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Miles and Points

Earning Southwest’s Companion Pass is Closer Than You Think

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is the benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you for free except for taxes and fees. This is a great benefit for frequent Southwest fliers. That’s what makes it so sought after.

Qualification requirements are steep–you need to earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. This will give you the Companion Pass for the rest of the year you earn it, plus the entire following year.

Right now, there are 2 reasons those qualification requirements aren’t as steep as they appear to be. One of those reasons won’t last long, so you’ll need to act soon.

Reason 1: Head Start from Southwest

Due to the obvious lack of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest just provided it’s members with 2 generous gifts. For those members who’s Companion Pass was scheduled to expire on 12/31/20, an extension to 12/31/21 has been granted.

Also, for those seeking to earn the Companion Pass this year, Southwest has given a 25,000 point head start. Now you only need to earn 100,000 more points this calendar year to qualify.

Reason 2: Elevated Credit Card Bonus Points

From now through February 8, 2021, the welcome bonus for Southwest personal credit cards is 80,000 points. That’s the largest welcome bonus ever for these cards.

Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 9 months from account opening.

After spending the required $10,000, you’ll have 80,000 bonus RR points + the regular 10,000 RR points you earned for the spend for a total of 90,000 Rapid Rewards points. That alone can be worth about $1,300 in Southwest flights–or double that if you have the Companion Pass.

Add those 90,000 RR points to the 25,000 qualifying point head start and you’re at 115,000–only 10,000 points away from qualifying for the Companion Pass for this year, and all of next year.

Keep in mind, to be eligible for any of the Southwest credit cards, you can’t be a current cardholder of any Southwest personal credit card and you must not have received any welcome bonus for any Southwest personal card in the last 24 months. And since these are Chase cards, you’ll also need to pass their 5/24 rule.

In Summary

Between Southwest’s generous 25,000 point head start and their even more generous 80,000 points welcome bonus on their personal credit cards, now is a great time to qualify for the Companion Pass. It’s closer than you think.

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