Southwest Credit Cards for Military 2024 | Annual Fees Waived

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The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is annual fee waived for military servicemembers and military spouses. This is thanks to the Chase MLA policy.

Southwest offers their famous Companion Pass to military servicemembers and their spouses if you fly 100 one-way flights or earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards points in one year.

You can use credit cards to earn the Rapid Rewards points to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. The best Southwest credit card for military families is the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

chase southwest rapid rewards priority credit card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $149 annual fee waived for military and mil spouses
  • 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, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 7,500 Anniversary points each year.
  • $75 annual Southwest travel credit
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year
  • 25% back on in flight WiFi and drink purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Member FDIC

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.

Learn more about Military Lending Act benefits and check your eligibility for annual fee waived cards in the the Military Lending Act Database.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card for Military

Chase Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
  • Learn how to apply for the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
  • Earn 80,000 points after $5000 of spend in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 4x pts per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases
  • 3x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental 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
  • Get 4 Upgraded Boarding per year when available
  • 9,000 bonus points after your card anniversary
  • Member FDIC
  • $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 bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
  • 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
  • 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery
  • Chase Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through Chase Travel℠ 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 every 4 years
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Primary coverage with Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees, Member FDIC
  • Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $937.50 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in), select streaming services and online groceries
  • 2x on all other travel purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠ . Example- 60,000 points would be worth $750 toward travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and more.
  • DashPass access is complimentary which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • 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
  • Member FDIC

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 2023, earn the 125,000 points by April 2023, you will have a Companion Pass from April 2023 to 31 Dec 2024!

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.

Southwest Airlines Credit Cards FAQ

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 2022 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.

11 thoughts on “Southwest Credit Cards for Military 2024 | Annual Fees Waived”

  1. Funny story… I was researching financial stuff online and I was telling this guy sitting next to me about everything great that I was learning. After some time, he asked me to check the author and it was none other than Spencer!

  2. 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.


  3. 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.

  4. 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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