Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.
Southwest offers their famous Companion Pass to military servicemembers (and the general public) if you fly 100 one-way flights or earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in one year.
Points earned through Southwest branded credit cards (personal and business) count towards the 125,000 point goal. This is the easiest and fastest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
Currently, you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass with just 1 Chase credit card:
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card for Military
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card here
- Limited Time Offer to Earn 100,000 Southwest Miles:
- Earn 70,000 points after $5000 of spend in the first 3 months of card membership
- Plus, earn 30,000 additional miles when you spend $25,000 in the first 6 months
- Earn dollar spent equals at least 1 Southwest mile, so $25,000 spend + welcome bonus = 125,000 miles, exactly what you need for a companion pass
- 9000 bonus points after your card anniversary
- Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee Credit
- $199 Annual Fee NOT waived for military
The current limited time Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit card is a rare opportunity to earn the Southwest companion pass with a single card. You don't need an LLC to open business credit cards.
The Companion Pass allows you to designate one person to fly with you for free* every time you fly Southwest. (*You only need to pay the security tax of $5.60 per one-way.) This includes points AND cash bookings!
Easy Way to Earn Southwest Companion Pass
Step 1: Sign up for any of the Southwest cards including Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority ($149 annual fee waived for military), Premier ($99 annual fee waived for military), or Plus ($69 annual fee waived for military). Note all annual fees are waived for military servicemembers.
Step 2: Meet the minimum spend on the personal Southwest credit card.
Step 3: Open one of the Chase Southwest business cards listed below. With the combined welcome bonus from the personal and business Southwest credit cards, you should be able to meet the 125,000 Southwest miles required to earn in 1 year to earn the Southwest Companion pass.
Here are the 3 cards that are offering this welcome bonus. Military servicemembers should pick up the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card because the $149 annual fee is waived and it offers the most benefits.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
- $149 annual fee waived for military and spouses
- Earn 40,000 Southwest points
- Earn 40,000 after $1000 of spend in the first 3 months of account opening
- 7500 bonus points on card anniversary
- $75 annual Southwest travel credit
- No foreign transaction fees
Military spouses also get their annual fees waived on this card. If you have kids, it might make sense for both parents to get the cards, earn the companion pass, and then designate a child each as your companion.
With 2 out of 4 family members flying for free, that will significantly drive down your vacation costs! Maybe you could take twice as many trips to visit the grandparents this year?
Transfer Chase UR Points to Southwest
A great way to boost your Southwest miles is by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points into your Southwest account. Note that this will not count towards your 125,000 mile minimum for the Companion Pass.
You can earn 50,000 Chase UR points when you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of opening your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and top up your Rapid Rewards account. The Sapphire Reserve annual fee is waived for military.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- $550 annual fee and $75 authorized user fee waived for US military + spouses
- Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points after $4000 of spend in the first 3 months ($750 minimum value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- $300 annual travel credit
- 3x Points on Travel (airfare, hotels) and Dining (restaurants) after earning the $300 travel credit
- Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus
- Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access
- Primary car rental auto insurance
- No foreign transaction fees
50,000 Chase Points can become 50,000 Southwest Points, which should be able to buy you at least $750 worth of airfare. Multiply times 2 because your companion can fly for free with you and those 50,000 Chase points easily become worth $1500+ of Southwest airfare.
How to Earn a Southwest Companion Pass for 2 Years
One way of earning a Southwest Companion Pass is taking 100 one-way flights or earning 125,000 Southwest miles in one year. Points earned through Southwest credit cards count, but points transferred into Rapid Rewards from Chase Ultimate Rewards do not count towards the 125,000.
Once you earn 125k, you earn a Companion Pass good for the remainder of the year you earn the Pass PLUS the following year!
For example, if you open a personal and business Chase Southwest card in Feb 2020, earn the 125,000 points by April 2020, you will have a Companion Pass from April 2020 – 31 Dec 2021!
This is an insanely good deal. It's amazing more military servicemembers don't take advantage of it considering Chase waives all the annual fees on their personal cards, so you will only have to pay the annual fee on the business card.
The easiest way to earn the 125,000 points is signing up and meeting the minimum spend on a Southwest personal card and Southwest business credit card.
Sometimes the personal and business Southwest credit cards offer up to a 60,000 point welcome bonus. When that's the case, you have an easy path towards the Companion Pass.
Check my list of best credit cards for military, updated at least monthly. You can also sign up for my free, 5 day Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course. I will send occasionally send you updates when cards hit all time bonus highs.
- Learn how to apply for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit card here
- 60,000 point welcome bonus after $3000 spend in the first 3 months of opening
- $99 annual fee (not waived for military, because it's a business card)
- No foreign transaction fees
- 6000 bonus points on your Cardmember anniversary (annually)
The Southwest Companion pass allows you to fly with a companion and just pay taxes and fees (usually $5.60) on the companion's ticket. Military servicemembers and spouses pay no annual fees on personal (not business) Southwest credit cards.
The easiest way to get the Southwest Companion Pass is through credit card welcome bonuses, like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card or the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card.
Yes! Southwest has offered a companion pas for many years. In 2020 you must earn 125,000 Southwest miles or fly 100 one-way flights to earn the pass.
If you fly Southwest a few times per year, it is definitely worth it. However if you don't have a Southwest airport near you, you should probably consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve or AMEX Platinum card as a better option.