Southwest Companion Pass FAQ:  You’ll Find the Answers Here!

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Southwest Companion Pass FAQ:  You’ll Find the Answers Here!

Million Mile SecretsSouthwest Companion Pass FAQ:  You’ll Find the Answers Here!Million Mile Secrets Team

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All of us at Million Mile Secrets consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the best deal in travel.  Why?  Because it lets a friend or family member travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free!

And when the Chase Southwest cards are offering increased sign-up bonuses, it makes it that much easier to earn the 110,000 Southwest points needed to get the Southwest Companion Pass!  You can earn points the points you need to qualify for a Companion Pass in a HURRY with cards like:

Take a Pal Along for Nearly Free on Paid and Award Tickets

The rules for earning and using Southwest Companion Pass can be confusing.  So we’ll share the answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the Companion Pass.

About the Southwest Companion Pass

Lots of us on the Million Mile Secrets team use the Companion Pass.  Because Southwest flies to a lot of US cities, including popular vacations spots like Orlando, New Orleans, San Diego, and Puerto Rico.  And to international destinations like Aruba, Belize, Mexico, and Grand Cayman.

Some folks frown upon Southwest for being a low-cost airline, but what’s not to like about them?  The boarding process is among the most efficient, you can check 2 bags for free, they have a lot more non-stop flights than other airlines, and they offer the Companion Pass!

Million Mile Secrets readers frequently comment and email about earning and using the Southwest Companion Pass, so we thought we’d answer commonly asked questions here.  Please comment if you have more questions to add!

Southwest Companion Pass FAQ

1.   What Is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is the best airline perk because it lets a friend or family member travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies for just the cost of taxes and fees as long as Southwest is selling seats on that flight.

2.   Can My Southwest Companion Travel for Free If I Book My Ticket Using Points?

Yes, your companion can still travel free.  You only have to pay a very small amount (~$6 one-way) for taxes.  But some international destinations add additional taxes and fees.  There is no limit to the number of times your companion can fly with you.

3.   What Is the Southwest Companion Pass Worth?

Southwest points are generally worth ~1.5 cents each.  So with the Companion Pass, for example, a 40,000-point sign-up bonus from a Southwest card is not worth just ~$600 (~1.5 cents each X 40,000 points), but twice that!

4.   How Can I Get a Southwest Companion Pass?

You need to fly 100 one-way flights (within a calendar year) on Southwest to qualify for the Companion Pass.


You need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points (within a calendar year) for the Companion Pass.

Points from the Southwest credit cards count towards the Companion Pass at the moment.

5.   When Do I Need to Earn the 110,000 Southwest Points By?

You have to earn the 110,000 Southwest points within ONE calendar year (January to December).  Your Companion Pass is valid from the date you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to the end of the next calendar year.

For example, if you earn the companion pass on November 14, 2019, it is valid up to the end of 2020.  And if you earned the Companion Pass on January 1, 2019, it is still valid up to the end of 2020.  So earning the Companion Pass early in the year can get you close to 2 years of free flying on Southwest.

Timing When You Earn Southwest Credit Card Bonus Points Is Key to Earning Your Companion Pass in 2018 or 2019

6.   Can I Still Redeem 110,000 Southwest Points for Flights Once I Earn the Companion Pass?

You don’t lose your Southwest points when you earn the Companion Pass.  You can still use the 110,000 Southwest points to book flights, and your companion flies for almost free if you have the Companion Pass.

7.   Can My Companion Use Points From Their Own Account to Book My Flight and Then Fly for Free?

Yes.  As long as you have a Southwest ticket in your name (either via cash, using your points, or using points from someone else’s account), you can add your companion to the flight.

8.   Can My Partner and I Each Earn the Companion Pass & Fly the Kids for Free?

Yes, you and your partner can each earn the Companion Pass and add your kids, parents, or friends as companions.  However, 1 person cannot earn more than 1 Companion Pass.

9.   How Many Times Can I Change My Companion?

You can change your designated companion up to 3 times per calendar year, AFTER you initially choose your companion.  That means you can have 4 different companions the first calendar year, then 3 in the 2nd year – or 7 total across the life of the pass.

So choose wisely!

You can switch back to an earlier companion, but it would count as a “switch” and eat into the 7 changes permitted.

Finished a Trip With Your Mom as Your Companion and Ready to Take a Trip With Your Child? Just Change Companions!

10.    How Do I Activate My Southwest Companion Pass?

Sign into your Southwest account to activate your Southwest Companion pass.

11.   How Can I Use My Southwest Companion Pass?

See this post on how to add a companion to your Southwest reservation.

12.   How Can I Add a Companion If I Booked Through a Travel Portal?

If you booked a Southwest flight through a portal, like the Chase Travel Portal, check out this post about adding your companion to your ticket.

Southwest Credit Cards

1.   Do the Chase Southwest Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses Count Towards the Companion Pass?

The credit card sign-up bonuses currently count towards Companion Pass status.  Southwest points earned from spending on the Southwest cards also count!

2.   Is the Annual Fee Waived for the First Year?

Currently, none of the Chase Southwest cards have waived annual fees.

However, when you renew your card each year, you’ll get:

That can help offset the annual fees!  Here’s a quick look at the differences between the cards:

 Southwest Premier CardSouthwest Premier Business CardSouthwest Plus CardSouthwest Priority Card
Spending• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases
• 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
Anniversary Points6,0006,0003,0007,500
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone3%None
Annual Fee$99$99$69$149

3.   Can You Get the Bonus for the Business & Personal Version?

Yes, you can get the bonus for 1 personal (either the Chase Southwest Plus, Chase Southwest Premier, or Chase Southwest Priority) & 1 business Southwest card, the Chase Southwest Premier small business.  Best to apply for a personal card first and then the business version.

4.   Do I Qualify for a Small Business Card?

Lots of folks qualify for small business cards without even realizing it!  For example, if you freelance write, tutor students, or even sell items on eBay, you could be eligible for a small business card!

Having a business credit card also makes it much easier to keep business expenses separate from personal expenses.

If You Sell Items on Sites Like eBay and Amazon You Can Qualify for a Small Business Card!

In fact, you can apply as a sole proprietor by using your social security number on the application.  And enter your name as the business name!

If you think your business will grow in the future, it’s easy to generate an EIN (Employer Identification Number) on the IRS website at any time.  So there’s no need to jump through any major hoops.

Plus, certain business credit cards will not appear on your personal credit report.  This means that the average age of your credit history should not decrease because the business credit line doesn’t sit on your personal credit report.

5.   Should I Apply for 1 Personal & 1 Business Card at the Same Time or One After the Other?

If you apply for 2 Chase cards at the same time, your second application almost always will be declined online.  But if you call the Chase reconsideration line you can usually negotiate an approval for the card.  They’ll likely just want more information from you, like documentation of a business or why you need both cards.

We’d recommend applying for the personal card first and then the business version.  Because it’s easier to explain why you’d need the personal version of the card and the business version, for example, if you want to keep your personal and business expenses separate.

6.   What Questions Does the Business Reconsideration Department Ask?

The questions have become more detailed over the years.  Expect to be asked when you started your business, how long it has been established, what your business does, your revenue, sales, and profits from the last 2 or 3 years.

What are your future projections for revenue, sales, & profits?  Sometimes, Chase will also ask for proof of your business, like a copy of a business card, invoices, etc.

7.   Can You Get the Bonus From ALL Chase Southwest Cards?

You CAN, but it will take years.

That’s because you can NOT have more than 1 personal Southwest credit card at once.  If you have one, you’ll have to cancel it before you open another.  So you’ll have to apply for 1 personal and 1 small business Southwest card to get the Companion Pass.

8.   Can 2 People Apply For the Cards Separately, but Put in the Same Southwest Rapid Reward Account Number?  Or Do We Have to Put in Our Individual Rapid Rewards Numbers?

You should always put in your own Rapid Rewards number in the application.

9.   How Do I Know Which Version of the Chase Southwest Cards I Already Have?

The most recent versions of the cards have the version name written right on the front, except the newest version of the Plus.  For example, old Chase Southwest Plus versions has “Plus” written in the upper right hand corner.  And the Chase Southwest Premier small business version says “Business Premier.”

If you had an older version of one of the cards and aren’t sure which version it was, you could:

a. Call the number at the back of the card to ask

b. Check your annual fee. The Premier cards have a $99 fee and the Plus card has a $69 fee.  You can check your statements online and the 1st or 2nd statement will have the annual fee

Timing the Southwest Companion Pass

The earlier in the year you earn your Companion Pass the better.  Generally speaking, you should apply for the cards you want in the last quarter of the year and complete the minimum spending after your December or January statement closes.

Other Ways to Earn Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points

1.   How Do I Check to See How Many Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points I Have?

You can check how many points you have towards the Companion Pass by signing into your Southwest account.

2.   How Can I Earn Extra Points for the Southwest Companion Pass?

If at least 1 Chase Southwest card is offering a 60,000-point sign-up bonus and there’s a 50,000 Southwest point offer available too, you can earn enough points for the 2-year Southwest Companion Pass (you’ll need 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year) by opening just 2 Chase Southwest cards and meeting the cards’ minimum spending requirements (60,000 points + 50,000 points).

If you apply for the Chase Southwest cards while there are only lower offers and you need ideas to get extra Companion Pass qualifying points, check out this post.

Also read the 5 things you need to know about the Companion Pass.  And don’t forget about Chase’s stricter approval rules, where if you’ve opened 5+ credit cards within the past 24 months from ANY bank (excluding Chase business cards and certain other business cards), it’s likely you will NOT be approved for most Chase cards.

3.   Can I Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards Towards the Southwest Companion Pass Requirement?

If you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest in a 1:1 ratio.  But those points do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.

Even though the points don’t count toward the Companion Pass, the points you transfer become twice as valuable once you have the Companion Pass. Because you can bring a friend along for free!

Remember, you can NOT transfer hotel points to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass, either.

4.   Can I Transfer Points From American Express Membership Rewards Towards the Southwest Companion Pass Requirement?

No, there’s no way to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points (the loyalty program of certain American Express credit cards) to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass.

Okay, I Have the Points! How Do I Use the Pass?

1.   Check Your Companion Pass Progress

You can check your progress by logging into your Southwest account.

You do NOT have to do anything to activate your Companion Pass, this happens automatically. Within a few days of 110,000 Southwest Companion Pass points posting to your Southwest account, you are officially a Companion Pass holder!

With the limited-time offers on the Chase Southwest personal cards, you should earn your Companion Pass within 8 weeks of meeting the minimum spending requirements.

2.   Name Your Companion

Log-in to your Southwest account and choose your companion.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points
Complete the Form With Your Companion’s Information

Or just call Southwest at 1-800-248-4377 to register your companion.

Bottom Line

We consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the BEST miles and points deal for travel.  And if timed correctly, you can have a companion fly with you for free for almost 2 years!

You can find answers to the most frequently asked Companion Pass questions here, including:

  • The easiest way to earn the Companion Pass
  • How to activate your Companion Pass
  • How many times you can change your companion
  • How to qualify for the Chase Southwest small business card
  • …and more!

Have a Southwest Companion Pass question that’s not answered here?  Let me know in the comments!

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines miles:

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 37,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn unlimited points that don't expire as long as your card account is open
  • All points earned with either card count towards Companion Pass
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events and more

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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Two years ago my husband applied for two personal cards (Plus and Premier) and received the bonus points for both. Our companion pass expires the end of this year. I now want to apply for two personal cards. This article says you can only have one person card. Has something changed? We don’t have a business. They are offering 60k again so I am ready to get my new cards.

If I already have a SW personal card and I cancel it to open a new one and take advantage of the current companion pass promotion, do I have to wait any amount of time before applying for the new card?

Best ways to use/get points for a son to come home from college?

Right now, have a working college child in Dallas area and would like to find way(s) for us to earn points for him come home in Houston. Working and school got him too tired to drive 4.5 hrs home.

We have SW RR points but use them for family vacation once/3-5 yrs if we can. And this doesn’t work here since it’s just one person flying.

SW is preferred because they have multiple flights Dallas-Houston out of Hobby Airport. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

PS. Chase Ultimate Rewards quick check shows 19,000 pts required on Delta one-way Dallas-Houston and takes 8-10 hrs. Is this correct?

I have earned points towards the companion pass very fast, with all the promotions applicable at the time I signed up. I’m not understanding why it’s best to complete spending in between Dec and January statements.

Just got approved for SW Rapid Rewards priority card. It will probably arrive in the mail after Feb. 11, 2019. I won’t be able to activate it until after the promotion deadline. Will I still be eligible for promotion of I spend the minimum requirement within 3 months of activation?

Hi Yoon – It doesn’t matter when you activate it, you’ll be eligible for the bonus – but the clock starts on the day you were approved for the card (ie you have 3 months from the day you were approved to meet the minimum spending).

We also just received the card. What’s the fastest way to get the CP? If you spend $4k and pay in advance by the 1st billing cycle ends, does that give you a CP right away?

any answer to this question? wondering the same thing.

I know that a person can only have 1 personal card.
Does being an authorized user on someone else’s card count towards this personal card?

If so, I’ll cancel the AU card; any idea how long to wait after canceling the AU card before applying for my own personal card?


When I refer people to the companion pass does Chase let me use the 10,000 referral points towards my next companion pass ?

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