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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 2019Million Mile Secrets Team

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There’s a good reason why we rank the Southwest Companion Pass as the best deal in travel. The Companion Pass allows you to add a 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, but the easiest way to do it is to earn Southwest points. You need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a single calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass. For most people, it’s easier to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year, so let’s take a look at how to do that:

The good news is the points you earn from any of these Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses will count toward earning a Companion Pass:

How to Earn Southwest Points for a Companion Pass

When you earn the Southwest Companion Pass you’ll enjoy its benefits for the remainder of the year you earned it in through the end of the following year.

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

  • Points earned from paid flights on Southwest
  • Points earned from Southwest credit cards
  • Base points earned from Southwest Rapid Rewards partners (hotels and rental cars)

Here are some more ideas for how to earn qualifying Southwest Companion Pass points.

Because Southwest points earned from Southwest credit cards will count towards the Companion Pass, earning 110,000 Southwest points is easier than ever thanks to the increased welcome bonuses offer from the three personal Southwest credit cards.

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

Use Southwest credit cards for an easy Southwest Companion Pass

The easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is by earning welcome bonuses from both one personal and one small business Southwest card. Note that 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 up to 60,000 Southwest points: 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, plus, 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months your account is open.

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 you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

With a bonus from one of the personal cards and one business card, you’ll have 120,000 or 140,000 Southwest points (60,000 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 most 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 have 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 puts them above the 5/24 rule.

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. 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 of 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 him- or herself with either cash or points and then simply add a designated companion to their reservation to fly for just the cost of taxes and fees (~$6 on domestic flights). Check out this detailed guide for more on how to use the Southwest Companion Pass.

You can still redeem your points earned from the Southwest credit cards for free flights after earning the Companion Pass.

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 flight. However, the points you transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest will not count toward earning the Companion Pass.

Just remember you can only have one Companion Pass at a time per person, but you and a partner could both earn Companion Passes — which could make family travel extremely cheap.

Bottom line

If you want to earn a Southwest Companion Pass in 2019, two welcome offers from the Southwest credit cards will get you there.

By earning the bonuses on one of the business cards and one of the personal Southwest cards, you’ll have 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.

Or you could wait until early 2020 to earn a Companion Pass and have it for all of that year and all of 2021. This strategy requires a lot of timing because you’d need to wait to complete your minimum spending requirements so the bonus points post to your account in 2020.

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines points:

Featured image by Fominayaphoto/Shutterstock.

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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 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

More Info

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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I have the Rapid Rewards Plus and Premier cards and got the bonus for about 3 years ago. Can I close the account and re-open and get the bonus?

Looking for some direction concerning the Companion Pass.

Once you add your companion ticket to an already booked ticket you end up with 2 booking numbers. Has anyone had success combining those booking numbers to make check-in more convenient

You cannot combine the booking numbers. You have to check in separately. This also means boarding separately. But the first person to board can save a seat. We are usually only a few numbers apart, but we checking as early as possible.

Here’s a tip I haven’t heard discussed. Once you earn the Companion Pass you can go back and rebook any travel you already have planned and if the fares work out reduce your total costs for you and your companion. 3 out of the 4 flights we had booked were cheaper once we calculated the BOGO feature of the Companion Pass.

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.