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How to Earn Southwest Points in 2019!

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How to Earn Southwest Points in 2019!

Meghan HunterHow to Earn Southwest Points in 2019!Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: Earning the welcome offer from one personal Southwest credit card and one business Southwest credit card is the quickest way to earn points for the Southwest Companion Pass.

There’s a good reason why we rank the Southwest Companion Pass as the best deal in travel. The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to add your companion to your paid or award flights for nearly free (just the cost of taxes and fees). You and your companion can travel anywhere that Southwest flies (even to Hawaii!) an unlimited number of times while your pass is valid!

Earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass requires a bit of planning. You need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points or fly 100 flight segments in a single calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass.

The good news is, you can earn the points you need toward qualifying for a Companion Pass more easily with cards like:

With two credit card welcome bonuses, you’ll have enough (or nearly enough) points earn the Southwest Companion Pass to enjoy close to two years of nearly free travel. (Photo courtesy of Carlos E. Santa Maria/Shutterstock)

How to Earn Southwest Points in 2019

If you start planning right now to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll enjoy its benefits for the remainder of this year though the end of next year (2019 through the end of 2020).

Understanding the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass has just a few simple requirements to earn. You must earn either 110,000 qualifying Southwest points or fly 100 one-way flights (within a calendar year) on Southwest.

Southwest counts any of the following points as qualifying towards the Companion Pass:

The highlight here is that Southwest points earned from Southwest credit cards will count towards the Companion Pass. And earning 110,000 Southwest points is easier thanks to the welcome bonuses from the Southwest credit cards.

You can check your progress towards the Companion Pass by logging into your Southwest account online at any time. This makes it easy to see how close you are to earning this incredible travel perk!

Check your progress toward earning the Companion Pass at any time by logging into your Southwest account.

The Southwest Companion Pass is good for the remainder of the year you earn it and the entire next calendar year that follows. This means that if you earned the Companion Pass in August 2019, that you would get to use it for all the rest of 2019, plus ALL of 2020. That’s a lot of free flying!

Using Southwest Credit Cards to Launch Yourself Towards Earning an Easy Southwest Companion Pass

The easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is by earning welcome bonuses from one personal and one small business Southwest card.  You’re no longer able to have two personal cards at one time.

When you apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardChase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you’ll earn 40,000 Southwest points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, you’ll earn 60,000 Southwest points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. And with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card you’ll earn 80,000 Southwest points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

So earning two welcome bonuses, a bonus from one of the personal cards and one business card, you’ll have 100,000 or 120,000 Southwest points (40,000 points + 60,000 points or 80,000 points).

Just remember, The Southwest credit cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, where they will NOT approve you for their cards if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and other business cards) in the past 24 months.

While the business credit cards also requires you to be within the 5/24 requirement, opening it will NOT increase your total. For this reason, if you are sitting at four credit card opens in the last 24 months, I recommend applying for a business card first. This way you would still be within Chase’s 5/24 rule (with just four opens). After you apply for the business card, you can apply for a personal card which should still only show a count of four cards (since the business card didn’t contribute to the total). This way you can get approved for both.

Applying for the personal card first might put some folks at risk of not getting approved for the business card if the personal card was enough to throw them above the 5/24 rule. So if you plan on applying for both a business and a personal card, apply for a business card first.

Timing Your Welcome Bonuses

Before you start working towards meeting the minimum spending requirements on the Southwest cards, it is very important that you have a plan. Chase’s terms of service state that you should allow up to eight weeks after completing your spending requirements to receive the Southwest points in your account. But in reality, these points usually post shortly after your statement (in which you met the minimum spending requirement) closes.

If you can complete the spending requirements during your first part of the year you should be well on your way to having all the miles needed for the Companion Pass available to you as early in the year as possible.

The earlier in the year you earn the 110,000 points required the longer you’ll have unlimited use from your Companion Pass.

Enjoying Your Southwest Companion Pass

Once you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can use it an unlimited number of times while it is active. The Companion Pass holder must purchase a ticket for themselves with either cash or points and then they can simply add their designated companion to their reservation to fly with them for just the cost of taxes and fees (~$6 on domestic flights).

Plus, you can still redeem your points earned from the Southwest credit cards towards free flights after earning the Companion Pass. You’ll be able to stretch the welcome bonuses twice as far because you and a companion will be able to travel for just the cost of one ticket (plus taxes and fees for the companion ticket).

Because Southwest is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can move your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest if you need more Southwest points for an award flights. However, transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest will NOT contribute any progress towards earning the Companion Pass.

Just remember that you can only have one Companion Pass at a time per person. But you and a partner could both earn Companion Passes. This can make family travel extremely cheap!

Bottom Line

If you want to start working towards earning a Southwest Companion Pass in 2019, earning two welcome offers from the Southwest credit cards are a great way to start.

By earning the welcome bonuses on one of the business cards (Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card) and one of the personal Southwest cards (Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardChase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card), you’ll have enough (or nearly enough) Southwest points to earn a Companion Pass.

Just remember to complete the minimum spending as quickly as possible so the welcome bonus points post to your Southwest account soon. Then once you’ve earned the 110,000 points needed, you can use the Companion Pass for the rest of this year and through the end of 2020.

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines points:

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Wait a second, are you saying that if I get the welcome bonuses of 10,400+/11K points by applying and meet the spending requirements of both personal and business southwest credit cards and get my companion pass, and on top of that I can still use the same 11K points to redeem free tickets on southwest? It’s too good to be true! wow!

You do have the concept right, but your numbers are a bit confused.

You get 60,000 sign-up bonus, + 40,000 sign-up bonus, + at least 4000 points from meeting the minimum $4000 spend to get the bonuses. That equals 104,000 miles/points.

Then you need to earn another 6000 points (through card spending, flying SW, care rentals, etc.).

Once you hit 110,000 miles/points total in a calendar year you get the companion pass, plus you still have those 110,000 miles to use to purchase tickets.