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10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Southwest Companion Pass

I get lots of emails and comments from my fine readers about the Southwest Companion Pass. So I thought I would compile some of the most frequently asked questions. If they asked the question, I’m sure there’s plenty of others who have the very same one.

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Here are the Top 10 MOST Asked Questions About the Southwest Companion Pass for your reading pleasure :):

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1.  Can I use the 125,000 Southwest points I earned to get the Companion Pass for free flights, too?

Yes, definitely! In addition to the one person who always flies free with you, this is what makes the Southwest Companion Pass such a great deal.

YOU can use all of the 125,000 Southwest points you earned to get the Companion Pass for free travel while your Companion does not need to redeem any points or pay any money to fly with you.

We stretched those 125,000 points + 50,000 more we earned by signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, whose points can be transferred to Southwest to use for free flights, together with the Southwest Companion Pass to fly four people to six destinations within one year for less than $100 per flight.


2.  Do the bonuses on the Southwest credit cards count toward the Southwest Companion Pass?

Yes! While generally Southwest does not allow anything described as “bonus” points to qualify toward earning the Companion Pass, Southwest Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards are the exception. ALL bonus points on these cards (but NOT bonus points on other Chase cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred) DO count toward the Southwest Companion Pass.



3.  Do I have to pay a higher fare on Southwest in order to use my Companion Pass?

No, absolutely not. You can choose the CHEAPEST Wanna Get Away fares on Southwest Airlines and pay with points to stretch your free travel as far — and as long — as possible.

If you make sure to purchase during Southwest sales (here’s how to know when a Southwest sale is a good one — they have a lot!), when points are at their lowest, you can stretch those points even farther like we did.

Be sure to check here for the current Southwest sale.


4.  It’s November and I don’t have all of my 125,000 Southwest points earned for the Companion Pass? Can I keep working on it through next year?

When to apply for the Southwest Companion Pass?

No, you can’t! ALL 125,000 qualifying points for the Southwest Companion Pass MUST be earned within ONE CALENDAR YEAR. If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember that!

One calendar year is defined as January 1 through December 31, so if they are not earned AND credited to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account by December 31, you have to START ALL OVER collecting points for the pass. Please don’t make that mistake!

Your points do not expire, however, and are STILL GOOD for FREE TRAVEL if that happens to you.


5.  How far apart should I separate Southwest credit card applications when trying to earn the Companion Pass?

If you apply for two Chase cards within 30 days of each other, you will likely be declined for the second card. It has happened to us! I’d give it about 40 days between applications to be safe.

Some people report applying for two Chase cards on the same day, saying it only results on one pull to your credit (or perhaps the first pull is not recorded until the following day), with success; however, I have not tried that method, so proceed with caution.

If you are denied, here’s what to do.


6.  Do purchases on my Southwest credit cards that earn Southwest points count toward my Companion Pass?

Yes, this is one of the best ways to earn qualifying points for the Companion Pass. Use the Southwest Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards for your everyday spending and earn 1 point per dollar spent, which qualifies toward the Southwest Companion Pass.

Be sure to pay your balance down, if not every few days, at least every 30 days so you do not incur expensive interest and go into debt.

If your two credit card bonuses do not get you to 125,000 points, this can be a great way to make up the difference. Here are 10 Easy Ways to Earn 500 or More Southwest Points.

And here’s how I earned my third Southwest Companion Pass with NO credit card bonuses, but through some credit card spending.


7.  If I complete my minimum spend within one month, do I still have to wait three months for the points to credit to my Rapid Rewards account?

No, your Southwest bonus points should credit to your Rapid Rewards account at the credit card closing date AFTER you meet the minimum spend. You DO NOT have to wait the full three months for your points to be credited.

If you have not received a statement yet, you can log on to your Southwest credit card account online and send them a secure message asking when the closing date will be. If you HAVE received a statement from your Southwest credit card, the close date is listed on the statement.

If your points have not credited within a few days of the close date, contact Southwest to see what happened.


8.  Do purchased points count toward the Companion Pass?

No, you CANNOT PURCHASE POINTS and have them count toward the Companion Pass, but they can be used for free flights.

See which Southwest points qualify for the Companion Pass on my Southwest Companion Pass overview.


9.  If Southwest denies my application, are my chances of earning the pass over?

Declined for a Chase card

No, don’t give up! If you are denied, call the Chase reconsideration line and read my post on how to prepare. Most people are denied because they apply for multiple Chase cards too closely.

I was denied for the business card, but when I called, they simply needed some additional paperwork to verify the business. I’m glad I called!!

You can also request to close an existing card or move credit around to allow you to hold a new card if they do not want to extend you additional credit.

Keep in mind you can now only hold ONE personal Southwest card at a time, and you can only earn a personal card bonus once every 24 months.


0.  What’s the best time of year to start earning the pass?

As early in the year as possible is the ideal time to start earning the Southwest Companion Pass, because it is good from the time you earn it until the end of the FOLLOWING year.

So it is to your advantage to earn it early, because you will be able to use it longer: up to TWO years.

That said, all four of my Southwest Companion Passes were earned in December — better to have earned it than not! At least each was good for a year!

I earned mine this way first, because I had to wait until a mortgage application was complete in September and the second I was literally surprised at the end of the year with a pass for the following year by referral points that came in all of a sudden!

For the third and fourth passes, I had enough points accumulated by end of year that I was very close to earning the Companion Pass anyway, so I completed some additional points-earning tasks to go ahead and finish it up.

Here is a timeframe/calendar I have laid out to help you with timing your Southwest Companion Pass.

What questions do you have about the Southwest Companion Pass?


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17 thoughts on “10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Southwest Companion Pass”

  1. Another little benefit I discovered: you can add a companion with the Companion Pass even if you booked the flight before earning the Companion Pass. I just recently earned the pass with credit card sign up bonuses, but I had already booked two flights for the end of May and beginning of June. AFTER I earned the pass I called Southwest and they added my companion (my son) to both flights and he’s flying for free with me! Not to mention both flights had gone down in the points required so they also refunded me the points while I was on the phone.

    • Ben-
      I am hoping to find myself in the same situation, as I am planning to earn my 1st companion pass by June. I currently have a flight booked to Hawaii (YAY!) in October. Did you have to un-book and re-book with Southwest? Or did they just make the switch for you, and then refund the fare? I’d love to hear a little more about how exactly that worked.

      Thank you!

      • Hi Andrea,
        You can easily add your Companion to your ticket online in your Southwest account once you earn the pass. If you already booked a ticket for that person and they are tied into your same confirmation # as everyone else in your party, you’ll need to call Southwest and have them cancel their flight and re-add them as a Companion. Keep in mind, there must still be seats on that flight to add your Companion. I made that mistake earlier this year (assuming there would always be a seat and there was not!). But if you have their flight booked right now, you are essentially saving them a seat so you should be good.

        One more thing, if you booked with cash/credit, you will get an “Unused Travel Fund” credit to use with Southwest that must be used within one year and tied to that same person. Keep track of the original confirmation # as well, as you’ll need that in order to book a flight with the credit.

        Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks Ben! That is a great point. You can add a Companion to any itinerary after they officially become your Companion. I love that you don’t have to do any special booking for the companion at the time you book your own flight. You can add them at any point (though sooner is better than later in case the flight fills up).

  3. One thing you should add is that the points earned through booking hotels on the Southwest site, which can be up to 10,000 points per day, will apply towards the companion pass.

    I travel for work, but the project is ending and I knew I’d be short of the 110,000 points total. I was able to earn 50,000 points for two 4 day stays.

    So, if someone has travel planned anyway and needs points, this would be a good way to get them.

    Secondarily if someone is within a given number of points, say 10,000 or 20,000, they could watch the Southwest hotel site and in the slow season when high point offers come through in their city, they could easily book a few nights and “stay” in the hotel, i.e., only need to check in and pay to get the points. Since the pass is worth potentially thousands of dollars, spending a few hundred for a couple of hotel nights could be a good return on their investment.

    • Hi Chery-
      You can only change Companions 3 times in one year (AFTER you have chosen your initial companion). Also, you cannot switch companions until all current travel with your current companion is complete. The way around that is to go ahead and book your flight — even if you have a different companion flying with you prior to that flight — and then add the new companion to the ticket (after you have designated them with Southwest) once you have completed the flight. You can add a companion to a flight. usually right up until 24 hours ahead of flight time so long as there is space on the plane. Hope that helps!

  4. If I applied for a cc with a $4,000 spend in 3 months and you earn a companion pass. When does the companion pass go into affect? Like if I were to make one purchase for $4,000 right off the bat is the companion pass granted 1. when the $4,000 has been spent. 2. After the $4,000 is paid off?

    • Hi Jennatte-
      It would go into effect after the credit card closing date of the month in which you complete the minimum spend. You don’t have to pay it off before getting the pass, though it would be a good idea to meet the minimum spend with everyday expenses for which you have cash in the bank to cover and can pay off right away, so you don’t incur high interest (these cards have high interest rates, so not good for carrying a balance). Thanks for the question!

  5. I’m a little confused. You say to earn the pass quickly by applying for a business & personal card. Are you combining your rewards points to reach the 110,000? I always thought you couldn’t do that? Also, the initial Companion pass earned through the Chase promo of spending $3,000 in the 1st 3 months is only valid for that calendar year. We found that out by asking Southwest, it’s a bummer!

    • Yes that offer was only good for a Companion Pass through the end of 2019 but if you earn all 110,000 by year’s end you’d get another one good through the end of 2020.

      All points earned under your name on any Southwest credit card go into your personal Rapid Rewards account and “qualify” for the Companion Pass. The only thing you can’t do is combine two different people’s points to qualify for the Companion Pass.

      Does that help? Thanks for your question!

    • Yes according to Southwest’s rules, you are supposed to carry the actual card with you anytime your companion is flying with you. But I’ve never had them ask to see it in 6 years :).


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