10 Questions & Answers About the Southwest Companion Pass

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Update:   After March 31, 2017, transferring hotel points to Southwest no longer counts towards the Companion Pass.  But here’s how to earn Companion Pass points when booking paid nights at hotels.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

It’s the best time of year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, because you can get almost 2 full years of 2 for 1 travel!

But it’s rumored that Chase will soon change their application rules for all credit cards.  The Chase Southwest cards may be harder to get for many folks, and readers have been asking me a lot of questions!

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass Can Save You Big Money on Travel! But You May Want to Sign-Up for the Chase Southwest Cards Sooner Than Later

I’ll answer many of the common questions here!

10 Frequently Asked Southwest Companion Pass Questions & Answers

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Link:   How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can fly with you for (almost) free for up to 2 years!

To get this benefit, earn 110,000 Southwest points within a calendar year.  You can get most of the way there by earning the 50,000 point sign-up bonus from the Chase Southwest Premier personal and the Chase Southwest Premier small business card.

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

When You Have the Southwest Companion Pass, You Can Get Essentially 2 Tickets for the Price of 1 for up to 2 Years! And the Chase Southwest Credit Cards Make It Easy to Get in on This Deal!

The Southwest Companion Pass is 1 of the best deals in travel.  So it’s no surprise folks often have a ton of questions about how it works.

Here are answers to your frequently asked questions about the Southwest Companion Pass:

1.   Are You Sure the Sign-Up Bonuses From the Chase Southwest Cards Count?

Yes.  The sign-up bonuses from the Chase Southwest Plus, Premier personal, and Premier small business DO count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

It May Sound Too Good to Be True, but It Works! Lots of Folks Have Earned Most of Points Needed for the Southwest Companion Pass by Signing-Up for 2 Chase Southwest Credit Cards

2.   What’s the Difference Between the Chase Southwest Plus & Premier Cards?

The Chase Southwest Plus currently has a lower sign-up bonus (25,000 Southwest points after completing minimum spending) and a lower annual fee than the Chase Southwest Premier personal and small business cards.

And it also comes with a lower cardholder anniversary bonus and a 3% foreign transaction fee.

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

The Chase Southwest Cards Are Similar, but You Will Find a Few Differences 😉

So make sure you choose the right card for you!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 3 cards.

 Southwest Premier CardSouthwest Premier Business CardSouthwest Plus Card
Sign-Up Bonus Points60,00060,00060,000
Spending• 2X Southwest points with Southwest
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
Anniversary Points6,0006,0003,000
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone3%
Annual Fee$99$99$69

3.   Can You Apply for 2 Chase Southwest Personal Cards to Qualify?

Yes.  It’s easier to get approved for 1 Chase Southwest personal card and the Chase Southwest Premier small business card.  But many folks earned the Southwest Companion Pass with 2 Chase Southwest personal cards as well.

Just be prepared to answer questions about why you need a 2nd Chase Southwest personal card.  For example, is it because you’re interested in the lower annual fee?  Is it because you’d rather have the larger anniversary bonus?  Or do you want to keep your expenses separate?

Again, starting April 2016, it’s rumored that Chase will no longer approve folks for these cards if they’ve opened ~5+ credit cards in the past 24 months.  So apply soon if you’re interested in earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

4.   Can You Transfer Points From Other Programs to Earn the Companion Pass?

Transfers from certain hotel programs like Choice Hotels, Hyatt, and Marriott DO count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.  And this can be an easy way to earn the final points you need.

But there are other transfers that will NOT help you on your journey to the Companion Pass such as:

5.   What’s the Best Timing for the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is good for up to 2 calendar years.  If you want to take advantage of this benefit for the full 2 years, apply for 2 Chase Southwest cards in the last quarter of the year and complete the minimum spending after your December or January statement closes.

Here are some other links that you may find helpful:

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

Earn the Companion Pass in the 1st Quarter of the Year, So You Can Enjoy This Perk for Close to 2 Years!

And the timing is the same if you’re looking to earn the Southwest Companion Pass again.


The Southwest Companion Pass is based on how many points you earn within a calendar year, NOT how many are in your account.

Suppose you earn 50,000 Southwest points this week and use 25,000 points to book a round-trip flight to New York City.  Then earn another 60,000 Southwest points a couple of months later.  You’ll still earn the Southwest Companion Pass.

7.   If You Cancel Your Cards Will You Lose the Companion Pass?

Canceling your Chase Southwest credit cards will NOT impact your Southwest Companion Pass.

10 Questions Answers About The Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll Still Have the Companion Pass, If You Decide to Cancel Your Chase Southwest Card

Keep in mind, I recommend evaluating a card for ~10 months and deciding if it’s worth the annual fee before canceling.  This helps establish a good relationship with the bank.

8.   Can You Use the Southwest Companion Pass on a Previously Booked Flight?

If you haven’t earned the Southwest Companion Pass yet, you can still book your flight now to lock in a lower price and add your companion later.

10.   When Can You Earn the Sign-Up Bonus on the Chase Southwest Cards Again?

The terms for the Chase Southwest Plus and the Chase Premier personal and small business cards say:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

So wait at least 24 months after you’ve earned the bonus before applying again.

Bottom Line

By earning the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring a friend along with you on Southwest paid and award flights for (almost) free for up to 2 years!  This can save you thousands of dollars!

And earning the sign-up bonus on 2 Chase Southwest credit cards, makes it easy to get most of the way to the 110,000 Southwest points you have to earn in 1 year to get the Companion Pass.

Because there are rumors Chase will make it harder to be approved for airline and hotel cards starting April 2016, you may want to consider applying for the Chase Southwest cards soon if you want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass this year.

Hopefully this FAQ page answers the questions you have about this incredible deal!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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18 responses to “10 Questions & Answers About the Southwest Companion Pass

  1. I have companion status through end of 2016. Will companion status work if I book a reservation in Dec 2016 for travel in 2017 ? Thanks

  2. I have a Standard Southwest Visa that I just Cancelled after one year. It does not have the words ‘Plus’ on the card. Is this considered a different card than the Plus card, meaning I could apply and earn the bonus?

  3. When was the last time you have verify data points on Hotel to Southwest counting towards companion pass? I tried transferring some from Choice and it doesn’t count. That was January 2016. Anyone has a recent data point of a transfer from Marriott?

    • I did a Marriott transfer of 10k points this week. It took 2 days to process (even though the website says 6 wks) and it devalues it to 2k Rapid Rewards. As my Marriott points weren’t enough to stay anywhere I wanted, and were about to expire, I didn’t mind. Note that I did have to call in as the website was having issues and I couldn’t do the transfer online.

  4. I transferred Hyatt points to Southwest about 3 weeks ago and it counted (I’m sharing for the data points). Just got my companion pass this week!

  5. Should we anticipate the Plus card offering another 40k or 50k mile bonus in the next few months?

  6. I am at 103,000 for the year so far and looking to earn the pass by next month. Unfortunate for me I am pregnant and due this summer but this article helps me since I know now I can use points now to book a flight now and then use my companion pass for 1+ years.

  7. I’ve been clicking through a handful of sites and can’t find an answer to my slightly random question – does the companion earn rapid rewards points? Thanks

  8. So if I earn the companion pass early this year, I can bring a friend for basically free for numerous flights for rest of this year and next year, really? Is there a limit on the number of flights? Thanks.

  9. Ngoc – I transferred a large number of Choice points to WN on January 1, 2016. They posted on January 9, and they did count toward Companion pass. Not sure why yours didn’t count. (Did you initiate the transfer in December? If so, the points would count for 2015, not 2016, even if they didn’t post until 2016.)

    David – the companion does not earn Rapid Rewards points.

    Chucky – there is no limit on the number of flights. And there are no capacity controls – I had no trouble adding my companion the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

    Art – your companion can only travel with you until the end of 2016.

    All – if you haven’t got your Companion Pass yet, suggest booking a points reservation for your companion. If you get the pass in time, you can add a companion reservation and cancel your points reservation, getting all your points refunded.

  10. My Wife has the Chase Ink Plus Business Card and recently tried to sign up for Chase Southwest Business card and was given a “we’ll send you a response in the mail” response. Are Chase already cracking down? She actually has only open 3 chase cards in the last 24 months, but still. It seems odd that she was given the Ink Plus business card last year, but not this one…

  11. @Aaron–I would try following up with a phone call. We recently did this on a card that we were surprised to get the same response, and it was a matter of reducing our credit limit on our other cards, and asking for a reasonable credit limit on the new Chase card. They did all of that on the phone call, and approved the new card on the spot.

  12. Aaron – alternatively, I suggest waiting for the formal response. I’ve received several “pending” responses from Chase on initial application, then had them approve the card without further contact (or call me to discuss moving credit from one card to another).

    (I just applied for the Chase IHG personal card; got the “pending” response. We’ll see what happens this time.)

  13. I guess what I’m asking is…I don’t find Southwest points extremely valuable, and so to use up a chase credit card sign ups for this when there’s not certainty that they will be accepting both the business and individual credit card request is a loss. Southwest would be very valuable though, if I had the companion pass. Yet, in order to get it, I would want to sign up for both. Trying to understand if they are already limiting sign ups.

  14. @Sally, UAPhil – Thank you your feedback. We’ll call chase just to confirm the reasoning around their “pending” amount. Would you see a “pending” as a sign that they may be less inclined to accept the request to open the individual account?

  15. @tobin – That’s right. Because they’re considered different card products, you can apply for the “Plus” version and earn the sign-up bonus.

    @Bryan – That’s excellent! Congrats and enjoy! 🙂

    @Steven – The offers come and go. But every few months seems to be the pattern. However, it’s not guaranteed.

    @Chris – Absolutely! Congrats on your pregnancy! You’ll have plenty of time to use your Companion Pass once you earn it.

    @UAPhil – Appreciate your responses. Thank you so much.

    @Aaron – Good luck getting both. Let us know know it turns out for you!

  16. I applied for the southwest plus and premier (both personal cards) on the same day. Both were pending. I already have IHG,United,Ink & Sapphire. I got approved for the plus when I called. They said I could only get one. I really want the premier too. Should I wait to get the denial or just call back now. Any suggestions as to a great reason why I should get approved. I do have good credit and have tried moving credit around before. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  17. Does anyone know whether purchasing Southwest gift cards on their website will a) count toward the $2000 spending with the credit card and b) count as a Southwest purchase to get 2 points per dollar?