If you read Bloomberg or follow finance and business news online during the fall of 2016 then you might have heard about the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, the "it" credit card that got millennials who love to travel (like me) very excited because of its huge sign up bonus and cool benefits. In fact, it is the card that get me interested in finding great travel deals. After an exhaustive research (mainly on Reddit's /r/churning) and with advice from my friend, Mr. Gee (aka "The Point Gee"), a renown expert on points and rewards, I have found one of the best benefits for frequent travelers in the Southwest Companion Pass. I have just recently obtained this and figured that it would be of interest of anyone who likes to travel with a significant other, a family member, a friend, or just another person!

What is Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to take one companion with you for FREE on any Southwest Airlines flight you book. The best thing is that the pass also works with reward flights that you book using points! And there is no limit on how many time you use the benefit!

The pass is valid for the calendar year that you receive it AND the following calendar year.  Therefore, the best time to get the pass would be right at the beginning of the year so that you can take advantage of it for almost 2 whole years!

How do I get one?

There are two ways you can get the pass. Earn 110,000 points OR fly 100 segments with Southwest Airlines within one calendar year.

Now, it would be very difficult to obtain this pass just by flying if you are not a frequent traveler.  Even if you do fly often, it would still be almost impossible to get the pass quickly at the beginning of the year just by flying. Luckily, there are a few "tricks" you can use to obtain the pass without having to fly at all!

Step-by-step instruction on how to get Companion Pass

The best way to get the Companion Pass is to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points. This might sound like a lot but luckily you can earn these points very quickly through sign up bonuses from a couple of Southwest credit cards. These are the steps that I use to get my Companion Pass.

1. Sign up for Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and Rapid Rewards Premier credit cards

Each of these cards comes with a whooping 50,000 Rapid Rewards points sign-up bonus after you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of account opening

Update 2/8/2018: I no longer have referral code for Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus so I included public link below.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus 

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 2 points/$1 spend on Southwest
  • 1 point/$1 spend on all other purchases
  • 3,000 bonus points on account anniversary date
  • $69 annual fee applied to the first statement


  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 2 points/$1 spend on Southwest
  • 1 point/$1 spend on all other purchases
  • 6,000 bonus points on account anniversary date
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $99 annual fee applied to the first statement

2. Spend $2000 on each cards within 3 months of account opening

In addition to the 50,000 bonus points from each card, you will also earn 1 point/$1 that you spend. Meaning that after you completed the minimum spending requirement, you will have 104,000 total points in your account. Be aware that your annual fees DO NOT count toward this minimum spending requirement.

3. Obtain the additional 6,000 points

You have some flexibility here. You could either spend an additional $6,000 on the card, buy and fly Southwest to get the remaining points, or you can refer a friend to sign up for the card, too. (You get 5,000 points for each friend you referred).

The time limit for completing this step is by the end of the calendar year where the points will be reset. However, keep in mind that the earlier you earn your Companion Pass, the better since you will be able to use it for this remaining calendar year and next!

4. Wait for points to post on your Rapid Rewards account

Bonus point will show up on your statement once you met the minimum spending requirement.

Bonus point will show up on your statement once you met the minimum spending requirement.

This could take up to 6 weeks but it is usually much faster than that. My points posted one day after my statement indicated that I have earned the bonus points.

How much does this all cost?

Annual Fee for Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus $69 + 
Annual Fee for Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier $99
= $170 total out-of-pocket cost

This is about the cost of one round trip tickets from San Diego to the Bay Area which is one of the cheapest segments available. In other words, the Companion Pass will already pay for itself if you use it once in the two years!

Of course, good financial habit is assumed here, namely you pay your balance off in full each month and that the $4,000 for the total minimum spending requrements is already part of your expenses.

In-Depth Readings

A few more topics that are not related to the Companion Pass itself but you might find useful.


Wouldn't having so many new accounts hurt my credit score?

Yes and No. Credit scores are calculated based on a few factors. While signing up for new cards will reduce your average credit history (bad), it also decrease your credit utilization ratio (amount owe/credit available) which is a good thing. FICO has a great explanation on how the FICO credit score is calculated here.

The Dreaded Chase "5/24" Rule

If you do not have the habit of signing up for a lot of credit cards then it is most likely that you would not have to worry about this. The Chase 5/24 rule is, in a nutshell, an unwritten rule that Chase will not approve your credit card application if you have sign up for 5 or more credit cards with ANY issuer (American Express, Citi, Department Store Cards etc.) in the past 24 months. Since both the Plus and the Premier are Chase branded card, they are affected by this rule. If you are not sure whether you pass this limit, the best way to check this is to get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com and count the number of new accounts in your report in the last two years.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You've just earned yourself a Companion Pass and 110,000 Rapid Rewards points. Now go online, name your companion (you can change your companion up to 3 times) and go travel with him/her for the price of one ticket (or free if you use your points!).

As for me, I have already booked a trip to the East Coast planned in the spring in addition to a couple of trips up to San Francisco with my friends so I'll definitely be using the heck out of this Companion Pass!

If you would like to sign up for the two cards mentioned, please use the link in this post to help me earn more Rapid Reward points for my travel. Thanks!