Southwest credit cards offer a free Companion Pass as a bonus

Three Southwest credit cards are adding an excellent perk to their welcome bonus: an annual membership that lets you bring a travel companion with you on flights at no cost outside of taxes and fees.

The new introductory offer consists of 30,000 points and a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass® after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. It’s available when you apply and are approved for one of three credit cards: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card. The special flight pass can be used until February 28, 2025.

A 30,000 point bonus offer seems pretty standard for airline credit cards, especially in light of the fact that all Southwest cards charge annual fees. Other cards offer bonuses of up to 80,000 points, and the United Gateway℠ Card, for example, offers the same 30,000 point bonus and has no annual fee.

However, the main feature of Southwest cards is the Companion Pass®, one of the main benefits within the Southwest Rapid Rewards® program. A Companion Pass® lets you get a second ticket for a friend or family member every time you purchase a Southwest ticket and pay nothing but taxes and fees (generally $11.20 round-trip). (Note: You must enter the pass in the name of a specific person and it can only be used when this person flies with you.)

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It is usually very difficult to get a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. To get one you need to purchase 100 Southwest flights or earn 135,000 points on purchases (which may require spending up to or more than $100,000). With this new credit card offering, the Companion Pass® is arguably more attainable than ever.

Once earned, the pass lasts until February 28, 2025. That means the sooner you apply and the sooner you reach the $4,000 milestone, the longer you (and your friend or family member) can enjoy it.

And yes, the Companion Pass® is also valid when you purchase a flight with points, so you can use that 30,000 to start your trip with a travel companion. The number of points needed to book Southwest flights can vary largely based on the actual price of the flight. Some flights can be booked for as little as 3,000 points one way, but the amount needed can increase significantly for more expensive routes and dates. (In our experience, a flight that costs around $100 can be booked for around 10,000 points, plus fees.)

What is the best Southwest credit card for you?

Southwest is rolling out the same offer for all three of its consumer credit cards, including one that has a fairly low annual fee.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with the least expensive annual fee of the trio: $69. It offers double points in many categories, including: Southwest purchases, hotels and rental cars booked through Rapid Rewards®, local transportation and more. Some onboard perks include a 25% discount on purchases, and everyone who flies on Southwest gets their first and second checked bags free. There’s also a 3,000-point anniversary bonus each year with the card.

With a higher annual fee of $99, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers slightly better benefits, offering 3 points on Southwest purchases, a higher anniversary bonus (6,000 points), and 1,500 tier qualifying points for every $10,000 spent, which makes getting into the Rapid Rewards® program much easier.

The most premium option, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, has an annual fee of $149. It increases the anniversary bonus to 7,500 points, offers a $75 annual statement credit on Southwest purchases, and four upgraded boardings per year when available.

All three cards offer lost baggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended warranties, and purchase protection. Unfortunately, there is no trip cancellation or delay insurance, the benefits offered by other Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, one of Money’s cards the best travel credit cards, or the United℠ Explorer Card, one of Money’s the best airline maps.

The Companion Pass® lasts until February 28, 2025, but there is currently no information on how long the offer will be available to new applicants. has partnered with for our coverage of credit card products. Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

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