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 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one year. Points earned through Southwest branded credit cards (personal and business) count towards the 110,000 point goal.
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!
Step 1: Sign up for any of the Southwest cards including Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority ($149 annual fee waived), Premier ($99 annual fee waived), or Plus ($69 annual fee waived). Note all annual fees are waived for military servicemembers.
Step 2: Spend $2000 in the first 3 months after opening any of the personal Southwest cards. You will earn 60,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points, good for about $800 worth of flights.
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 110,000 mile minimum for the Companion Pass.
You can earn 50,000 Chase UR points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and top up your Rapid Rewards account. The Sapphire Reserve $450 annual fee is waived for military personnel and spouses.
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 almost 2 Years
One way of earning a Southwest Companion Pass is taking 100 one-way flights or earning 110,000 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 110,000.
Once you earn 110k, 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 2020, earn the 110,000 points by February 2020, you will have a Companion Pass from March 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 110,000 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.
- Click here to learn more about the Southwest Business card
- 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)