By Stephanie Miller


5 Min. To Read

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You may not have heard yet, but Southwest is currently offering new customers one of their enviable Companion Passes, after the open any number of Southwest branded credit cards. These passes have the potential to save you thousands a year in free flights, but is it worth getting a new card over?

Depending on how often you fly and your travel plans over the next 11 months, this Companion Pass might reason enough to submit an application. For some, though, it might be worth holding out for something better.

What Is a Companion Pass?

Offered through Southwest Airlines, the Companion Pass is one of the best travel perks around. When you hold one of them, you can add a free companion onto any Southwest flight you take, whether you fly twice a year or 25 times.

The companion can be your spouse, best friend, a sibling, your child… ANYONE! As long as you pay for both your flight and the required taxes and fees on the complimentary companion’s flight (which start at $5.60 each way), you can allow someone to join you for free no matter where you go.

For instance, I plan to fly at least four times this year (a pretty modest number). Two of those flights will be with my significant other and two will include my kids. No matter who uses the Companion Pass, though, I’m set to save about $800 round-trip on their tickets. If you travel more often, you could save thousands!

In order to snag the Companion Pass, you typically need to earn 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points or you’ll need to fly 100 one-way flights in a year. But with this limited-time Southwest Airlines credit card offer, you can get your hands on a coveted pass without having to do either.

All About the New Offer

Now through February 11, 2019, Southwest is offering a free Companion Pass (plus 30,000 points) to anyone who opens one of their three Rapid Rewards credit cards. This includes the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority cards. To earn both the pass and the points, you simply have to meet a $4,000 minimum spend requirement within the first three months of card ownership.

The 30,000 points offered is slightly lower than the previous Rapid Rewards offer of 60,000 points. However, if you fly a lot and will take advantage of the Companion Pass, this is definitely a better bargain than those 30,000 extra points.

It’s also important to note that the promotional Companion Pass offered right now is only good through the end of this year (12/31/19). Typically, when you earn a Companion Pass, it’s actually good through the end of the following year; if you earn one in January, you’ll essentially get to enjoy the pass for two full years. However, with this promo pass ending in 2019, you’ll get to enjoy it for less time – only the months between when you meet your minimum spend requirement and New Year’s Eve.

If you don’t have much travel planned between now and the end of this year, you might actually fare better by waiting until the higher-point bonus offers return to the Rapid Rewards credit cards. The extra 30,000 points that you could earn as your bonus (60,000 total) would carry over to next year and could be used anytime you plan to travel; this promotional Companion Pass, of course, is only good through December 31st.

So, is this limited-time Southwest offer worth the application (and annual fee)? Well, It really just depends on how many times you’ll get the chance to use a Companion Pass this year. If you don’t have much travel planned, wait for a higher points offer – then, use those 60,000 points plus your annual spending to earn a full-length companion pass next January. If there are a number of trips on your 2019 schedule, though, apply now and tell your friend to pack his or her bags!

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