How to get Southwest Companion Pass (and get $4,908 of free flights in 2020 and 2021)

I love flying Southwest, and I’m an ultra loyal customer. This is instruction to give you a great chance for getting Southwest companion pass for 2020-2021 (and an estimated $4,908 worth of free flights). Southwest Companion Pass lets you choose a friend to fly with you for free (you can change friends 3 times per year).

This is part of Hai’s Deals.app series on Southwest, and the Companion Pass.

The way Southwest Companion Pass works is pretty simple — the Companion Pass holder simply has to book a flight using points or money, then add his or her companion. All you have to pay for is the security tax of about $5.50 per leg of flight. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, as long as a seat is available — even if it’s the last seat on that flight and it’s a Business Select that costs $800. It’s free. I estimate the Southwest Companion Pass to be worth $5,500 based on my own personal experience.

Three reasons why now is a great time to get the Companion Pass:

  1. You could get Companion Pass for 2020 AND 2021
  2. It’s all done via credit card bonuses, so no spending on flights needed. Only need ~$6K of spend
  3. Southwest expanded to Hawaii last year. So getting BOGO to Hawaii is absolutely amazing!
  4. If you follow this instruction and value the Companion Pass as I do, this is worth about $7,500 in free travel over 2 years.

Now that I’ve convinced you the how valuable the Companion Pass is, here’s how to actually get it. This instruction is updated as of January 2020, so it’s as good as it gets. I also recommend that you follow the instruction as close to the letter as possible because it’s a tried and true method.

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll need to get 125,000 CP qualifying points — and luckily this is doable with credit card bonuses. There are several ways to get it, but I’m gonna give the approach I think is most optimal.

Important: To make this work is that you’ll need to get approved for both the Southwest Business Card and Personal Card. If you cannot qualify for the Business Card, this is very very difficult to do via credit card bonus.

Instructions:

1) Apply for Southwest Rapid Rewards (RR). You’d want all the points to post to your same account.

2) Apply for the “Southwest Business Performance Card first! Make sure you connect it to your RR number when applying. You’ll need to spend $5,200 in first 3 months to get 70,000 points.

Important: If you are not approved for the Business Card, you can of course ask for reconsideration from Chase, but do not proceed until you are approved.

3) After approval of the Business Card, apply for the Personal Priority credit card. This card gives you 40,000 points when you spend $1,150 in the first 3 months, then 35,000 more points when you spend $5,150 within six months. You’ll need to do both ASAP because you need the points.

4) When you’re approved for that too, you’re good. Now all you have to do is hit the spend limit within the time period.

5) This is how you much need to spend on each card:

  • Business Performance Card: spend $5,200 within 3 months — the reason is the $199 for the annual fee does not count towards the spend. You get roughly 70,000 bonus points + 5,200 = 75,200 points
  • Personal Priority Card: Spend $1,150 within 3 months — the $149 in annual fee does not count. You get roughly 40,000 + 1,150 points = 41,150 points
  • To get over the final stretch and hit 125,000 points, you’ll need to spend $4000 more on your Personal Priority Card within 6 months, which would give you 35,000 + 4000 = 39,000 points.
  • In total you spent $5,200 + $5,150 = $10,350 on the 2 credit cards
  • You get: 155,350 Southwest RR points

6) So this is how much value you get:

  • I value the Southwest RR points at 1.58 cents per point, which gives you $2,454 worth of points
  • Because your companion flies for free (buy one get one free), you’d effectively double the value of those points to $2,454 x 2 = $4,908.
  • If you fly a lot, like I do, you might find even more value — which I personally value Companion Pass at $5,500

Overall, this is pretty amazing ROI for a total annual fee of $348.

Several key points:

  1. A single person needs to apply and be approved for BOTH Southwest cards
  2. You need to apply for the Business Performance Card FIRST, and then after approval, apply for Personal Priority
  3. You technically have 115 days to complete your purchase.
  4. Evaluate the cards themselves on whether it’s worth it to use after you get your bonus.
  5. Chase may not approve your cards right away. Just be patient. It took them a couple of weeks to approve both of my cards. They also took some of my credit limit from my Sapphire Reserve before approving my personal Southwest card.

How you might screw up:

  1. You don’t get approved for both cards. If you are approved the Personal but not the Business, then you screwed up and didn’t follow up my instruction.
  2. If you screw up your spending and don’t hit the spend limits, then of course you wouldn’t get the bonuses.
  3. If you put in wrong or different RR numbers when you apply, then the points won’t count towards the same account and you wouldn’t get the Companion Pass.
  4. If you have applied for 5 or more credit cards in last 24 months, your chances of approval is low/none. Chase is also relatively strict.

Again, I love flying Southwest. All this works out if you fly Southwest often, and can qualify for all these offerings. I like their boarding efficiency, their free checked bags, their flexible rescheduling, and generous benefits. There are other drawbacks, of course, and I’ll write a full review of Southwest and ways to use the airline well later.

Safe travels.

-Hai / Deals.app