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Credit Cards

Southwest credit cards' welcome bonus now includes the Companion Pass and 30,000 points

Earn Southwest's Companion Pass and 30,000-point bonus before time runs out.

Genaro Molina | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

The offer mentioned below is no longer available.

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is one of the most coveted airline perks as it's essentially an unlimited buy-one-get-one coupon for flights on the airline. Whenever you're flying Southwest you can bring along a companion for "free" if you have the Companion Pass — you'll only have to pay the taxes for their flight (just $5.60 for one-way flights within the U.S.). You can even use the Companion Pass for flights you redeemed points on, making the entire flying experience extremely cheap.

And now, because of a new Southwest credit card promotion, the Companion Pass is easier than ever to earn.

To gain access to the benefit you normally have to fly 100 one-way qualifying flights on Southwest or earn 135,000 qualifying points through a combination of flying and/or spending on a credit card. With this promotion, however, you'll only need to spend a moderate amount to enjoy the perk until Feb. 2024.

CNBC Select details the promotion and what you need to know about qualifying for the offer.

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Southwest Airlines Companion Pass bonus is back

For a limited time, you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass and bonus points after signing up for a Southwest consumer credit card and meeting the minimum spending requirements. Here's what you'll earn:

  • A Companion Pass which is valid through Feb. 28, 2024
  • 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points that don't expire

To earn the bonus, you must spend $4,000 on qualifying purchases with the card in the first three months from account opening.

Southwest points are worth around 1.4 cents each, meaning the 30,000 bonus points are worth about $420. However, the more you fly Southwest and use the Companion Pass, the more money you'll save with this deal.

Southwest cards with Companion Pass welcome bonus

This new offer is now available for each of the personal Southwest credit cards. So no matter which card is the best fit for you, you'll have an easy path to earning a Companion Pass:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Who this card is best for: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is great for someone looking for a low annual fee travel credit card and flies with the airline occasionally. With just a $69 annual fee, you'll have access to perks such as two EarlyBird Check-Ins each year, 3,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary, and 25% back on inflight purchases.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Who this card is best for: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a solid choice for someone who spends a bit more regularly with the airline. The Plus awards 2X points per dollar spent on Southwest flights, while the Premier gives 3X. The card has a $99 annual fee, but you'll also get two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year, 25% back on inflight purchases, 1,500 tier qualifying points (TQPs) for every $10,000 you spend on purchases with the card and 6,000 Southwest points every account anniversary.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Who this card is best for: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the highest-tier Southwest credit card available and comes with great perks for someone who regularly flies with the airline. It comes with an annual $75 travel credit, 7,500 Southwest points every account anniversary and four upgraded boardings per year for a $149 annual fee. Plus, you'll earn 1,500 TQPs for every $10,000 you spend on purchases with the card.

Who's eligible to earn a Southwest card welcome bonus?

To qualify for a Southwest credit card welcome offer, you must:

  1. Not be a current Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card member, and
  2. Not received a new cardholder bonus for any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card in the past 24 months

Those restrictions don't apply to Southwest business credit cards or employee cards.

Bottom line

The Southwest Companion Pass is a great way to save money on travel if you regularly fly with someone. While it's often not recommended to spend more than you normally would to earn rewards points or elite status, as long as you're operating within your budget, this welcome offer is an enticing one. It remains unclear when the bonus will end, so consider grabbing a card before it's too late.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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