Home>Travel inspiration>Tips + News>Loyalty + Rewards

Southwest Credit Cards Offering Rare Opportunity to Earn a Valuable Companion Pass

By Eric Rosen

Feb 9, 2021

share this article
Southwest’s deal is worth thinking about.

Photo by Eliyahu Yosef Parypa / Shutterstock

Southwest’s deal is worth thinking about.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to earn a valuable Companion Pass and fly with a friend for free through next February with these new Southwest credit card bonuses.

share this article

AFAR partners with CreditCards.com and may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact the presentation of offers or affiliate links on this site. AFAR does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Our coverage is independent and objective, and has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of the AFAR editorial team.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available.

Three of Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards credit cards have just launched impressive introductory offers that include the chance to earn an ultra-valuable Companion Pass good through February 28, 2022. The Companion Pass is essentially a voucher good for unlimited two-for-one travel on both paid and award tickets. So you can fly and bring along a friend for (nearly) free.

Earning one usually involves either taking 125 qualifying one-way flights or racking up 125,000 qualifying points—through flying and credit card spending among other options—within a calendar year. But with these offers, you can simply spend your way to a Companion Pass, and earn 30,000 Rapid Rewards points that you can redeem for travel to boot. All you have to do is make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. 

Three credit cards, three chances for a Companion Pass

Here are the details on all three cards. 

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

With the lowest annual fee, this rewards card still packs in the points.

  • Welcome offer: Earn the Southwest Companion Pass valid through February 28, 2022, plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Annual fee: $69
  • Regular earning: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest and its hotel and car rental partners. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
  • Other benefits: Cardholders receive 3,000 bonus points every year on their account anniversary.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

A higher-end version with a higher annual fee and better benefits.

  • Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered by the Southwest Plus card. 

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Regular earning: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest and its hotel and car rental partners. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
  • Other benefits: Cardholders receive 6,000 bonus points every year on their account anniversary. They can also earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points toward A-List elite status for every $10,000 they spend on purchases in a calendar year, up to 15,000 TQPs total. A-List status gets you benefits like priority check-in, security, and boarding, and a 25 percent earning bonus on qualifying flights. Foreign transaction fees are waived.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Article continues below advertisement

This relatively new product is the most premium personal credit card Southwest offers, with some additional benefits to match.

  • Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered with the Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards.
  • Annual fee: $149
  • Earning: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest and its hotel and car rental partners. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
  • Other benefits: Cardholders receive 7,500 bonus points every year on their account anniversary and every account year, they will be reimbursed for up to four upgraded boardings (basically to be among the first 15 passengers during general boarding) based on availability. They also get a $75 Southwest travel credit to use every year and 20 percent back on Southwest in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi. There are no foreign transaction fees, and cardholders can spend their way toward A-List status the same way as with the Premier.

Why apply now?

You might not be traveling much for the time being or the near future, but these offers should still have you interested for a number of reasons. First, Southwest has only rarely offered the opportunity to earn a Companion Pass as part of its credit card sign-up terms, so it’s worth paying attention when a bonus like this comes around. The fact that you can earn not just a Companion Pass that’s good through next February, but that you can also rake in 30,000 points, all with a relatively low spending threshold is pretty phenomenal.

But what if you don’t plan to travel much in the near term? It’s true—long-haul international travel looks like it will rebound slowly due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and shifting government policies both in the United States and abroad. However, Dallas-based Southwest has a truly robust route network of flights both within the U.S. (including Hawaii) and to nearby international destinations, including Mexico and various ports of call in the Caribbean. So if you do end up traveling, even just a few times, within the  next year and plan to stay within the United States or hit the beach close by, having a Companion Pass in your back pocket could amount to tremendous savings. Additionally, since Southwest has no change or cancellation fees (and had that policy in place even before other airlines followed suit in 2020), you can keep your plans fluid. 

Finally, don’t forget about the 30,000 Rapid Rewards points you can earn as part of any of these offers. Each point is worth between 1.3 to 1.45 cents when redeemed for the airline’s cheapest Wanna Get Away fares, so your bonus could earn you as much as $435 toward award travel. And award tickets are also compatible with the Companion Pass, so you could book one seat using points and then use your pass for the other one. 

Any of these three offers is well worth applying for if you think you will be able to spend enough to earn the Companion Pass and then actually use it to fly Southwest in the coming year. If you’re trying to decide among the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, or Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, consider the following: Which card’s benefits will you get the most out of? Infrequent fliers might only need the pared-down perks the Plus offers, while oft-traveling road warriors might be better able to take advantage of the Priority’s upgraded boardings and in-flight discounts. Just be sure that you’ll get more worth from a particular card’s benefits than you will pay for its annual fee. Any of these three cards is currently presenting the opportunity to reap incredible potential value from both bonus points and a Companion Pass if you can hit the spending requirements, though, so you can’t really go wrong.  

Article continues below advertisement

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.

>> Next: The Best Rewards Credit Cards for International Travel

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy