We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Million Mile Secrets reader CarterV commented:
I’m a little confused and need some clarification about the Southwest Companion Pass. If I apply for the cards now and don’t meet my 110,000 Southwest points until January 2016, is my pass still valid for 2016 and 2017?
I know I will get my 104,000 points in 2015. If I spend an additional $6,000 in January 2016, will I get my Companion Pass?
NO! CarterV is about to make a big mistake which will cost him his Southwest Companion Pass!
To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.
With the Companion Pass, a friend or family member flies with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.
I’ll explain what CarterV needs to do so he doesn’t miss out on the Southwest Companion Pass!
It’s All About Timing!
It’s a good time to think about qualifying for the Southwest Companion Pass. That’s because all 3 Chase Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus after you complete the minimum spending.
By getting 2 of these cards, you’ll earn 104,000 Southwest points (100,000 points from the sign-up bonus and 4,000 points from completing the minimum spending).
That only leaves you 6,000 Southwest points shy of the 110,000 points needed in a calendar year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. And you do NOT have to spend $6,000 to earn the remaining points!
IMPORTANT! You must earn all 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass!
If CarterV earns 104,000 points in 2015 and 6,000 points in 2016, he will NOT earn the Southwest Companion Pass!
So CarterV has 2 options:
1. Earn the Companion Pass in 2015
If CarterV wants to earn the Companion Pass in 2015, he’ll have to complete the minimum spending on 2 cards before his December 2015 statement closes. And any extra points he wants to earn from spending on the Southwest cards.
That’s because the sign-up bonus will post to his Southwest account shortly after the statement in which he completes his minimum spending closes.
That said, if his statement closing date is near the end of the month, he may want to call Chase and have it moved earlier in the month, to ensure the sign-up bonus posts to his Southwest account in December.
And he’ll have to make sure he earns the remaining 6,000 points required before the end of the year. Don’t wait until the last minute! There can be a delay in points posting to your Southwest account. The points must post in 2015 to earn the Companion Pass.
If CarterV earns his Companion Pass in 2015, it will be valid until December 31, 2016.
2. Earn the Companion Pass in 2016
If CarterV waits until after his December 2015 statement closes to meet minimum spending requirements on 2 Southwest cards, the points should post to his Southwest account early in 2016.
This could take some planning! If he signs-up for 2 Southwest cards today (September 20, 2015), he’ll have 3 months (until December 20, 2015) to complete the minimum spending requirement.
His best bet is to call Chase and have his statement closing date moved to the beginning of December. Then quickly meet the $2,000 minimum spending requirement on each card after his December 2015 statement closes, BUT before December 20, 2015.
This way, the sign-up bonus and points from meeting minimum spending will post to his Southwest account after his January 2016 statement closes.
And he can take his time about earning the 6,000 remaining points for the Southwest Companion Pass in early 2016.
If CarterV earns the Companion Pass in 2016, it will be valid until December 31, 2017.
Getting 2 years of nearly free travel for your companion is a fantastic deal! So it’s worth the extra effort to be sure the Southwest points post to your account in early 2016.
That said, if CarterV really wants the Companion Pass before the end of this year, he’ll have to move quickly! And the pass will only be valid through the end of 2016.
Remember not to make these other common mistakes that could cost you your Southwest Companion Pass!
So you can NOT earn the sign-up bonus (and points from minimum spending) in late 2015, then make up the rest of the points required in early 2016.
That said, now is a terrific time to go for the Southwest Companion Pass! All 3 Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus.
Thanks for the question, CarterV!