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.

Southwest Companion Pass Go to Travel Gal

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

Note: To apply for any credit cards included in this post, please start at TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS on the main menu shown in the image below. This allows me to earn a commission — at no cost to you — to help pay the blogging bills :), so that I may continue to bring you great information free! I sincerely appreciate you taking this step!

1.  Can I use the 135,000 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 135,000 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 135,000 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 135,000 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 135,000 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 135,000 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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  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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