The best credit cards to earn the Southwest Companion Pass


The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring a designated travel companion at no additional cost on all your Southwest flights. And that’s on both paid and award tickets (but you must pay taxes and fees.).

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

And now, with a best-ever sign-up bonus on the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card, you can entirely qualify for the Companion Pass through the end of 2024 by meeting the spending requirements on this card.

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. Southwest’s cobranded credit card welcome bonuses count toward the 135,000 qualifying point Companion Pass requirement.

Through Aug. 28, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card is offering 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, you’ll earn an additional 60,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first nine months.

This is the best offer we’ve seen on this card and is worth a whopping $1,800, per our TPG valuations. That’s fantastic value for a $99 annual fee.

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

So if you got the card now and met the $15,000 spending requirement by the end of the year, you’d enjoy a Companion Pass through the rest of 2023 and all of 2024.

Breaking down the points you’ll earn: You’ll receive a total of 120,000 points from the sign-up bonus. 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.) So that’s at least 135,000 points so far.

Add on the 10,000 bonus points boost that all Southwest credit cardholders Southwest cardholders toward Companion Pass qualification every year, and you’ll have at least 145,000 qualifying points — thereby granting you a Companion Pass for the remainder of 2023 and all of 2024.

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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 post — before the new year. So make sure you reach the $15,000 target ideally by October or November, at the latest.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Other notable card perks

As a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card 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 $10,000 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

Here’s what you’ll earn when you use the card on purchases:

  • 3 points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Related: Who qualifies for 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 branded 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 along paying just taxes and fees, starting at $5.60 per flight.

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 bonus on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, you can qualify for the Companion Pass with no flight requirements if you apply for the card by Aug. 28 and complete the (admittedly high) 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.

You can read more about the Premier Business card in our full card review.

Application link: Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Additional reporting by Summer Hull.


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