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TravelHow to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass with one credit card...

How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass with one credit card sign-up bonus


The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring a designated travel companion on all your Southwest flights, including paid and award tickets. The only out-of-pocket costs are any taxes and fees (which start at just $5.60 each way).

For frequent Southwest flyers, this can easily be worth thousands of dollars in annual value.

And now, with best-ever sign-up bonuses on both the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, you can earn a Companion Pass through the end of 2025 by meeting the spending requirements on one of these cards.

Earn a Companion Pass with one card bonus

There are two ways to qualify for the Companion Pass: earning 135,000 qualifying points or taking 100 qualifying, one-way flights. You must meet either of these requirements in a calendar year.

Thankfully, Southwest’s cobranded credit card welcome bonuses count toward the Companion Pass qualification requirement.

For a limited time, both these cards are offering up to 120,000 points to new applicants:

These are the best offers we’ve seen on these cards, and each one is worth a whopping $1,560 per TPG’s June 2024 valuations. That’s fantastic value for cards with reasonable annual fees ($99 for the Premier and $199 for the Performance). While the spending requirement is high, the payoff can be incredible.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card also has two EarlyBird check-in passes per year. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

If you get one of these cards now and meet the $15,000 spending requirement by the end of the year, you’ll enjoy a Companion Pass through the rest of 2024 (after qualification) and all of 2025.

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That’s because you’ll receive a total of 120,000 points from the tiered sign-up bonus. Plus, by spending $15,000, you’ll also earn at least 15,000 points through the regular earning rate (or more points if your spend category earns more than 1 point per dollar).

Note that all Southwest credit cardholders also receive a boost of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points every year.

In other words, you’ll finish with at least 135,000 redeemable Rapid Rewards points plus at least 145,000 qualifying points — thereby granting you a Companion Pass for the remainder of this year and all of 2025.

However, the timing of this is critical. Since the Companion Pass qualifying point restarts resets on Jan. 1, you’ll want to ensure you reach the spending requirement — and have all your points posted — before the new year. That means you must hit the $15,000 spending threshold before your December statement closes, though to be safe, you should aim to do so by October or November.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Other notable card perks

As a Southwest Premier Business cardholder, you’ll also receive these benefits:

  • Two EarlyBird check-in passes per year
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spend on the card
  • Up to a $500 fee credit per year for transferring your points to another Rapid Rewards member’s account
  • 25% back on inflight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary
ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Meanwhile, the Southwest Performance Card offers the following perks:

  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year (subject to availability)
  • 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $5,000 you spend on the card
  • Up to a $500 fee credit per year for transferring your points to another Rapid Rewards member’s account
  • Up to 365 inflight Wi-Fi credits per year
  • Up to $100 free credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus every four years
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 9,000 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary

Here’s a comparison of the earning rates on the two cards:

Bonus rates Southwest Premier Business Card Southwest Performance Business Card
4 points per dollar N/A Southwest purchases
3 points per dollar Southwest purchases Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
2 points per dollar Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners; local transit and commuting (including ride-hailing services) Social media and search engine advertising; internet, cable and phone services; local transit ad commuting (including ride-hailing services)
1 point per dollar All other purchases All other purchases

As you can see, the Performance card has some slightly higher (and an expanded list of) earning rates plus some notable added benefits. However, deciding if those are worth the additional $100 in annual fees is up to you.

Who qualifies for Southwest business card sign-up bonuses?

Knowing if you qualify for a bonus is important before applying for either card. For starters, these cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. You’ll likely be denied immediately if you’ve been approved for five (or more) new credit cards across all issuers over the last 24 months.

In addition, both cards have the same language for these offers:

“This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this business credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this business credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this business credit card within the last 24 months.”

However, the Premier and Performance cards are treated as different products — which means you could get approved for one if you have the other.

Finally, you may not need a formal business to get approved for one of the cards. If you have a side gig or are just getting started as a sole proprietor, you may qualify for a business card with just your Social Security number — though be sure to read our guide on how to complete a Chase business card application for more details.

Related: 9 reasons to get a business credit card

Get extra points to use with Southwest

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. However, unlike the points earned from the Southwest cobranded credit cards, these points do not count toward earning the Companion Pass.

That said, you can transfer those points to Southwest and have even more Rapid Rewards points at the ready to “pay” for your tickets, and then your designated companion can come for just the taxes and fees.

Southwest Boeing 737-800 interior. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Your complete guide to maximizing Southwest Rapid Rewards

Bottom line

With the current welcome bonuses on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, you can qualify for the Companion Pass with no flight requirements if you apply (and are approved) for one of the cards and complete the spending requirement by the end of the year.

As a reminder, you can change your companion up to three times in a calendar year, but not until you’ve completed all travel with your current companion.

To learn more about the cards, read our full reviews of the Premier Business and Performance Business.


Apply here: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card


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