Southwest Credit Cards for Military and Spouses | Free Southwest Companion Pass

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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.

Currently you can earn nearly all the points necessary for a companion pass with the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority.

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority
  • $149 annual fee waived for military and mil spouses
  • Best ever offer: Earn up to 100,000 Southwest points. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn 50,000 more points after spending $12,000 in the first 12 months
  • Earn 3x points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases
  • Earn 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare
  • Earn 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming services
  • 7500 bonus points on card anniversary
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year
  • 25% back on in flight WiFi and drink purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

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.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card for Military

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card
  • Earn 80,000 points after $5000 of spend in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 4x points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car partners
  • 2x points on rideshare
  • 2x points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Inflight WiFi credits
  • 9,000 bonus points after your card anniversary
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee Credit
  • $199 Annual Fee NOT waived for military

You don't need an LLC to open business credit cards. With a Southwest business card and Southwest personal card you can earn enough Southwest miles to earn the Companion pass for the remainder of this year and next year.

Annual fees on all Chase Southwest personal cards (not business) are waived for military servicemembers. This is part of Chase's MLA policy.

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.

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.

The Sapphire Reserve annual fee is waived for military. So is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can compare the Sapphire Reserve vs Sapphire Preferred for military in this article.

Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
  • Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points after $4000 of spend in the first 3 months – $750 value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • $300 annual travel credit – through Dec 31, 2021 gas station and grocery store purchases also count towards your travel credit
  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars & 5x points on air travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $300 spent on travel annually
  • 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
  • 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery)
  • Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus
  • Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access with over 1300+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry
  • Primary car rental auto insurance and trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review
Chase Sapphire Preferred Military SCRA MLA
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 60,000 points = $750 minimum when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • New benefits include $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in)
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • Points can also be redeemed with “Pay Yourself Back” for 1.25 cents each on eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Must activate by 12/31/21.
  • Get up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021
  • Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year (compare Reserve vs Preferred)
  • $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses with Chase Military Lending Act

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 January 2022, earn the 125,000 points by April 2021, you will have a Companion Pass from April 2022 to 31 Dec 2023!

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 100,000 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.

How does the Southwest Companion Pass work?

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.

How do you get the Southwest Companion Pass?

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.

Does Southwest still offer a companion pass?

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.

Is the Southwest Companion Pass worth it?

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.

8 thoughts on “Southwest Credit Cards for Military and Spouses | Free Southwest Companion Pass”

  1. Will Southwest let you open two personal cards and count the points towards your 125,000 needed? I would rather do that than the business card plan but I’m not sure if they will allow you to have to personal cards.


  2. Another great post.

    I can apply one more business card and one more personal card assuming I can apply for 3 Chase business cards. I consider Chase Ink business unlimited or Southwest Business.

    I want to make sureSouthwest Business cards don’t count toward Chase 5/24 rule?? Is the companion pass still valid if I cancel the Southwest Business card after the first year but keep the Southwest personal card? Or lose the companion pass?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chase Southwest Business cards should NOT count towards your 5/24 count, but you need to be under 5/24 to apply for them. Companion pass should still be valid as long as you’ve earned the points legitimately. You won’t lose the companion pass for closing a credit card account.

  3. Spencer, you might want to warn folks not to wait until the last minute to get in their minimum spend. I picked up the Chase Southwest card earlier this year, but got distracted. I went on a shopping spree (all planned, of course) the last day to meet the minimum spend. Chase declined to award me the points because one of the purchases didn’t post until two days later.

    It was a good (and expensive) lesson to get those minimum spends in early.

    • Great tip Kate, thanks! The spending must post to the account before the 90 days are up. Don’t wait until the last day! I would give it at least a week to be safe.


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