Southwest Companion Pass: 3 Chase Credit Cards with 60k Bonus Points Each

swa_logoUpdated. Southwest Airlines offers a unique feature called the Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly free with you on both paid and award flights. If you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Qualifying Points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year plus the following full calendar year. For example, if you earned it in March 2017, you would have the benefit for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018. You can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

As of March 31st, 2017, Southwest ended the ability to transfer hotel points to qualify for the Companion Pass. Therefore, I have removed a big chunk of this original post.

However, points earned from credit cards still count, including sign-up bonuses. As such, it is notable that all three Chase credit cards currently have a limited-time offer of 60,000 bonus points. Picking any two cards and qualifying for the bonus will get you there with no flying at all with an upfront cost as low as 69 + 99 = $168 in annual fees.

  • Chase Southwest Plus consumer card is offering 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $69 annual fee applies. 3,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee).
  • Chase Southwest Premier consumer card is offering 60,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $99 annual fee applies. 6,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee). No foreign transaction fees.
  • Chase Southwest Premier Business card offers 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. $99 annual fee applies. 6,000 points at card anniversary (and you pay another annual fee). No foreign transaction fees.

Restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are subject to “5/24” restrictions, which means that your application will be automatically denied if you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months (check your credit reports). Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. There is also this language:

This product is available if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Because the companion pass counts for the calendar year of qualification and the next full calendar year, you can still time things so that you have Companion Pass most of the time (assuming these credit card bonuses stay this high).

In addition, you can use all those points for free flights alongside your new Companion Pass. 110,000 Rapid Rewards points transfers roughly to $1,700 in Wanna Get Away airfare (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). If $1,700 would have theoretically covered 16 free one-way flights, then with the Companion Pass you’d be getting 16 free one-way flights for two people.

Bottom line. Right now, you can earn 120,000 Southwest points from signing up for just two credit cards with required total annual fees as low as $168. That’s enough points to automatically qualify for the Southwest Companion pass. With the 120k bonus points and Companion Pass, you’d have roughly 16 free one-way flights for two people. Not bad for $170. Explore the country!


  1. When you say this only counts until March 2017, will they be doing away with the hotel+flight package counting towards companion status?

    • Yes, you can still do the transfer after 3/31/17, but the 120,000 Southwest points coming from Marriott hotel points will no longer qualify you for the Companion Pass. You’ll still get the points and the nights though.

  2. From the Southwest web page:

    *Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned by making purchases with a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners. Purchased points, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment, tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and partner bonuses (excluding points bonuses earned on the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not count toward Companion Pass.

    Where did you see that will accept conversion points until March 31st? Thanks

  3. I’m trying to transfer Marriott points to SW to get the Companion Pass and maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t think your math adds up. In your post, it says that 270,000 Marriott points = 120,000 SW points, but I’m not seeing where that is the case. The only increments I see online are to transfer 70,000 Marriott points for 25,000 SW points (that is the best ratio, like you wrote). At that ratio, I would need to buy 125,000 SW points to pass the 110,000 point threshold for the Companion Pass. 125,000 SW points would cost me 70,000 = 25,000 x 5 or 70,000 x 5 = 350,000 Marriott points. Is there something I’m missing? I’m really hoping I am because I currently have about 285,000 Marriott points. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks

  4. Jonathan –

    This is an amazing deal even with the annual fees.

    Also, $LUV hit a new all time high 3 days ago.

    The Year To Date return is 23%.


  5. Hello,
    Quick question- do you need to have 110,000 points in your account at once, or just to have earned 110,000 points in a year? For instance, I’ve gotten one 60,000 pt card bonus this year, but was planning on using the points for a trip. So even if I got another 60,000 pts this year, my total balance would never be 110,000. Would I still qualify for the pass?
    Thank you!

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