Southwest ups signup bonus – making companion pass an easy possibility

[Please note: Southwest changed their terms, and signing up for two different credit cards is no longer allowed.  They also reduced their signup bonus to $40k.]

Chase Southwest 50,000 bonus link

A good friend shared this in our premium member area, and since the last time this happened, it only lasted a couple days, I wanted to share. After all – there isn’t a credit card bonus out there that gets you (the equivalent of) 220,000 FREE frequent flyer miles.

Whether you’re into point-hacking or not – these signup bonuses are worth dipping your toes into the water without concerns about becoming one of those geeky credit-card hackers juggling a dozen+ credit cards. (Hey – I resemble that comment!

The skinny on Southwest’s companion pass:
Fly 100 one-way flights, or 110,000 miles – and you’ll earn the ability to take a companion with you for free through the end of 2019.  100 flights is hard work – even for the savviest of travelers. But 110,000 miles – when you basically stumble across the first 104,000 is a cake-walk.  Here is a link to Southwest’s terms of service on earning a companion pass.

By the way: This isn’t a single use companion pass. It’s unlimited use until the end of 2019. I did this myself back when the signup bonus was 60k, and Michelle has already flown with me as a free companion 3 times. We’re going on our 4th trip this month on a trip to Turks and Caicos with the kids. (Yes – Southwest flies to Turks-and-Freakin-Caicos!) 

How to get it:

  1. Check your credit at Credit Sesame to make sure your score is at least 690. (Chase doesn’t typically accept applicants with scores less than 690, so any less than that is a roll of the dice, and a temporary 10-point ding against your credit score.)*
  2. Sign up for a Rapid Rewards account (free) and make note of your frequent flyer number.
  3. Chase allows two credit card applications per month, and if you apply for two in one day, it only counts as one credit-pull. So if you’re approved for the first card, turn around and apply for the 2nd one.
  4. 104,000 frequent flyer points on Southwest is a great reward in itself, but if you decide to keep the cards around until you spend another $6000 (or fly 6000 miles), you’ll automatically become eligible for a companion pass – effectively doubling the value of your 110,000 points.
  • Click to apply for the plus card
    • $69/year (Worth it considering 50,000 points on Southwest is as many as 5 round-trip flights)
    • 3000 bonus points each year
    • 50,000 points after you spend $2000 on your card**
  • Click to apply for the premier card
    • $99/year (Still worth it considering 50,000 points on Southwest is as many as 5 round-trip flights)
    • 6000 bonus points each year
    • 50,000 points after you spend $2000 on your card**

Questions? Feel free to comment below.


* Disclosure: If you use my referral link above, I will be given 10,000 bonus points from Chase, and I may receive compensation from Credit Sesame if you ever pay anything for their services. (Don’t pay though. Just use their free service.)

** Please use credit responsibly. I am in no way endorsing spending money you don’t have the ability to pay off within 30 days.  Carrying a balance on a credit card for even just a few months would cost more than the value of the points themselves and is not a good idea.




9 replies
  1. Erin Rogers
    Erin Rogers says:

    Thanks for the info! Am I reading this correctly that if you earn the companion pass it allows someone to fly with you on EVERY trip for a year? Not just one free flight?

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      You are correct Erin. You have to select one companion (and are allowed to change that once per year), but that companion can fly for free as long as they fly with you. I’ve taken Michelle along with me 3x and only paid taxes (about $11) – and that is whether I pay cash for my flight or use some of the signup bonus miles. (More on the cash/points decision in another post some time)

      • Erin Rogers
        Erin Rogers says:

        Thanks! So, we would need to make sure we’d use it enough to cover the annual fees for both cards as well. But, at $169/yr for both….that probably is only one flight. Anything beyond that is really ‘free’ 🙂

        • Joel
          Joel says:

          Good point. Don’t forget that companion pass or not (and whether you use the cards or not) – the 9000 bonus points per year should more than cover that fee as long as you (wisely) use those points to fly Southwest once per year.

          My last flight was a last minute booking for a funeral that would have been a little over $200, and I only needed about 8000 points. (3000ish points one way, and 5000ish back.)


  2. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    Does Chase query all 3 credit agencies, or if just one, which one? After the Equifax breach I followed the advice to put a freeze on all of them. The freeze can be lifted temporarily, but it’s a hassle.

  3. Joel
    Joel says:

    Update: I just signed my wife up for both cards so we could switch from me having her as a companion to each of us having one of the kids as a companion, but learned that you need to open the 2nd application in a different browser. (If you’re a chrome user, “incognito mode” works as well.)

    • Joel
      Joel says:

      All the better! (Depending on when your last flight was, you may earn companion pass even sooner).

      As long as you haven’t had a Southwest Credit Card in the past two years, you should be eligible. (Or applied for more than 4 new credit cards in the past two years. (Google “Chase 5/24 rule”)

      BTW: A lot of feedback has been coming back that they didn’t get approved for their 2nd card. A polite call to Chase should easily give you an andswer as to how to fix.

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