Chase and Southwest Airlines are making it a bit easier to get the best deal in travel, the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.
All it takes is one credit card sign-up and you and your traveling companion will be spending 2019 jetting off to destinations unknown with untold airfare savings the result.
The Southwest Companion Pass promotion is for a limited time only – now through February 11, 2019, so get ready to apply, but first…
Read on for details, as well as some in-depth info that can make this promo even better.
The Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass, for those unfamiliar, allows the holder of the Pass to choose one person to fly with him/her free of airline charges – aside from the mandatory TSA fee of $5.60 per flight segment – every time the Pass holder purchases a ticket or redeems Rapid Rewards points for a flight.
Normally, the Companion Pass is earned by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or by earning 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
In the past, Miles and Points hobbyists were able to grab the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points necessary to get the Companion Pass simply by applying for 2 Chase Southwest Airlines credit cards and adding a few thousand extra points to their Rapid Rewards account through strategic methods.
Those days are (mostly) gone now thanks to Chase instituting stricter credit card application rules.
The rules include:
- Individuals who’ve applied, and been approved, for 5 or more credit cards – from anybank – within the previous 24 months will very likely notbe approved for a Chase credit card. This is known as the 5/24 rule.
- As it relates to the Southwest Airlines family of personal credit cards – applications will not be approved for those currently holding a personal version of the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card nor for those who’ve received a new cardmember bonus within the past 24 months.
So, the ability to earn the Southwest Companion Pass solely through credit card sign-ups has been significantly diminished due to Chase’s application rules.
But, for whatever reason, Chase and Southwest are offering for a limited time, the opportunity to get the Companion Pass with only one credit card sign-up.
The application rules listed above still do apply, though.
The Companion Pass Promotion
There are currently 3 versions of the personal Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards available.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card– $69 annual fee
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card– $99 annual fee
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card– $149 annual fee
You can click the individual links above to learn about the benefits of each card to see which might be the best for you.
Each card, during this Companion Pass promotion, will offer a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from card approval.
The Companion Pass will be valid from the date you meet the $4,000 spend amount through December 31, 2019.
In the past, the Companion Pass became available – and the sign-up bonus deposited to your Southwest account – a few days after the Chase statement closing date on which the $4,000 minimum spend requirement is met.
Keep in mind, the Companion Pass promotion is only available for card applications now through February 11, 2019.
Which means for those taking advantage of this promotion, you’ll have the Companion Pass from approximately mid-May through December 31, 2019. Earlier if you can meet the $4,000 minimum spend in one or two months.
The Play for an Extra Year of the Companion Pass
There is a way to extend the Companion Pass for an extra year for those willing to take a few extra steps.
This involves applying for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card.
Business credit cards are limited to individuals who have a business for which they want a credit card that will allow them to separate personal and business expenses.
Business credit cards are not, however, limited to large corporate entities. Individuals who have a rental property, sell items on eBay, have a side-hustle like dogwalking, pet or babysitting or anything where making money is the goal, can apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor.
Be aware, automatic approvals of Chase business cards are rare, and you will likely have to call Chase after applying to provide additional application information. During the callyou will probably be asked detailed information about your business, including what you do, how long you’ve been in business, what your revenues were last year, anticipated revenues this year, etc.
You don’t have to make money as a business to get a business credit card…actually, many startup businesses get a credit card before doing anything else to keep business expenses separate and easily trackable.
Still, a business card approval is by no means a guarantee.
But, if you can get approved, here’s how you can leverage that approval into another year of the Companion Pass.
If you apply for the current personal card promotion, you’ll have at least 34,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points toward the traditional version of the Companion Pass.
The Southwest business credit card’s current sign-up bonus is 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from card approval. *while business cards are for business expenses, there is no hard and fast restriction about putting personal charges on a business credit card.
Wait until summer/fall to apply for the Southwest business card and meet the minimum spend well prior to December 31, 2019.
At that point you will have at least 97,000 Rapid Rewards points toward the 110,000 needed to get the traditional Companion Pass.
You’ll need to add another 13,000 Rapid Rewards points to your Southwest account prior to December 31, 2019, to extend the Companion Pass through December 31, 2020.
Once you hold a personal Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you can get a referral bonus of 10,000 points for each person whose application is approved via your referral link. Two approved referrals and you’d have enough points to earn the traditional Companion Pass, having it available through the end of 2020.
Any spend put on a personal or business Rapid Rewards credit card will also count toward the remaining 13,000 points. So if you have major expenses, putting those on your card(s) will get you that much closer to meeting the 110,000 point requirement.
And, purchases and associated bonus points via the Rapid Rewards shopping portal count, too.
1-800-Flowers.com is a favorite, as well. You can earn 1,000 Rapid Rewards points for each order of $29.99 or more when Code: RR20 and your Rapid Rewards number are included with your order. The 1,000 points count toward Companion Pass status,and can help boost your balance over the required 110,000.
Just Want More Rapid Rewards Points?
If you just want more Rapid Rewards points – than the 30,000 you’ll get with the single personal card sign-up – without bothering with a business card sign-up, then Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the ticket.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Southwest Airlines at a 1:1 rate.
Important: Chase Ultimate Rewards points DO NOT count toward the Companion Pass.
There are a number of great Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards, some of which you might already have in your wallet.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Freedom (when paired with one of the above)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited (when paired with one of the first two above)
- Chase Ink business cards
Read “Why I love Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and You Should Too,” for details on the Ultimate Rewards program.
And then “Chase Ultimate Rewards Promotions and the Credit Cards to Take Advantage of Them,” for detailed info on specific Ultimate Rewards earning cards. The promotions, however, are no longer applicable.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account will provide more opportunities for free flights on what many travelers consider the most accommodating U.S. airline.
Southwest has no change fees, great for when your travel plans differ from what you originally scheduled.
Southwest also has no baggage fees on up to 2 bags per passenger.
And there are no blackout dates when using points to fly for free.
And, for those looking for a blockbuster trip, Southwest Airlines will be starting service to Hawaii later in 2019. Now that would be a great way to use that Companion Pass!
Although, you’ll likely need a bit more than 30,000 Rapid Rewards points for a roundtrip award ticket to Hawaii.
Which is where the transfer of Ultimate Rewards points can come in handy.
This Southwest Airlines Companion Pass promotion is a great deal for anyone who wants to make his/her travel dollars/points go a bit farther.
With just one Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card sign-up you can enjoy the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for the remainder of 2019 and get 30,000 Rapid Rewards points to use for free flights. 34,000 if you count the $4,000 minimum spend amount.
With that amount of Rapid Rewards points, you should be able to get at least one roundtrip flight to any of Southwest’s current destinations for you and your companion.
And if you can take advantage of the Southwest business credit card play discussed above, or transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, you’ll be able to travel even more with your companion, for nothing but the $5.60 per flight segment 9/11 fee.
Now that’s a real travel deal.