The Southwest Airlines companion pass continues to be one of the best ways to significantly reduce travel costs when you fly domestically. Once you're eligible for the pass, you designate a companion that flies with you free of charge - all you have to do is pay the taxes and fees of $5.60.
And up until now, qualifying for companion pass has been pretty exclusive (and still is for people who live in states other than California). There are two ways to qualify:
- Earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year
- Take 100 qualifying one-way segments
You can earn Southwest points by either spending on one of their co-branded credit cards, making purchases with partner hotels, car rentals, or ground transportation partners, using a Southwest shopping or dining portal or taking advantage of specific Southwest offers. You can read our review of the Rapid Rewards Program here.
Sweet Deal for CA Residents
Just a few days ago Southwest announced that California residents who apply and get approved for one of their Rapid Rewards credit cards would be eligible for companion pass after making 1 purchase. Companion pass status is valid until the end of 2018. That's huge.
This is a big deal because the card only has a $69 annual fee. That means for $69 you're getting an entire year of flights for your designated companion for just the cost of taxes and fees. And because the card has a sign on bonus of 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, you can basically take 2-4 trips for the cost of $20 per trip.
How to Apply
First - you have to be a California resident to apply and must not hold a Southwest credit card or have had one in the past 24 months to qualify. The offer is only good until November 30th, 2017.
If you qualify, follow this link to visit the website of the offer. It should look like the below screenshot.
Fill out the application and apply and you should get an instant approval decision.
Note: If you get denied, give Chase a call and see if you can get them to revisit your application. Sometimes it takes talking to the credit risk division to change their minds.
- Call Chase and ask them to expedite the card. The faster they can send it to you the sooner you can make your first purchase and get companion status. It may take up to 15 days until you're eligible to designate a companion and then 6-8 weeks for the pass to be fulfilled
- The pass is only good until December 2018, so even if you qualify for the sign on bonus in 2018 it won't count towards earning status for 2019
- Apply before November 30, 2017!