New 25k point credit, 80k consumer, 100k business offers. Southwest Airlines offers the unique Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly with free when you book either paid or award flights (including to Hawaii!) on Southwest.

For 2021, Southwest Airlines has made obtaining a Companion Pass even easier to obtain this year (qualify in 2021, it lasts through end of 2022). In a recent email:

For all Rapid Rewards® Members with a Rapid Rewards account opened by December 31, 2020, we know travel may be limited early this year, but we still want to give you more opportunities to earn A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass so we’re giving you:

15,000 tier qualifying points (TQPs)**
25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (CPQPs)**
10 qualifying flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred
25 qualifying flights toward Companion Pass

The usual requirement is to earn 125,000 qualifying points, so now you only have to earn 100,000 qualifying points in the calendar year 2021.

Points earned from credit cards are qualifying points toward the requirement, including sign-up bonuses! You can often get very close to that magic number when you add up the potential miles from these Southwest consumer and business cards. This is on top of the value of redeeming those points for miles (75,000 points can get you $1,100+ in Wanna Get Away airfare). Right now, you can get up to 80,000 bonus points from a single consumer card and 100,000 from a single business card. 80k is the biggest bonus that I’ve seen on the consumer cards, the standard offer is only 40k.

With the limited-time 80,000 point consumer card bonuses available at this moment, if you put $20,000 in purchases on the cards during 2021 and satisfy the bonus requirements, that would get you 100,000 qualifying points with a single consumer card and zero flying. $20,000 over a year is $1,667 per month in purchases. Even if you don’t travel much in 2021, the Companion Pass would still be good through December 2022. This may be a small window of opportunity, as the standard bonus on these card is usually only 40,000 points. If I was still a DINK (dual-income no kids), I would be all over this. You can also change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card

  • Up to 80,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after $10,000 in purchases in the first 9 months.
  • 3,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 5X points per $1 spent on Southwest(R) purchases, between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest(R) purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $69 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier card

  • Up to 80,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after $10,000 in purchases in the first 9 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 5X points per $1 spent on Southwest(R) purchases, between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest(R) purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority card

  • Up to 80,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 30,000 points after $10,000 in purchases in the first 9 months.
  • 7,500 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit.
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list status.
  • 5X points per $1 spent on Southwest(R) purchases, between 12/1/2020 and 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other Southwest(R) purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $149 annual fee.

The following are business credit cards:

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card

  • Up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points. 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Inflight WiFi Credits (up to 365 x $8 credits per year).
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit in the form of a statement credit of up to $100 every four years.
  • $199 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Value of Rapid Rewards points. Redeeming Southwest points for flights varies in a narrow range, but a very reasonable approximation from my experience is 1.5 cents in Wanna Get Away airfare in per point. That works out to $600+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 40,000 points or $900+ in Wanna Get Away airfare for 60,000 points or $1,100+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 75,000 points (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). Importantly, Southwest does NOT have blackout dates or seat restrictions when you redeem with points. This means that Southwest points are much easier to use than a “saver award” on traditional airlines.

Now, if you manage to qualify for the the Companion Pass on every trip that you book with those points, that doubles the potential value of each award redemption. In other words, 125,000 Rapid Rewards, would usually get you $1,850 in Wanna Get Away airfare, but with the Companion Pass you’d get an extra companion ticket for every flight booked.

A backup option is gift card redemptions. You can currently redeem 6,750 points for a $50 a Amazon.com or Walmart gift certificate. That makes 60,000 points worth $444 in Amazon or Walmart gift cards. It’s something, but less than half the value you could get from redeeming for flights.

Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person. The fees on the other airlines have crept up to $30 per bag, each-way. That adds up.

Our family policy is to not try out a new credit card unless it offers us $500 in total value. Just the free award flights from the points are enough to satisfy that rule, and then you can add on the potential value of the companion tickets.

Card restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are subject to “5/24” restrictions, which means that your application will be automatically denied if you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months (check your credit reports). Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. There is also this language on the consumer card:

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

Basically, you can get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest consumer card once every 24 months. You can also get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest business card once every 24 months.

Extending your Companion Pass with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest points on a 1:1 basis. If you book an award flight with those Southwest points while you have the Companion Pass, you can double the value of your Ultimate Rewards points as well.

Bottom line. Right now, you can earn up to 100,000 Southwest points from qualifying for a single credit card sign-up, which in itself can be redeemed for a lot of free Southwest flights (including Hawaii). Earning 125,000 points overall (including from credit card rewards and bonuses) in a year will earn you the Southwest Companion pass, which provides a free companion ticket on every flight bought with cash or points for the rest of the current year and all of the next year. Finally, Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person on every flight.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers and the Top 10 Best Business Card Offers.

“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Chase Southwest Credit Cards: Get a 2021/2022 Companion Pass With Just One Card, $20,000 in Purchases, and No Flying from My Money Blog.


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