The Southwest Credit Cards are back! This is exciting because they make it super easy for you to get a Southwest companion pass.
What is a Southwest companion pass and why is it awesome?
A companion pass allows you to bring someone along with you for free any time you fly on a Southwest flight.
How do you qualify for a companion pass?
You must take 100 one way flights or obtain 110,000 points within one calendar year.
How long does the companion pass last for?
It lasts for the remainder of the calendar year in which you received it, and the entire following calendar year.
Can you change your companion?
Yes, you can change it up to three times a year.
Ok, so now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s walk through on how to get the companion pass. The idea is really simple. When you sign up for a Southwest credit card, you get 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first three months.
So, you just need to sign up for two of these credit cards and you will already obtain 100,000 of the 110,000 points you need to get the pass. Additionally, you will receive another 4,000 points for spending the two $2,000 purchase requirements (one for each card). Then you just need to get 6,000 more points on your own. You can do this by buying Southwest flights, using the Southwest credit card, or checking out any of the promotions on the Southwest website.
Since it’s still early in the year, now is the perfect time to get the companion pass because it will last for the rest of 2015 and for the entirety of 2016. The earlier you get it, the longer you can enjoy it.
Below are the three different types of credit cards Southwest is currently offering. It is very important to apply for two different cards in order to get the 100,000 points.
There isn’t a huge difference between any of these cards. The Plus card is $30 cheaper than the Premier, but you get 3,000 less anniversary points. The Premier Business card just requires you to give a business name when you apply. I wouldn’t let this scare you off from applying. In the past I’ve successfully applied for all four (there used to be four) lines, two of them business lines. I think I used iamhellacheap and txtwar as my business names. Iamhellacheap led to a lot of awkward conversations whenever I needed to call into customer service, so maybe you should think harder about your company name and backstory.
I currently only hold the personal plus card to avoid the annual fees. Yes, you will need to pay $69 or $99 in annual fees and the first year isn’t waived. Even though this is the case, it is still a very good deal. Just 100,000 points alone can be worth up to $1,900 if you fly the right flights. And this doesn’t even include the benefit of bringing someone for free with you every time which means you can essentially double the value to $3,800.
The strategy of singing up for these cards is up to preference. If you can comfortably spend $4,000 in three months, I’d suggest signing up for two cards on the same day. This is because every time you sign up for a credit card you get a hard inquiry on your credit which deducts 2 points off of your credit score. If you sign up on the same day, they will only need to inquire once.
I would also sign up for 1 personal and 1 business if you’re signing up on the same day. This will make it less likely that they reject one of your applications. However, even if you get rejected, do not worry. Just call them and ask why. Explain that you are planning on making a lot of flights in the near future and you think this card will be ideal for you.
If you want to play it safe and sign up for one credit card at a time, that is fine too. That is actually how I did it. Just make sure you don’t cancel your first card before signing up for the next one.
I’m a huge supporter of these Southwest cards so feel free to leave a comment or PM me with any questions. I have not paid cash for a single Southwest flight in the past three years and I’ve flown numerous flights between Norcal, Socal and Vegas in this time frame. We also did other places like NY and Seattle, but I wouldn’t recommend it for NY. Beatrice also got to fly for free for almost a year and a half. Even though you probably would only want to fly Southwest for shorter distances, this is still the best airline/credit card deal I’ve ever seen.
Sign up here! Note: updated 1/6/16 to reflect my referral link.