Southwest Companion Pass FAQ: You’ll Find the Answers Here!

INSIDER SECRET: You can change your companion THREE times per calendar year.

Many of us at Million Mile Secrets consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the BEST deal in travel. Why? Because it lets a friend or family member travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest. It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free (just pay taxes and fees, usually ~$6 one-way on domestic flights).

And when the Chase Southwest cards are offering increased sign-up bonuses, it makes it that much easier to earn the 110,000 Southwest points needed to get the Southwest Companion Pass! You can earn the points you need to qualify for a Companion Pass in a hurry with cards like:

The rules for earning and using Southwest Companion Pass can be confusing. So we’ll share the answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the Companion Pass.

Take a pal along for nearly free on paid and award tickets with the Southwest Companion Pass. (Photo by Maridav/Shutterstock)

About the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass can be incredibly valuable because Southwest flies to a lot of US cities, including popular vacations spots like Orlando, New Orleans, San Diego and Puerto Rico. And to international destinations like Aruba, Belize, Mexico and Grand Cayman.

Some folks frown upon Southwest for being a low-cost airline, but what’s not to like about them? The boarding process is among the most efficient, you can check two bags for free, they have a lot more non-stop flights than other airlines, and they offer the Companion Pass.

Million Mile Secrets readers frequently comment and email about earning and using the Southwest Companion Pass, so we thought we’d answer commonly asked questions here.

Southwest Companion Pass FAQ

1. What Is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is the best airline perk because it lets a friend or family member travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest. It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies for just the cost of taxes and fees as long as Southwest is selling seats on that flight.

2. Can My Southwest Companion Travel for Free If I Book My Ticket Using Points?

Yes, your companion can still travel free. You only have to pay a very small amount (~$6 one-way) for taxes. But some international destinations add additional taxes and fees. There is no limit to the number of times your companion can fly with you.

3. What Is the Southwest Companion Pass Worth?

Southwest points are generally worth ~1.5 cents each. So you could reach nearly double that value when you use Southwest points for award flights and bring a companion along.

4. How Can I Get a Southwest Companion Pass?

You need to fly 100 one-way flights (within a calendar year) on Southwest to qualify for the Companion Pass.


You need to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points (within a calendar year) for the Companion Pass.

Points from the Southwest credit cards count towards the Companion Pass at the moment.

5. When Do I Need to Earn the 110,000 Southwest Points By?

You have to earn the 110,000 Southwest points within ONE calendar year (January to December). Your Companion Pass is valid from the date you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to the end of the next calendar year.

For example, if you earn the companion pass on November 14, 2019, it is valid up to the end of 2020. And if you earned the Companion Pass on January 1, 2019, it is still valid up to the end of 2020. So earning the Companion Pass early in the year can get you close to two years of free flying on Southwest.

6. Can I Still Redeem 110,000 Southwest Points for Flights Once I Earn the Companion Pass?

You don’t lose your Southwest points when you earn the Companion Pass. You can still use the 110,000 Southwest points to book flights, and your companion flies for almost free if you have the Companion Pass.

7. Can My Companion Use Points From Their Own Account to Book My Flight and Then Fly for Free?

Yes. As long as you have a Southwest ticket in your name (either via cash, using your points, or using points from someone else’s account), you can add your companion to the flight.

8. Can My Partner and I Each Earn the Companion Pass and Fly the Kids for Free?

Yes, you and your partner can each earn the Companion Pass and add your kids, parents, or friends as companions. However, one person cannot earn more than one Companion Pass.

9. How Many Times Can I Change My Companion?

You can change your designated companion up to three times per calendar year, AFTER you initially choose your companion. That means you can have four different companions the first calendar year, then three in the second year – or seven total across the life of the pass.

So choose wisely!

You can switch back to an earlier companion, but it would count as a “switch” and eat into the seven changes permitted.

10. How Do I Activate My Southwest Companion Pass?

Sign into your Southwest account to activate your Southwest Companion Pass.

11. How Can I Use My Southwest Companion Pass?

Here are the details about how to add a companion to your Southwest reservation.

12. How Can I Add a Companion If I Booked Through a Travel Portal?

If you booked a Southwest flight through a portal, like the Chase Travel Portal, here’s more about how to add your companion to your ticket.

Southwest Credit Cards

1. Do the Chase Southwest Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses Count Towards the Companion Pass?

The credit card sign-up bonuses currently count towards Companion Pass status. Southwest points earned from spending on the Southwest cards also count.

2. Is the Annual Fee Waived for the First Year?

Currently, none of the Chase Southwest cards have waived annual fees.

However, when you renew your card each year, you’ll get:

That can help offset the annual fees! Here’s a quick look at the differences between the cards:

  Southwest Premier Card Southwest Premier Business Card Southwest Plus Card Southwest Priority Card Southwest Performance Business Card
Sign-Up Bonus Points 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months 80,000 points after you spend 5,000 in the first 3 months.
Spending • 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases
• 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
• 3X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases
• 2X points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
• 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
Anniversary Points 6,000 6,000 3,000 7,500 9,000
Foreign Transaction Fees None None 3% None None
Annual Fee $99 $99 $69 $149 $199

3. Can You Get the Bonus for the Business and Personal Version?

Yes, you can get the bonus for one personal (either the Chase Southwest Plus, Chase Southwest Premier, or Chase Southwest Priority) & one business Southwest card (the Chase Southwest Premier small business or Chase Southwest Performance Business card).

You can also get the bonus from both the Chase Southwest Premier small business and Chase Southwest Performance Business card!

4. Do I Qualify for a Small Business Card?

Lots of folks qualify for small business cards without even realizing it. For example, if you freelance write, tutor students, or even sell items on eBay, you could be eligible for a small business card!

Having a business credit card also makes it much easier to keep business expenses separate from personal expenses.

In fact, you can apply as a sole proprietor by using your social security number on the application and enter your name as the business name.

If you think your business will grow in the future, it’s easy to generate an EIN (Employer Identification Number) on the IRS website at any time. So there’s no need to jump through any major hoops.

Plus, certain business credit cards will not appear on your personal credit report. This means that the average age of your credit history should not decrease because the business credit line doesn’t sit on your personal credit report. Here’s more about how to fill out a Chase business card application.

5. Should I Apply for One Personal and One Business Card at the Same Time or One After the Other?

If you apply for two Chase cards at the same time, your second application almost always will be declined online. But if you call the Chase reconsideration line you can usually negotiate an approval for the card. They’ll likely just want more information from you, like documentation of a business or why you need both cards.

We’d recommend applying for the personal card first and then the business version, because it’s easier to explain why you’d need the personal version of the card and the business version, for example, if you want to keep your personal and business expenses separate.

However, if applying for a personal card first would increase your Chase 5/24 count to five cards in the past 24 months, apply for the business version first. Then apply for the personal version later, and you’ll still be eligible because most small business cards (including Chase) don’t add to your 5/24 count.

6. What Questions Does the Business Reconsideration Department Ask?

The questions have become more detailed over the years. Expect to be asked when you started your business, how long it has been established, what your business does, your revenue, sales, and profits from the last two or three years.

What are your future projections for revenue, sales and profits? Sometimes, Chase will also ask for proof of your business, like a copy of a business card, invoices, etc.

7. Can You Get the Bonus From ALL Chase Southwest Cards?

You can, but it will take years.

That’s because you can’t have more than one personal Southwest credit card at once. If you have one, you’ll have to cancel it before you open another. Additionally, you’re not eligible for the bonus on Chase Southwest personal cards if you’re earned the bonus on any Chase Southwest personal card in the past 24 months.

So you’ll have to apply for one personal and one small business Southwest card to get the Companion Pass.

8. Can Two People Apply for the Cards Separately, but Put in the Same Southwest Rapid Reward Account Number? Or Do We Have to Put in Our Individual Rapid Rewards Numbers?

You should always put in your own Rapid Rewards number in the application. If you don’t yet have one, it’s easy and free to set up a Southwest account.

9. How Do I Know Which Version of the Chase Southwest Cards I Already Have?

The most recent versions of the cards have the version name written right on the front, except the newest version of the Plus. For example, old Chase Southwest Plus versions has “Plus” written in the upper right hand corner. And the Chase Southwest Premier small business version says “Business Premier.”

If you had an older version of one of the cards and aren’t sure which version it was, you could:

a. Call the number at the back of the card to ask

b. Check your annual fee. The Premier cards have a $99 fee and the Plus card has a $69 fee. You can check your statements online and the first or second statement will have the annual fee

Timing the Southwest Companion Pass

The earlier in the year you earn your Companion Pass the better. Generally speaking, you should apply for the cards you want in the last quarter of the year and complete the minimum spending after your December or January statement closes.

Other Ways to Earn Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points

1. How Do I Check to See How Many Southwest Companion Pass Qualifying Points I Have?

You can check how many points you have towards the Companion Pass by signing into your Southwest account.

2. How Can I Earn Extra Points for the Southwest Companion Pass?

If at least one Chase Southwest card is offering a 60,000-point sign-up bonus and there’s a 50,000 Southwest point offer available too, you can earn enough points for the two-year Southwest Companion Pass (you’ll need 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year) by opening just two Chase Southwest cards and meeting the cards’ minimum spending requirements (60,000 points + 50,000 points).

If you apply for the Chase Southwest cards while there are only lower offers, here are more ideas for how to earn Southwest points.

Also, read the five things you need to know about the Companion Pass. And don’t forget about Chase’s strict 5/24 rule, where if you’ve opened five or more credit cards within the past 24 months from ANY bank (excluding certain other business cards), you won’t be approved for Chase cards.

3. Can I Transfer Points From Chase Ultimate Rewards Towards the Southwest Companion Pass Requirement?

If you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest in a 1:1 ratio. But those points do not count towards the Companion Pass.

Even though the points don’t count toward the Companion Pass, the points you transfer become twice as valuable once you have the Companion Pass, because you can bring a friend along for free!

Remember, you can not transfer hotel points to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass, either.

4. Can I Transfer Points From Amex Membership Rewards Towards the Southwest Companion Pass Requirement?

No, there’s no way to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points (the loyalty program of certain American Express credit cards) to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass.

Okay, I Have the Points! How Do I Use the Companion Pass?

1. Check Your Companion Pass Progress

You can check your progress by logging into your Southwest account.

You do NOT have to do anything to activate your Companion Pass, this happens automatically. Within a few days of 110,000 Southwest Companion Pass points posting to your Southwest account, you are officially a Companion Pass holder!

2. Name Your Companion

Log-in to your Southwest account and choose your companion.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Or just call Southwest at 800-248-4377 to register your companion.

Bottom Line

We consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the BEST miles and points deal for travel. And if timed correctly, you can your Southwest companion fly with you for free for almost two years.

You can find answers to the most frequently asked Companion Pass questions here, including:

  • The easiest way to earn the Companion Pass
  • How to activate your Companion Pass
  • How many times you can change your companion
  • How to qualify for the Chase Southwest small business card
  • …and more!

Have a Southwest Companion Pass question that’s not answered here? Let me know in the comments!

Check out our guides for using Southwest Airlines points:

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