whimsy in Las Vegas, to traveling to Ohio for our wedding!

Southwest Companion Pass-2

In Las Vegas!

Southwest flies to a lot of US cities, and will fly to Puerto Rico in 2013, and will eventually fly to a few international destinations as it absorbs Air Tran routes and Hawaii later on.

Some folks sneer at Southwest, but what’s not to like about them?  The flight attendants and ground crew are friendly, the boarding process is among the most efficient, they don’t fly small regional jets, you can check 2 bags for free, they have a lot more non-stop flights than other airlines, and they don’t file for bankruptcy.

The best way to get the Companion Pass is to apply for 1 Southwest personal card and 1 Southwest business card and then get the extra 6,000 points needed — after accounting for the $2,000 in minimum spending which earns points — to get the 110,000 points for the Southwest Companion Pass.

2 Southwest 50,000 point credit cards and 10,000 transferred points can get you at least ~$3,332 in free flights!

I’ve been getting a lot of comments and emails on the Southwest Companion Pass and what’s the best way to get the Companion Pass, so I’d thought I’d answer commonly asked questions here.  Please comment if you have more questions to add!

A)   What is the companion Pass?

1.   What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is the best airline perk because it lets a companion travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free as long as Southwest is selling seats on that flight (even if they are business select seats).

2.   Can My Companion Travel For Free if I Book My Ticket Using Points?

Yes, your companion can still travel free.  You only have to pay a very small amount (~$10) for taxes and there is no limit to the amount of times your companion can fly with you.

3.  What Is This Worth?

Getting the Companion Pass means that the 50,000 points  credit card sign-up bonus is not worth ~$833, but twice that or $1,666.  So 2 credit cards can get you $3,332 worth of flights on Southwest?  I earned my Companion Pass last year and have used it a lot!

4.  How Can I Get a  Companion Pass?

You need to fly 100 1-way flights (within a calendar year) on Southwest to qualify for the companion pass.

Or

You need to earn 110,000 points (within a calendar year) to qualify for the Companion Pass.  And points from the Southwest credit card currently count towards the Companion Pass.

5.   When Do I Need To Earn the 110,000 Points By?

You have to earn the 110,000 points within ONE calendar year (January to December).  Your Companion Pass is valid from the date you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to the end of the next calendar year.

For example, if you earn the companion pass on November 14, 2012 it is valid up to the end of 2013.

If you earn the Companion Pass on January 1, 2013, it is valid up to the end of 2014.  So earning the Companion Pass in early 2013 can get you close to 2 years of free flying on Southwest.

6.  Can I Still Redeem 110,000 Points For Flights Once I Earn The Companion Pass?

You don’t lose your 110,000 Southwest points when you earn the Companion Pass.  You can still use the 110,000 Southwest points to book flights, and your companion flies for free if you have the Companion Pass.

7.   Can My Companion Use Points From Her Account To Book My Flight And Then Fly For Free?

Yes.  As long as you have a Southwest ticket in your name (either via cash, using your points, or using points from someone else’s account), you can add your companion to the flight.

8.  Can My Partner And I Each Earn The Companion Pass & Fly the Kids For Free?

Yes, you and your partner can each earn the Companion Pass and add your kids, parents or friends as companions.  However, 1 person cannot earn more than 1 Companion Pass.

9.   How Many Times Can I Change My Companion?

You can change your designated companion up to 3 times during the length of your Companion Pass.

The terms say: “…the Member may change his/her designated Companion and request issuance of a new Companion Pass up to three (3) times within the validity period of the Pass.”

So choose wisely!

However, you have to designate a companion when you 1st get the Companion Pass, so this means that up to 4 separate persons can be designated as your companion.  You can switch back to an earlier companion, but it would count as a “switch” and eat into the 3 changes permitted.

10.   Can I Use my Southwest Companion Pass on Air Tran?

No.  You can’t use your Southwest Companion Pass for flights on Air Tran.  However, Southwest is gradually absorbing Air Tran routes and flights into Southwest and you can use your Companion Pass for any flight on Southwest.

11.  How to Activate Your Southwest Companion Pass

See this post on how to activate your Southwest Companion pass.

12.  How to Use Your Southwest Companion Pass

See this post on how to add a companion to your Southwest reservation.

B)   Southwest Credit Card

1.   Does The Credit Card Sign-up Bonus Count Towards The Companion Pass?

The terms and conditions say that “Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”  But they also say that “points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards” count towards the Companion Pass.  So it is a bit ambiguous.

In practice, the credit card sign-up bonuses currently count towards Companion Pass status.  But it could change anytime.

Even if the points don’t count towards the Companion Pass, you can still redeem them for regular flights on Southwest – 50,000 will get you ~$833 worth of flights.

2.   Is The Annual Fee Waived For First Year?

The $69 annual fee for the Plus card and $99 annual fee for the Premier card is NOT waived for the 1st year.

However, you get 3,000 Southwest points worth ~$50 (3,000 points X 1.67 cents per Southwest point) with the Plus cards & 6,000 Southwest points worth ~$100 (6,000 points X 1.67 cents per Southwest point) with the Premier cards for renewing the card each year.

3.   Can I Get The Sign-on Bonus If I Had The Earlier Southwest Cards From Rapid Rewards 1 Which Offered Credits & Gift Cards?

If you had earlier Southwest credit cards which offered 16 or 32 credits or gift cards, you can still apply for the new Plus or Premier cards and get the bonus.

For example, if you had the Southwest Plus card with 16 credits and cancelled it, you should still get the 50,000 points if you reapply.

4.   Can You Get The Bonus For The Business & Personal Version?

Yes, you can get the bonus for 1 personal (either the Plus or Premier version) & 1 business Southwest card (either the Plus or Premier version).  In my opinion, this is the best route to take if you want to apply for 2 Southwest credit cards.  I’d apply for the personal card first and then the business version.

You could also get the bonus for 2 personal cards, but I don’t have experience with this and it could be harder to explain why you need 2 personal cards.

5.  But I Don’t Have A Business?

As I’ve written before, many folks may qualify for this card even if they don’t currently have a business, but are thinking of starting one.  Or if you’ve dabbled with a business (sold something on ebay, had a garage sale, sold crafts or cookies etc.), but now want to concentrate a bit more on it.

Or you could want a business card to keep your reimbursable business expenses at work separate from your personal expenses.

You usually have to enter your social security number on the application form and the credit inquiry will appear on your personal credit report, but the credit line will not appear on your personal credit report.

This means that the average age of your credit history should not decrease because the business credit line doesn’t sit on your personal credit report.

When applying for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, I enter my social security number as the Tax ID in the application form and enter my name as the business name.

If you don’t get approved call the business reconsideration telephone line.

6.   Should I Apply For 1 Personal & 1 Business Card At The Same Time or 1 After The Other?

If you apply for 1 Chase card, your 2nd application almost always will be declined online.  But if you call the Chase reconsideration line you can usually negotiate an approval for the card.

I’d apply for the personal card first and then the business version.

7.   What Are The Personal & Business Reconsideration Telephone Numbers?

More details in this MilePoint thread.

See this post for tips on how to negotiate an approval after calling the reconsideration department.

8.   What Questions Does The Business Reconsideration Department Ask?

The questions have got more detailed over the years.  Expect to be asked when you started your business, how long it has been established, what your business does, your revenue, sales, and profits from the last 2 or 3 years.

What are your future projections for revenue, sales, & profits?

9.  Can You Get The Bonus For The Plus & Premier Personal Cards or Plus & Premier Business Cards?

Usually you can get the bonus for different card types (Plus vs. Premier) with Chase.  I’ve personally got the bonus on the Plus personal card, cancelled it and got the bonus on the Premier card and so have other readers.

But I haven’t had the Plus AND the Premier at the SAME time.  But you can eventually get the bonus for all 4 cards.

10.   Can 2 People Apply For The Cards Separately, But Put In The Same Southwest Rapid Reward Account Number?  Or Do We Have To Put In Our Individual Rapid Rewards Numbers.

You should always put in your Rapid Rewards number in the application.  However, some readers have entered in a different Rapid Rewards number in the application (mistakes happen), but have got the points credited to a different Rapid Rewards account.

But this could be a big pain to sort out if the Southwest points don’t post to your account, so do this at your own risk.

11.  How Do I Know If I Have Already Have the Plus or Premier Version?

a.   You could call the number at the back of the card to ask.

b.  The Premier cards have a $99 fee, but the Plus cards have a $69 fee.  You can check your statements online and the 1st or 2nd statement will have the annual fee.

c.  The Premier cards are blackish in color and the Plus cards are bluish in color.  See the image of the cards on the Airline Credit Card tab and compare them to the cards you have.

C)   Timing

1.   Any Idea When These 50,000 Point Offers End?

I don’t know, but I expect them to last for at least ~1 month.  The 50,000 point offers have come and gone every 2 or 3 months for the last 2 years so I wouldn’t worry about missing it, because they will likely happen again.

2.  When’s The Best Time To Apply For These Cards? Now Or Wait For Some Time?

In my opinion, you should apply for the cards in the last few months of 2012.  Start spending on the card, but don’t spend more than $2,000 in your 1st billing cycle.

3.  Why Should I Not Spend $2,000 In My 1st Billing Cycle If I Want The Companion Pass Up To 2014?

If you spend $2,000 in your 1st billing cycle, the 50,000 points credit-card sign-up bonus *may* hit your Southwest account in 2012.  In that case, you will have to earn the remaining points for the Companion Pass in 2012 (the points you earned toward the Companion Pass will reset to 0 in 2013).

And your Companion Pass will be valid only up to the end of 2013…instead of up to the end of 2014.

4.  What Should I Do To Get A Companion Pass Valid Up To The End Of 2014?

If you apply for the cards now, you should get them in ~10 days or by the 3rd week of November.  You have 3 months or up to the 3rd week of February 2013 to complete the $2,000 minimum spending requirements on each card.

You can start spending on the card, but BE SURE (this is important!) not to spend more than $2,000 in the 1st billing cycle which ends in December 2012.

Note that whatever amount you spend in your 1st billing cycle, say $500, will NOT count towards the Companion Pass in 2012, because the Companion Pass counter resets to 0 on January 1, 2013.  However, this could be worth not having to rush to complete the minimum spending in a shorter period of time.

By putting off the minimum spending you ensure that the points don’t post to your Southwest Rapid Rewards until 2013, which means that you have the whole of 2013 to earn the 110,000 points needed for the Southwest Companion Pass.

If you earn 110,000 Companion Pass points in 2013, your Companion Pass is valid from when you cross 110,000 points up to the end of 2014.

5.   What If I’ve Already Got 50,000 Southwest Points Earlier This Year?

If you’ve already got 50,000 Southwest points from earlier this year, you don’t have much time to earn the remaining points needed for the Companion Pass.  Log into your account to see how many Companion Pass qualifying points you have.

You could get another credit card for 50,000 points and spend $2,000 as soon as possible and ideally ~8 days before your statement closes to ensure that the points post in 2012 and help get you to 110,000 points for the Companion Pass.  But it will be very close.

D)   Other Ways to Earn Companion Pass Qualifying Points

1.   How To Check How Many Companion Pass Qualifying Points You Have?

You can check how many points you have towards the Companion Pass by clicking this link and signing into your Southwest account.

2.   How To Get Extra  Points For The Southwest Companion Pass?

If you apply for 2 Southwest credit cards and spend $2,000 on each of them and the points post post to your account in 2013, you will have earned 104,000 points out of the 110,000 points needed for the Southwest Companion Pass.  That’s 100,000 points from 2 credit card sign-up bonuses & 2,000 points on each card by meeting the minimum spending requirements.

So you need an extra 6,000 Companion Pass qualifying points to earn the Companion Pass.  Of course, you can spend $6,000 on your credit cards, but there are easier and cheaper ways.  Here are 3 possible ways (not necessarily the best ways for you):

a)   Transfer Choice Hotel Points.   Buy 18,000 Choice hotel points for $198 and transfer them to 5,400 Southwest points.  Thanks to mike fien for suggesting this because it is cheaper than buying Marriott points.  5,400 Southwest points are worth ~$90, so your net cost is $108.

b)  Buy Flowers.  Teleflora offers 1,000 Southwest points for buying flowers.  So you could buy flowers for  $45 per 1,000 Southwest points (~$30 for the flowers + $15 delivery charge).  So you’d spend ~$270 for flowers and earn 6,000 Southwest points (worth ~$100).

Update:  Adam K posted a link to a Teleflora offer with up to 2,000 Southwest points per purchase (depending on the purchase amount)

c)   Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.  For example, you can transfer 12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and from Hyatt transfer them to 6,000 Southwest points.

See this post on 10 ways to get extra Companion Pass qualifying points by crediting car rentals, transferring hotel points etc.

3.  Can I Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards Towards Companion Pass Requirement?

You can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest in a 1:1 ratio, but those points do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.

But you CAN first transfer points from Chase Ultimate rewards to either Hyatt or Marriott hotels, and then you can transfer Hyatt or Marriott points to Southwest Airlines.   However, the transfer ratio is NOT 1:1, so you will “lose” some Ultimate Rewards points, but this is totally worth it to get a companion to fly with you for free for close to 2 years!

For example, you can transfer 12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and from Hyatt transfer them to 6,000 Southwest points.

4.  Can I Transfer Points From American Express Membership Rewards Towards Companion Pass Requirement?

American Express Membership Rewards points (the loyalty program of certain American Express credit cards) CANNOT be transferred directly to Southwest Airlines.

But you can transfer 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 20,000 Choice hotel points and then transfer 20,000 Choice hotel points to 6,000 Southwest points.

Bottom Line

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best miles and points deals for domestic travel.  And if timed correctly, you can have a companion fly with you for free for almost 2 years!

As always, there is no guarantee that the points earned from the credit cards will count towards the Companion Pass, but here’s hoping they continue to count!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 7,500+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another Southwest Companion Pass update!

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

797 Responses to How to Fly (Almost) Free For Two Years on Southwest!

  1. @Ranchid – All four offers are back and I had a post on it yesterday.

  2. A follow up to a post by me from a few days ago. I had transferred marriott points to earn a southwest companion pass and the points posted but it did not show up as earning a pass on my status.read as zero points towards pass status for 2014. Turns out I did earn a companion pass but they posted it to dec 31 2013 when I called Marriott and not on the day the points actually posted in 2014. I mistakenly assumed that it would count with the day it was posted and not ordered and missed out on a full year of companion pass use. Good lesson to anyone too eager to earn as me. Next year will wait until jan 1 and get the full two years.

  3. Hi Daraius

    Really enjoyed this post (and several others of yours) – great content on how to get a lot of value out of “the system”

    I wanted to offer you a suggestion on formatting since several of your posts require a multi-step approach to get max value.

    One thing that would be very helpful is a stepped instruction list or table of the exact order in which to complete the steps

    I.e.

    1. Apply for SW personal card
    2. Apply for SW business card
    3. Call reconsideration Number
    4. Transfer chase points to Hyatt
    5. Transfer Hyatt points to SW
    6. Enjoy free travel to awesome destinations

    Something straightforward like that would make it really easy to execute – obviously affiliate links could be embedded as well

    Just a thought.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. @Jeffrey – Thanks for the update. I’ll have a reminder post on that soon.

    @Chris – That’s a great idea. I’ll get working on it!

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  7. Hello, thank you for the post. I still have a question on earning bonus with 2 personal cards. I applied for personal Plus card in October 2013 and got 50000 bonus point a week ago and would like to apply for personal Premier card to get additional 50000. But based on the Pricing &Terms for the offer:
    2. Bonus Points
    …… Previous and existing Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card cardmembers/accounts are not eligible for this bonus offer. Note: the bonus may be earned on one first-time personal and one first-time business Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card new account.

    Does it mean that I don’t get 50K bonus points in case my new Personal Premier card is approved?

    Thank you!

  8. I was approved for both the plus and premier personal cards last October. I did complete the 2k spend on both cards. However, I only received the 50k bonus for the premier card and not the plus card. Anybody else experience that? Does calling southwest work?

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  10. Hello, I just transferred points from Marriott to Southwest, it states it could take up to 6 weeks for this transfer to occur, is that typically how it takes? I am trying to get the companion status in the next 2 wks so trying to figure out if I need to find an alternative for the 5K Southwest points I need to get to 110K.

    Also do you know if it counts as a name change on the companion pass if your spouses legal name changes due to marriage?

    Last question, if I have already booked a flight for both myself and a companion and I receive companion status can I just cancel the companion’s ticket and then re-book with my companion pass?

    Thanks for the intel and all the help!

  11. @Manny – Transfers to Marriott usually take 10 days in my experience. You can add your companion to your flight and then cancel his/her ticket.

  12. Yesterday, I applied online for the Chase Southwest Airlines Premier personal card, and was immediately approved (I assume that I will get the 50,000 mile sign up bonus when I reach the spend requirement). I then applied for the Chase Southwest Airlines Plus Business card, and got a reply that said my application required further review and could take between 10 and 30 days.

    Should I wait for Chase’s decision on the business card? Or should I be proactive and call the reconsideration line to determine what it is that they need to further review? I am willing to ‘split’ the line of credit they gave me on the personal card.

    Your expert guidance on how to secure my business card–as well as its 50,000 mile sign up bonus–will be greatly appreciated.

  13. When does the one time 50,000 point deal finish

  14. @utdad – It depends on what you feel comfortable with, but you could just wait!

    @Rosie – These offers come and go every 3 to 4 months, so I wouldn’t worry about it going away.

  15. I was rejected for the Chase Southwest Airlines Plus Business card, with the reason given as “Too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us”.

    The only other request I initiated with Chase (in my name and SSN) was for their SW Premier personal card which was approved immediately. I have not applied for any other credit card, or credit at all, from any place else My husband has 3 Chase cards in his name (with a 2nd card of each issued for me). We have always paid our bills 100%, and always before due date–even putting them on Chase’s auto-pay.

    How do you suggest I proceed with Chase’s reconsideration line? What specific points should I make/explain?

    Thanks.

  16. I purchased roundtrip Southwest flights for myself and my wife using $$ a few months ago for a Spring Break trip to Orlando in April. I have since gotten the SW credit cards and am very close to having a Companion Pass for 2014/2015 (I will have met the spending requirements as of my billing cycle ending 3/2/14). Once I receive the Companion Pass (which I assume will come sometime in March), will I be able to cancel my wife’s ticket paid with $$ and re-add her as a free Companion to the paid ticket that I’ve previously purchased for myself? I’d ideally want to do this without cancelling my ticket as the price has gone up since I purchased it. If so, would she just have the $$ we previously spent on her ticket available as a credit for future flights? Also, not sure if it makes a difference, but our return flight is now sold out…I assume if we called Southwest and asked an agent to just cancel her paid fare and rebook immediately as free Companion, it wouldn’t matter since her seat would become available as soon as the cancel the paid fare…just wondering if anyone has any experience with this.

    Thanks!

  17. @UTDAD – You can explain how you’d use it for business etc.

    @Mark – You can add your wife as a companion without canceling your ticket as long as Southwest is still selling seats on your flights (can by any seats). She’d get the ticket price as a credit, but has to use it for a flight for herself (can’t book for anyone else etc.).

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  19. I have a few thousand points in my Chase Freedom MasterCard that have been earned through normal purchases. Normally, I just exchange these points for a cash credit on my bill.

    But is there a way to easily convert my Chase Freedom MasterCard points into either 1) United Airlines (MileagePlus) miles or 2) Southwest Airlines (Rapid Rewards) points?

    Thanks.

  20. Do you have an affiliate link for the southwest personal and business plus cards? I want to apply through your links to thank you for all the info I’ve gained from your site, but I’m targeting the plus versions right now to save $30 on each annual fee and potentially be eligible to upgrade to the premier in the future to bonus again. Thanks.

  21. @UTDAD – There sure is as long as you or your partner have a Chase Sapphire Preferred/Ink Bold/Plus

    @Dave – I don’t have an affiliate link to the Plus cards, but check out the Hot Deals tab for non-affiliate links to those cards. Thanks for thinking of us!

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  23. Hi Darius,

    I’ve been successfully able to get the 50k sign on points apply towards the companion pass from BOTH of the PLUS cards I had applied for. I’m only 900 points away from the companion pass!

    I’ve read and followed your post which assisted me in getting this close (Thank you!). The only thing I’m unsure of is when to cancel these cards without adversely affecting my credit history. If you have a blog on that, can you kindly point me to it?

    Thanks a million (miles)!
    Abe

  24. Thanks to your site I successfully got both personal cards–the Plus and the Premier. Southwest assures me that they are linked to my account and I’ll qualify for companion pass without a business card.
    Silver lining of kids getting braces and lousy dental insurance is, it’s easy to reach the qualifying amount on my credit card!
    Also wanted to remind potential customers that even if you spend a lot of $ right away the miles arent available immediately–you have to wait until the end of the billing cycle for Chase to transfer the credits to Southwest.
    Thanks

  25. From B)Southwest Credit Card , #9 Can You Get The Bonus For The Plus & Premier Personal Cards or Plus & Premier Business Cards?

    What kind of bonus you are referring? Is that some bonus other than 50k sign on points?

  26. @Abe – Congrats! Here’s a post which could help!

    @susan – Congrats!

    @ Lenon – It was referring to the sign-up bonus.

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  31. Hi Darius!
    I’m having a dilemma- I’ve had the Premier card for a year and just got charged the 99 annual fee. I’m considering closing it to avoid that fee and then applying for 2 SW cards early next year to try to get the companion passes for 2015/2016. Is this a good idea? My credit score is 838.

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  35. HI Darius

    So I am probably about a month or so away from qualifying for the companion pass. Is there any way in the meantime to book travel with points for both myself and my companion for travel later in the year and then substitute out his companion pass for his points?

    Betty

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  39. Darius:

    Based on your extensive knowledge, when do you expect Chase to again offer the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus for the Southwest Airlines suite of cards? I got the Premier Personal card in February, and will need to get one additional one in 2014 to earn the Companion Pass.

  40. @Betty – You can book travel for yourself now and add your husband as the companion (provided Southwest is still selling seats on that flight) once you get your companion pass.

    @UTDAD – I’d guess in ~ 1 or 2 months.

  41. Following up on a previous post: Unfortunately, I got a letter after inquiring about the last of (3) 50k bonuses I was expecting stating that since I had a plus card in the past, I wasn’t eligible for another 50k. Not churnable for me unfortunately. Also, now their fine print states you can only recieve one 50k bonus per personal or business card. I had signed up for 3 thinking I’d get 150k and instant companion pass…not the case. Still super easy to get anyway!

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  43. I used my companion pass for the first time this week (thanks!!). Not sure if this has been mentioned before but I ended up getting burned on early bird check-in. We had booked our flights and paid for EBCI awhile ago. A few weeks ago, prices dropped and we switched to an earlier flight. When you have a companion reservation, you have to physically cancel the reservation, then change the flight for the rest of your party and then rebook the companion ressie. I didn’t read the fine print on EBCI to know that it doesn’t transfer over when you cancel a flight and rebook. So, imagine my surprise when I got to the airport and my family had A30-32 and I had C11!!. I lost the $12.50 plus was virtually the last to board. Luckily, the flight wasn’t sold out and they were able to save me a seat. Lesson learned!

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  46. Regarding SW cards from Chase:

    How long do I have to NO LONGER be a card holder to again receive the 50,000 point sign-up bonus (when offered)?

  47. @utdad – Usually 2 years, but your experience could be different!

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  51. My companion pass expires at the end of the year, can I book in 2014 for travel in 2015?

  52. @burbon – Unfortunately, your pass has to be valid in the year in which you book travel.

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  54. I have a referral offer from Southwest for the PREMIER card. 50k bonus points. $99 annual fee. If interested email me at ttmosby@Gmail.com

  55. Guys, i have some SW PLUS card referral’s left and if anyone in need can mail me manu4986@yahoo.com

    Bonus is 50k for 2k spend with $69 annual fee

  56. Patricia Johnson

    I signed up for the card in February when they ran the 50000 mile promotion – I just called Chase as those points had not posted and they tried to tell me my promotion was $100 waiver only and 10000 points. After some discussion they credited the 50000 but took away the $100 waiver. When I then questioned companion status they told me those 50000 would not count. Any suggestions – have 80000 with those and was going to push to get the miles needed.

  57. Patricia Johnson

    I signed up for the card in February when they ran the 50000 mile promotion. I called today to see why I had not received those points and was told my offer was $100 waiver and 10000 points. After a discussion they gave me the additional 40000 miles but took away the $100 waiver. When I questioned them about companion status pass – they told me that those points do not count. The conversation here seems to indicate they do count. Any help or suggestions.

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  62. Now that you advised that the Chase SW 50,000 bonus was back, I applied again a few days ago for the SW Business Plus card, and got a pop-up message that essentially said that Chase “needs some time to think about it”. This is the same message I got when I applied for it back in January, but was eventually declined. At that time, I called Chase to discuss it, but could not convince them to change their mind. But also in January, they immediately approved me for the SW Premier Personal card. Their Reconsideration Line for the Business Card told me that they needed 3-4 months to see how I used/paid for my Personal Card. I have charged $3,000 – $4,000 each month, and paid the balance in full immediately upon getting the bill and well prior to its due date.

    I don’t get it. Chase was OK with immediately giving me a personal card with a high credit limit, but did not want to give me a card for my business expenses. I even offered to reduce the line of credit on the SW Personal Card.

    My question: What “magic words” should I use to get Chase to approve my newest application for a SW Business card?

  63. @UT DAD – I’d wait until you get a letter in the mail. Sometimes you may get approved after the wait.

  64. We officially got our companion pass after doing everything you suggested on your blog!! woo hoo. As soon as the 110th thousand point got added to our account, it sent an email saying Congratulations you qualified for companion pass status. We started with the personal credit card and then tried to apply for a business card on the same day, but it rejected us. We forgot to call the reconsideration line within 30 days so we had to wait and reapply for the business one 30 days later and were automatically approved. Took a few months to get the points, but now we have 123,000 pts and a companion pass through Dec 2015! Thanks for all your tips and suggestions – we didn’t even know about this until reading your blog! so awesome!

  65. @Ranchid – Thanks for sharing your success.  Those are my favorite kinds of emails! Safe travels.

  66. okay, this advice seems to be excellent. However, I’m a little fuzzy on the details. If I get a Southwest card with 50,000 bonus points now and wait until November or December to get another one with 50,000 points, can I finish the spending in 2014 but watch my account so that it rolls over into the beginning of 2015? Technically, I would have earned the 110,000 points in 2014 but it didn’t roll over until the beginning of 2015. When would my pass be good all of 2015 and 2016?

  67. @Mara You have to earn 110,000 in one calendar year. So getting 50,000 points now from one SW card would start the clock ticking on 2014. You are best to get both cards as close together as possible. If you want the CP to be valid 2015-2016 you should wait to apply for the 50,000 point cards towards the end of 2014 and make sure you don’t complete the required spending until after the beginning of 2015. That way the bonus points will be awarded/earned in 2015.

  68. Is the Bonus offer still valid for Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus® Business Card?

    The top of your blog says “This offer is currently no longer available. “

  69. @Mara – Your account resets to 0 in 2015, so it wouldn’t work.

    @Jay – It is currently available!

  70. I was able to get 50K points each by applying for BOTH a Plus and a Premier card. I already had the Business card so I ended up with 156K points in a calendar year, easily exceeding the 110K minimum needed for companion status.

  71. Interested in southwest plus card and compainion flys free

  72. Hello!

    Great article, I greatly appreciate the info!!! I have had a plus or premiere account for over a year. If I cancel it to get the other account to get more points. Do I lose my current points on my existing account? Should I do both personal accounts before doing a business one?

    Thank you so much!!!

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  78. Amy Levin, I just recieved the Southwest Premier 2 weeks ago and am considering applying for the Plus. It seems that people are getting different results in regards to getting the $50K bonus on 2 personal cards. How much time went by before you applied for the 2nd personal card? I want to do it, but am nervous that I won’t get the points by applying for another SW personal card, thus just waisting $69 – $95. Please help! I don’t have a business, so the SW business card is out of the question for me. Thanks

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  80. usednavyman

    If anybody is interested.

    I have an offer from Southwest for the Plus Credit Card. You will get 50000 bonus points. The annual fee is $69.00. There is no blackout dates and you can use the points to book someone else a flight if you want. This offer is good till Sept 30, 2014. Please email me at patomaha@yahoo.com and I will email you the offer. 50k is good for two round trip tickets to most places.

  81. Chase is getting picky these days.
    I got plus and premier earlier this year completed spent requirement got bonus for plus card but for premier got a letter saying you got points last year so will not get again this year. Letter also said I will not get points for 2 years. This happened in April.

    In June applied to sapphire which was approved and then thought of applying for southwest business card which was pending so called them for reconsideration. It was denied so made a request to reconsider and he looked at it and then still denied due to business is very new (I told 6 month old) and 4 cards applied in last 6 months.

    Now I am in need of 50k points to get companion pass for next year, any ideas?

  82. Thank you for your very detailed tips. We got our Companion Pass last weekend, along with 113k points. Now I just need to wait for SW to start servicing flights to the Caribbean.

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  84. Hi, I have a Plus personal and a Premier business card. My husband holds a Premier personal and a Premier business. We currently have 2 companion passes that expire the end of this year. (We travel with 4 kids). How do I go about doing this again? Do I need to cancel all 4 and then apply for the opposite, or could I apply with them open an still qualify (Plus instead of Premier)? How long would I need to wait? Also, if I can do it again with the opposite cards, then, would that be the last time I could do it? I seem to see others that keep earning it over and over again. Thank you for your time.

  85. @Danielle – You could try getting a different version of the cards.

  86. Hi, thank you. What I was wondering is if I would need to first cancel the ones I have, and also, how long should I wait to apply for the other versions?

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  89. I’ve applied for both personal and been approved and just applied for a business southwest cards through your website.
    I just noticed an interesting wrinkle. On the lower cost business card it allows a “Limited Time transfer bonus” up to 10,000 points. Earn 1 point per $1 in balance transfers. Yes, there is a transfer fee of 3% or $300. I’m assuming this 10,000 points would count towards the 110,000 point qualification. I know this might not be the most cost-effective route, but it sure looks easy.

  90. I currently have the Chase Plus card and received the bonus last year. I recently received the Premier and am uncertain if I will receive the bonus with a new personal card. Chase claimed I will receive the bonus when I called to activate the card. Any recent data points?

  91. Does the 5,000 point bonus from referring a friend count towards the companion pass ?

  92. I recently applied for both the personal version of the plus and premier cards, and did receive the the 50k bonus on both, The 110k qualifying points posted to my acct on the 22nd of July, still no email from southwest and the website shows the companion pass is still inactive, even though i have credit for the qualifying points. Do you recommend waiting or do you think I should call southwest as it has been 3 days since i have had 110k points.
    Thanks in advance.

  93. Matt Gameover

    Can you clarify on this, it says that benefits last a ‘calendar year’. With the credit card nerf to 25k miles instead of 50k, I’m curious to know how this factors in. If I earn it in August, will it only last through December 31 of the same year? That’s what it seems to me but I am not familiar with the old/previous language.
    “Companion Pass qualification will be based on a calendar year. Once Companion Pass status is earned, the Member can begin using his/her Companion Pass immediately once they have designated a Companion. The Member will maintain Companion Pass status for the remainder of the calendar year in which the status was earned and for the entire calendar year immediately following. To continue receiving Companion Pass privileges, the Member must re-qualify each calendar year.”
    Thanks!

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  95. Hi Darius,

    The Choice Hotel Points DO NOT count towards the companion pass! I found out the hard way! You might want to remove that information from this page. Thanks for the rest of the info though!

  96. @Matt Gameover – It is valid until December 31 of the NEXT year.

    @Tai – Thanks! I’ll check it out.

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