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This offer ended March 13, 2023.
The Southwest Companion Pass gets a lot of attention—and for good reason. It is essentially a voucher good for unlimited two-for-one travel on both paid and award tickets on Southwest Airlines.
Until March 13, 2023, three of Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards credit cards—Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card—have introductory offers in which you’ll score a coveted Companion Pass (valid until February 28, 2024, and excludes taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). You’ll also earn 30,000 Rapid Rewards points, after spending $4,000 in the first three months. That’s a huge payoff for simply signing up for and using a credit card.
Here’s why you should consider a Southwest credit card before March 13 and be on your way to flying with a plus-one for (nearly) free for almost an entire year.
Three reasons to be excited about these Southwest credit card offers
- Southwest’s Companion Pass allows pass holders to fly Southwest with a companion for free (besides mandatory taxes). Earning a Companion Pass typically requires earning 135,000 qualifying points (up from the 125,000 required in 2022) or flying 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to qualify. The current welcome bonus presents an almost too-good-to-be-true fast track.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards points are loosely pegged to a dollar value—each point is worth between 1.3 to 1.45 cents when redeemed for the airline’s cheapest “Wanna Get Away” fares. That means that a 30,000 Rapid Rewards points bonus is worth approximately $390–$435 on Southwest flights. Cha-ching! What’s more is that award tickets are also compatible with the Companion Pass, so you could book one seat using points and then use your pass for the other one, essentially doubling the value of the bonus to $780–$870.
- Great travel benefits are also bundled into Southwest’s cards. Depending on the card, benefits may include bonus points for eligible spending in select categories, passes for complimentary EarlyBird Check-In on Southwest flights (pending availability), and annual fee credits for Rapid Rewards points transfers. And though not a cardholder benefit, let’s not forget that Southwest does not and never has charged baggage fees for the first two checked bags under 50 pounds apiece.
Three cobranded credit cards offering a Companion Pass
All three Southwest personal cards—Plus, Premier, and Priority—have the exact same limited-time welcome offer until March 13, 2023: Earn a Companion Pass valid through February 28, 2024, plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. The difference between each card lies simply in the annual fee and package of benefits.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
With the lowest annual fee, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card still packs in the points.
- Welcome offer: Earn the Southwest Companion Pass valid through February 28, 2024, plus 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- Annual fee: $69
- Earnings on purchases: Earn two points per dollar spent on purchases with Southwest, its hotel and car rental partners, local transit and commuting purchases (including rideshares), internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming purchases. Get one point per dollar on everything else.
- Primary Southwest benefits: Two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year; an account anniversary bonus of 3,000 points annually
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is a higher-end version with a higher annual fee and better benefits.
- Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered by the Southwest Plus card.
- Annual fee: $99
- Earnings on purchases: Same as the Plus card, except three points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases
- Primary Southwest benefits: Two EarlyBird Check-Ins per year; an account anniversary bonus of 6,000 points annually
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal credit card Southwest offers, with some additional benefits to match.
- Welcome offer: The bonus and terms are the same as those offered with the Southwest Plus and Southwest Premier cards.
- Annual fee: $149
- Earnings on purchases: Same as the Southwest Premier card
- Primary Southwest benefits: Four Upgraded Boardings per year; an account anniversary bonus of 7,500 points annually; an annual $75 Southwest travel credit; 25 percent back on Southwest in-flight drinks and Wi-Fi
Why apply for a Southwest credit card now?
The chance to earn a coveted Companion Pass as part of a credit card sign-up should not be taken lightly. Once you reach your spending threshold, you’ll essentially get a BOGO on every Southwest flight taken until February 28, 2024. Then, the opportunity to also rake in 30,000 points, all with a relatively low spending threshold, is phenomenal.
In terms of passenger load, Southwest is the third largest airline in the United States, with only Delta Air Lines and American Airlines carrying more passengers in 2022. As of December 2022, Southwest Airlines reaches an impressive 121 airports, boasting a truly robust route network of flights both within the United States (including Hawai‘i) and to nearby international destinations, among them Mexico, Aruba, Belize, and Costa Rica.
Why apply now?
If you plan on traveling over the next year, whether domestically or internationally, even just a few times, having a Companion Pass in your back pocket could amount to tremendous savings. Additionally, since Southwest has no change or cancellation fees, you can keep your plans fluid. The no-fee policy extends to award tickets and the Companion Pass.
Right now, any personal card is a smart choice. Which one you choose depends on how much you value the earnings structure and primary benefits versus the annual fee. With this current promotion that ends March 13, 2023, we favor the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, which carries a nominal $69 annual fee but still yields tremendous value. (Put in perspective, $69 is roughly the same amount you’d pay for one checked bag round-trip on a legacy carrier.)
In summary, thanks to these offers, there’s never been a better time to apply for Southwest credit cards. So seize this opportunity while it lasts (until March 13, 2023) and enjoy almost an entire year with a travel companion by your side—at no cost.
This article was originally published in 2021; it was updated in 2022, and most recently on March 13, 2023, with current information. While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.