How to Activate Your Southwest Companion Pass

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I wrote about the Southwest Companion Pass in November and explained what a terrific deal it is!  You need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points within 1 calendar year (January 1 to December 31st) year.  However, the 50,000 point bonus from the Southwest credit cards are currently counting towards the companion pass (though this could change at any time).

I already had points transferred from hotel programs in my Southwest account, so I was waiting for the points from the Southwest credit card to post.  They posted on January 21, 2013 and on January 22, 2013, I received an email from Southwest that I had earned the Companion Pass!

How to Activate Your Southwest Companion Pass

Note that you CAN add a companion to an existing booking once you’ve earned the Companion Pass.  So it doesn’t hurt to make points or cash bookings for Southwest flights during a fare sale and add your companion once you earn the Companion Pass.

Step 1 – Wait For Email or Check Account

You should receive an email that you’ve earned the Southwest Companion Pass a few days after you earn the 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points within 1 calendar year.

Southwest Companion Pass Status-001

Southwest Companion Pass Email

The subject line of the email said “Congratulations! You’ve just earned Companion Pass status.”  So you could search for this in your inbox.

Alternatively, you can also log into your Southwest account using this link, and see your Companion Pass status on the Southwest website.  Note that your Companion Pass is valid for the entire year in which you earned it AND up to the end of the following year!  So my companion pass is valid until December 31, 2014.

Southwest Companion Pass Status 1

Southwest Companion Pass Status at Southwest.com

So my Companion Pass is valid until December 31, 2014 for close to 2 years of almost free (Up to $5 security fee per 1-way flight) flying for Emily!

Step 2 – Designate Companion Online or Call Southwest

The easiest way to designate a companion is to log into your Southwest account using this link, and designate your Companion on the Southwest website.

Note that you can change your designated companion up to 3 times during the validity of your Companion Pass, so choose wisely!

Just fill out the online form to designate your companion.

Southwest Companion Pass Status 2

Designate Your Companion Online

Designate Your Companion Online

After submitting the form, you will see that the field “Your Companion Details” has been instantly updated with your companions information and you can add a companion to existing reservations.

Southwest Companion Pass Status 3

Companion Designated Immediately

Alternatively, you could call Southwest at 1-800-248-4377 to designate a companion, but I prefer doing it online.

Bottom Line

Activating your Southwest Companion Pass is really easy and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to do online.  But you’re allowed only 3 changes to your Companion across the life of your Companion Pass, so choose your companion carefully!

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll see how to add your companion to an existing reservation.

PS:  I’m traveling so I won’t  be able to get to the comments quickly.

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77 responses to “How to Activate Your Southwest Companion Pass

  1. What happened to today’s earlier post?

  2. I did this last week at southwest.com but havent received the card yet. When looking at it again, the address didnt show the line 2 and that made me thinking whether I entered it or not. Now that I see your screen I am thinking that is more a display thing and hopefully I entered the apt no and they print it in the label.

    Did you fill up address line 2?

  3. I actually asked this question a couple weeks ago on another MMS posting. Turns out there was a reason I couldn’t find my companion pass acceptance on the SW site. I hadn’t met the 110,000 miles. I thought I had at the time. I had 115,000 miles but only 108,000 miles were eligible for the companion pass at that point. See other MMS post for detailed info on what kinds of points are eligible for the pass. Some of mine were for the past year which don’t count. Yesterday I finally achieved it. I moved 3,000 UR points to Hyatt + transferred 1,000 Hyatt points from my wife’s account to mine. That + my exist 1,200 Hyatt points finally put me above the min 5,000 Hyatt points to transfer to SW. 5,000 Hyatt = 2,400 SW. Once I met the 110,000 the companion pass was clearly evident as Daraius points out in this write up. As a sidenote, I applied for both the personal and business version at the same time. I was denied for both. Had to call. Was approved for one. Called back. Approved for the other. Had to move credit lines around. Daraius has another post on phone numbers to call for reconsideration for each issuer. It’s a good reference. There was no phone # on the denial letter for one of the cards. I could see how newbies might just toss the letter and wish for better luck next time.

  4. How funny that you posted today.

    I checked and confirmed I met the required miles this morning and got an email a few minutes later from SW. Now to start booking flights in the next day or so with the fare sale currently running.

  5. I am getting very close to my companion pass, so this post couldn’t come a better time. I have two questions:

    1.) Do you have a particular reason to believe that signup bonus miles from CCs might not count toward companion pass in the future?

    2.) I didn’t know you could make changes to your designated companion. Does this mean I could designate person A, and then switch to a person B (change one), then to person C (second change) and finally person D (third change)?

  6. So if I apply to two credit cards I can still get the 110,000 points to get the companion pass? Thanks for the answer!

  7. @Kent,
    Thank you for making that distinction between the past year’s points and this year’s. Do you know if the spend made in December but statement closed in Jan, will those points qualify for companion pass 110k mark?

  8. If you book travel through Southwest.com that is operated by AirTran, can you use your Southwest companion pass benefit? Or does it only apply on Southwest-operated flights?

  9. I got the 50k pts for meeting the spend a couple of months ago but it didn’t count for qualifying points. TC within Rapid Rewards specifically says points from bonuses don’t count toward Alist or Alist Preferred. Am I missing something?
    “Tier qualifying flights are revenue flights purchased and flown.
    Tier qualifying points are earned from revenue flights during the qualifying year or through select Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase and are exclusive of bonuses or promotions.”

  10. Both my wife and I applied in early December for the personal and business cards. We both had to call the reconsideration line for the business card, but were both approved. We then waited until January to meet our spends and extra to qualify for our companion passes. She got hers last week and I got mine in today’s mail. We met the spend and extra through a combination of things… Charge Smart for two mortgages, Teleflora for Valentines flowers, hotel transfers, and a significant tax payment. Thanks for alerting us to this outstanding opportunity for my wife, I and two kids to travel. Final accounting= 227,000 miles and two companion passes good until the end of 2014.

  11. Yea…what happened to the earlier ad?
    The one about buying Vanilla Reload cards in Vegas at Travel Centers of America and some west coast supermarket chain?
    Granted, it was a weak article but I was looking forward to the comments!

    I did note that there no pics of smiling people holding lots of Vanilla Reload cards – just boring pics of the cards on the shelf.

  12. @pas
    I spent in Dec on both cards. Points for those purchases counted towards 2013 because the statement closed in 2013. That was my experience. Majority of my spend was in January. One way to check what is qualifying for you currently – go to your account on SW. Sign in.
    1. next to your miles count on the right side of the page there is the small word “details” in blue. Click on it.
    2. that will bring up your “reward activity details”
    3. for the 1st drop down box called VIEW, choose current year to date
    4. for the 2nd drop down box called TYPE choose “Companion Pass Qualifying Points”. Hit UPDATE!
    Your eligible points for the companion pass can be added up. Unfortunately they don’t total them for you. Hope that helps.

  13. @pas and @Kent C
    an easier way to see your Companion Pass progress is to sign in, then:
    1. under, “Hello, Xxxx Rapid Rewards Member” is “My Account” in blue. Click on it.
    2. that will bring up the “Snapshot” tab of your Rapid Rewards Account, Click on the “My Rapid Rewards” tab.
    3. that will bring up the “My Rapid Rewards” tab and in the left hand margin will be a “Companion Pass” summary. Displaying a progress %, Qualifying Point Earned and Needed

  14. Has anyone had any luck getting both of the personal cards (plus and premier) instead of one personal and one business? BTW, I plan on having my first SW card cancelled before I apply for the 2nd.

    Some background: I already had the premier but the miles posted in 2012 and I wanted the 2013 companion pass for 2 yrs. I got the business card and my wife got the personal card and I tried to get both bonuses into my account but no luck – they somehow found out and hers went to her own and my bonus to mine so I am still 50,000 short on both my account and mine. And my wife is unlikely to qualify for the business card due to her short credit history so my only realistic option is to somehow try to get a second personal card.

    So I just canceled my personal premier. Plan to wait a few weeks and apply for the plus card (its been more than 120 days since my last chase apply too). Hope this works since I really want that companion pass but wanted to see if anyone else had any luck.

  15. The 50k sign-up bonuses are back as of today!

    @Chris – I currently have 2 personnel Southwest cards.

  16. I was 623 points shy and transferred in 750 converted points from Raddisson. They are not posting against my CP account after several days and now a 2nd email to Southwest. Sort of frustrating. Partner points, so I understand, ARE supposed to count toward CP. And for some reason it’s taking my Chase SW card RR points a year to post after statement close. 623 damn points. Grrrr

  17. I activated my CP earlier this month! I am so excited! But on Sunday, I called SW and asked how many times I could change my Companion and she said 3 times a year. And I asked for clarification, I said I can change it 3 times this year and 3 times in 2014? She said yes. Does anyone know if the CSR is correct?

  18. interesting and useful article….. as far as I know from the website you can change your companion 3 times total… Also Darius, more info on using it would be great,I’ve muddled my way through for the past year+ (woohoo) but I have had to call SWA a few times when trying to make changes on booked airifare with a CP linked to ti. It always works out fine, but it isn’t quite as simple as a regular change on a flight (i.e. for lower fare,etc.)

  19. Also, I am quite curious about doing this again next year…. in the past I’ve had a couple of SWA cc’s, closed them, this last time I opened a business and regular,only kept one open (use it all the time) but could I potentially apply for another 2 cards by next Nov/Dec,trying to get that CP for 2014? OR would I need to close my current card to do that? And (just checking) if I closed my current SWA ,I keep my points,right? SO another SWA cc would just link to my current RR acct.,and build from there?

  20. My husband has had the CP for the past 6 years I think–we put a lot of business spending on our SWA card so that we make sure we get it each year. Here’s the lowdown on companion bookings: if there is any empty seat on a flight you can book your companion. You make your reservation first online and then it takes a while (sometimes even overnight) for the “book companion” option to show up on your reservation. If you need to do it fast you have to call. Changes are a little more involved so sometimes it’s easier to call for this–have to cancel both tix before you can make a change and then rebook your companion if you’re doing it online. This is an amazing perk that saves us thousands every year! Lets hope they keep it forever! I’m just waiting on code shares with AirTran so we can do the Caribbean locations for free too!!

  21. A few months ago, you mentioned a promotion whereby you get 10,000 miles per month for opening a ‘savings ‘account with
    a financial institution. I believe its for a six figure deposit. I could not find the blog, and have inquired with my local banks,
    but they seem to know nothing about it. Thanks.

  22. I have received my first 50,000 points and they show up in my account but the “progress” toward “A-list” or Companion Pass still shows 0% as if they are not counting any of these miles………….is that typical or should I be seeing progress?

  23. @ScottWells – Sometimes the progress bars take a day or two to update. The A-List status will stay at 0% as the credit card bonuses don’t count towards status 1 for 1. For every 10k in spend, you get 1500 tier status points AFAIK.

  24. I’ve had the companion pass for about a year and was told you could change your companion up to 4 times per calendar year. Did that change?

  25. CHASE isn’t dumb. They are well aware that a huge incentive for getting two SW VISAs is that those initial points count toward companion status. CHASE also enjoys the annual fees which aren’t waived the first year. I seriously think SW won’t fiddle with this lucrative partner relationship unless a substantial increase in companion passes shows up on their radar. And, honestly, the number of Rapid Rewards members with both a SW personal and business VISA is probably a lot less than you think.

  26. @Greg, and @Kent,
    Thank you.

  27. In the first screenshot for adding your companion, there appears to be an auto-populated phone number. You might want to blank that out.

  28. Darius,

    My husband has the companion pass until the end of this year. I am so nervous that this perk will go away. Two things has anyone had an experience where you already have the companion but you hit 110000 again this year. Because you already have companion do they bump you to that status until 2015 or just until the end of 2014.

    Thank you ! I look forward to meeting and thanking you in person at FTU.

    Christine

  29. @christine as soon as you hit 110,000 this year you earn it for the next year. You can move your spending to another card at that point since your companion has already been earned.

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  31. HollyS….what does that mean? ‘as soon as you eran the 110k for this year,you earn it for the next year’?
    If I have a cp now,and want it for next year 2014,don’t I have to wait to accrue those 110k pionts till the next calendar year rolls over (Jan. statement?) Thanks

  32. @JM – When you earn comp pass status, you receive it for the remainder of the current calendar year, as well as the next. so, for example, I just hit comp pass status this month and it expires 12/31/2014. It should show you on the comp pass status page the expiration date.

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  34. Opened the personal card, but got denied on the business card. I called for reconsideration. Do you just openly lie to them about opening a card and say that you have a business established and your revenue is your current income?

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  36. Can anyone confirm if this is still working? This is what it says on Southwests website.

    “Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights, points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”

  37. @SL – I never lie on the application and let them know if it is a new business or a business which I’ve been thinking of forming.

    @Derrick - It does currently work.

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  39. Can you give me a bit of guidance here, please, so I can make sure I understand it? (I know the 50,000 bonus expired a few days back, but I want to be ready when it returns). Facts: Hubby and I haven’t had a Southwest credit card for more than a year. We have a business. We have two sons and family living in cities served by SW. A companion pass would be fantastic. We currently fly very infrequently (generally on Hawaiian Airlines, where we have 240,000 miles currently; or Southwest, where we have very few because they’re typically short-range flights) but average $10,000 monthly on existing HA credit card and a Costco AmEx. All are paid off in full each month; credit rating is high. Would the advice be for *one* of us to get the Personal Premium card and the *same* one of us to get a Business Premium card? Would this give us close to the 110,000 needed in one account for a companion pass? Then we could easily spend the next $10,000 on the SW credit cards to get there. Is this a correct assumption? Does the spending have to be only on one of the cards or, if both were in one name, would it automatically pool in one account? Does this scenario make sense for us?

  40. @Tonya – There are still links to the 50K offer on the Airline credit card tab. One person can get the business and personal card and the 50K bonus with each card which will get you 100K points towards the 110 needed for the companion pass. The same person should get both cards since you can’t pool the points together. See this post for more details.

  41. 3 months ago my wife received the SW 50K offer in the mail. She was going to throw it out, but I decided to check it out. Who knew where that was going to lead us – didn’t even know what a credit card churn was. She got the SW premier and business, just received companion pass yesterday! I have a freedom, sapphire, and ink. We have 2 businesses,so meeting spending requirements was easy.Had some denials with applications, but thanks to Daraiuses pointers we were accepted on all. Your MMS site -with links to other sites, great guidance to a rookie. Just received 2 club carlson cards , personal and business. VERY TOUGH – but 4 phone calls later was approved. 3 Months ago knew nothing about points – today 6 cards, 1 CP, and over 300,000 points. THANKS Daraius for all the info.!

  42. @AM - Thanks for sharing your successes! Those are my favorite kind of comments. :) Safe travels wherever your miles and points may take you!

  43. Does anybody know if the bonus points from southwest partners such as EnergyPlus count toward the companion pass? I just received 20k bonus from EnergyPlus but they didn’t count towards my companion pass. Maybe its only through the credit card that this works or do I need to make a phone call?

  44. @ben - Some partner bonuses count and some don’t. I wouldn’t call if the bonus didn’t count towards the companion pass. Thanks for sharing!

  45. Update : the points I get from EnergyPlus count towards the companion pass but the bonus points don’t count. I’m about 15k short but should find all the points by monday. Thanks for the tips

  46. @ben – Thanks for sharing!

  47. Hi Darius,

    I changed my companion 2 days ago and I wanted to share my experience. It was SUPER EASY!!!

    The rep I talked to just needed my companion’s information, and since he was a Rapid Rewards member, it made it very easy. He was able to change my companion right away, and add them to one of my upcoming trips, which I was able to verify since it was already showing up on my online account.

    He mentioned that I can change my companion 3 times during a CALENDAR year which opens up many more doors, since it seems that I can have up to 7 (1 + 3changes year 1+ 3 changes year 2) companions during the maximum life of the companion pass. It was also up to me to send back the card, which seems like a policy SW had on paper, but didn’t really serve any purpose. YMMV on sending back the companion card.

    It was such an easy experience which makes me LOVE Southwest even more.

  48. @Ben Law - Thanks for sharing. But the terms say that you can change your companion 3 times over the life of the pass, not per calendar year.

  49. Hi, I am 78 point less of 11000 to qualify for companion pass. I have a travel booked for lastweek of may, and I want to somehow get these 78 points asap so that I can make use of the companion pass for my upcoming travel.

    Thank you.

  50. Companion pass plus two little ones equals 1 ticket for four. It’s just a pain to call and add the little ones.

    @sos when does your CC statement post? if it’ll end 5-7 days before your trip then make sure it has at least $78 of spending.. you could also try to find a $59 flight to book and get the air miles.. it’s a matter of how valuable the companion pass is for you..

  51. Just let me add a caution (assuming any transfers to SWA points do count towards a CP):
    Wait til ready to start your spend for the CP, eg Jan-2014. If do hotel points transfer in 2013, then only te spend in 2013 will counts towards the CP, and any accumul spend will be reset to $-0- in Jan-2014 !!

  52. Daraius,

    Since Chase only awards bonus points once for each card type, how did you manage to get the Companion Pass in 2011 and again in 2013?

  53. I have a question, I have about 120K in UR, it is allowed to be transfered to SW, if I do transfer this points, can i qualify for Companion pass, any experience?

  54. @Nelson – THere are 4 different versions of the Southwest card.

    @Nick M. – Unfortunately, transfered points do not count towards the companion pass.

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  56. Does anyone know when Southwest will open up booking for Summer 2014? Currently you can only book until March 7, 2014.

  57. I reached 110,000 points today but when I logged in today it still showed the companion pass status as “not active” even though it showed that I have reached 100% of the points required. So, when can you activate companion pass after reaching 110,000 miles?

  58. @Niranjan – Just wait a day or two and it should get active.

  59. Just got the email confirmation that I have earned my Companion Pass!!! Woohoo! Oh the places we will go! Thank you Daraius! It is a wonderful thing to be able to show my teenage daughter our country before she heads off to college.

  60. @SarahT - That’s wonderful and thanks for sharing!

  61. When you qualify for the CC, do you still get the A-List Preferred perks such as free wi-fi and 100% bonus earning points?

  62. Can one of you help me understand why I’m not receiving CC status? I have 145,498 points earned in this calendar year. 50k from signing up for SW card, 66,000 transferred from the Chase Ink card, and another 25k from flights taken this year. Yet SW is saying I only have 67,000 qualifying points. Even if one of the card bonuses didn’t count toward CC the math would still be wrong given the qualifying flights.

    Any ideas?

  63. @Brent – A List is separate from the companion pass and you don’t earn A List status along with the companion pass.

    @Cole Brown – Points transferred from Ultimate Rewards don’t count, but the points from the CC bonus and flying should count. You can check your companion pass status here.

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  69. I LUV Southwest Airline’s laid back casual people focused style. Recently on a flight, there was a birthday girl on board. She was turning 7. The Stewardess asked everyone to close the window shades, and turn on their Call Attendant buttons. Instantly the Cabin lit up like a long, beautiful birthday cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to a beaming little girl. How do you beat that? Only Southwest Airlines can turn a cabin full of strangers into one big birthday family.

    After reading your blog entry on how not to Screw up Earning Miles for the Companion Pass, I realized I was about to do that. So I ordered my Chase Southwest Plus Card. Based on your recommendations, I had already ordered the Chase Southwest Premier Card. At first I was declined because I had several hits to my credit score from ordering 3 new Credit Cards in the past few months. However, again following suggestions from your blog I called Chase and explained my situation- I needed a credit card for work expenses and one for Business. They approved and I got my card in the mail yesterday!!! I am only $2000 in spending away from the Companion Pass, and 1 flight away from A-List with Southwest.

    I love Southwest’s prices, service and friendly laid back style. And their Rewards Program is unbelievable.

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  72. OK so I got my CP. I designated my spouse as Companion. If we want to fly with my daughter in same flight how do I do this? First I book a ticket for myself, then I add companion and then purchase ticket for my daughter? What would happen if there are no seats left and the flight is booked as I’m booking tickets? How do I do this so we all can fly in the same flight!!

  73. @jaggu – You can do a test first to see if 3 seats (any fare price) is available. If so, you can book 2 seats (1 for you and your daughter) and then add your wife as your companion.

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  76. I got my last credit card bonus posted this morning, but Southwest isn’t showing that my Companion Pass is available. I have 126,000 qualifying companion pass points, and I have “0 points needed”, but it still says “You are on your way! Keep earning towards your companion pass status!”. Does it take a couple of days for it to become available after you earn your points?

  77. @Alex – It does take a few days to update!

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