How to Get Over $3,142 in Free Southwest Flights from Opening Two Credit Cards

58
12905

Southwest is currently offering 50k bonus point sign ups on its personal and business credit cards after spending $2,000 in three months until November 18, 2013.

You can get both the personal and business cards at once, and after meeting their minimum spending requirements, you will have 104,000 Rapid Rewards post to your account in early 2014 if your time your spending well.

Earn another 6,000 Rapid Rewards with the cards or a few other ways–getting to 110k points total–and you will earn the best deal in all of travel hacking: a Southwest Companion Pass.

If you have the Southwest Companion pass, you can designate a companion who flies for $2.50 per segment on every Southwest flight you fly. That’s every Southwest flight–including paid tickets, regular awards, and special loophole awards–and soon to be every AirTran flight until the end of 2015.

The free travel from the 110k Rapid Rewards and Companion Pass are worth at least $3,142 even after Southwest’s recent devaluation, and are worth more if you can use some of the points in early 2014.

What is a Southwest Companion Pass? How can you get one from two credit cards? How can you ensure that you can use it for 23+ months of 2-for-1 travel?

There are two ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass: fly 100 paid segments or open two credit cards and use one of several methods to get the last 6,000 points.

This post will be about the easier and cheaper way: getting the credit cards.

The Cards

The easiest way to earn a Southwest Companion Pass is to earn 110,000 qualifying points in one calendar year. At the moment, qualifying points can be earned from credit card sign up bonuses, credit card spending, Rapid Rewards shopping portal points, or hotel points transfers among other ways.* Qualifying points CAN NOT be earned by transferring points directly from Ultimate Rewards.

Right now both Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card are offering a 50k Rapid Rewards sign up bonus after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

Each card requires $2,000 spending in 3 months to unlock the bonus miles. Each card has a $99 annual fee that is not waived the first year. Each card comes with 6,000 anniversary Rapid Rewards if you hold the card through the next annual fee.

You can and should get both the same day if you want to get the Southwest Companion Pass. The best information I have is that the 50k point offers will end November 18, 2013, so act soon if you want to get the best deal in travel at the best of year to get it.

The Strategy to Get 104k Southwest Rapid Rewards (and Why This Is the Best Time of Year to Get These Cards)

Sign up for both cards,and ensure that you meet both of their minimum spending requirements in January 2014 (or at least during the statement that closes January 2014.)

The Companion Pass is earned when you reach 110k points earned, and it is good through December 31 of the next calendar year. If you earn your 110k points in January 2014, you will have the Companion Pass for 23+ months until December 31, 2015–that’s 23+ months of 2-for-1 travel.

Meet both spending requirements, and you’ve earned 104,000 qualifying points, just 6,000 short of the threshold for a Companion Pass for nearly two years.

Here’s where the fun begins. There are three great ways to get those 6,000 points and your free companion pass good through December 2015.

1. Spend $6,000 more on either card. The 6,000 Rapid Rewards points earned will put your total at 110,000.

2. This one is multistep, but should only take a few minutes.

  • Transfer 13,000 Ultimate Rewards points to 13,000 Hyatt points. Inside your Chase account, go to the Ultimate Rewards section, Transfer Points, and select Hyatt. The 1:1 transfer should be instantaneous.
  • Transfer 12,500 Hyatt points to 6,000 Rapid Rewards here. The 25:12 transfer may not go through immediately, but when it does, you will be over 110,000 points, and you’ll have a companion pass.

Why can’t I just transfer 6,000 Ultimate Rewards to 6,000 Rapid Rewards? They are transfer partners.

Ultimate Rewards transferred directly to Rapid Rewards do not count toward the 110,000 qualifying points threshold. But hotel points transferred in do count, and this two-step process gets the 6,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards at the cost of the fewest Ultimate Rewards.

3. through 10.

There are more than just these two options to get the 6,000 points that we need after meeting the credit card spending requirements. Here is Million Mile Secrets with ten ways.

Maximizing the Value of the Pass

There are two easy ways to maximize the value of a Southwest Companion Pass.

1. Use All Four of Your Companions:

From southwest.com’s FAQ on the Companion Pass:

The Companion Pass is not transferrable. However, the Member may change his/her designated Companion and request issuance of a new Companion Pass up to three (3) times within the validity period of the Pass. Requests must be made in writing and accompanied by the current Companion Pass card, which will be cancelled, to: Southwest Airlines, Rapid Rewards, P.O. Box 36657, Dallas, TX 75235. In addition, please include the new Companion’s name, address, phone number, social security number, and date of birth. Allow 21 business days for processing.Sign up for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card on the same day before November 18, 2013. Spend $2,000 on each within three months, ensuring that you hit the spend threshold on the statement that will close in January 2014 or later. That’s 104k Southwest points.

You can switch back and forth between companions, designating a new companion four total times–the original companion and three changes. You can only have one companion at a time, but there is still some value in efficiently using your changes.

2. Fly as Many Flights as You Can by March 31, 2014

Early on in your Companion Pass’s validity, the price of Rapid Rewards award tickets on Wanna Get Away? fares jumps from 60 points per dollar to 70. Try to get as many of the 60 point per dollar flights in as you can to conserve extra points for later trips.

If all your travel with the companion pass came between April 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015, 110k Rapid Rewards plus a Companion Pass would equal about $3,142 in travel. If all the travel came before March 31, 2014, the value of 110k Rapid Rewards plus a Companion Pass $3,667.

Recap

With a few easy steps, you can get $3,142 to $3,667 worth of travel on Southwest:

  1. Open both the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® PremierCard and the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card on the same day before November 18, 2013 while their bonus are 50k Rapid Rewards each.
  2. Meet the minimum spending requirement on each during the statement that closes in January 2014. Do not let the 50k bonuses post in 2013 or you’ll earn the Companion pass only through 2014 instead of 2015.
  3. Then get the last 6,000 points needed to get to 110,000 qualifying points and a free Companion Pass on Southwest through the end of 2015 for $6,000 in spending or 13,000 Ultimate Rewards.
  4. Designate a companion to fly for $2.50 per segment on Southwest every time you fly on Southwest, whether you’re flying a paid ticket or an award.

Bonus

Why not have both parents get the Companion Pass and each name a chile as a companion? That would be a 4-for-2 travel deal for up to two years.

Getting the Cards

Application Link: Chase Southwest Personal Card

Application Link: Chase Southwest Business Card

*From southwest.com: “Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights, points issued on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners.  Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”

In everyone’s experience, people have earned qualifying points from the 50k Chase card bonuses. They have also earned points from hotel transfers but not direct Ultimate Rewards transfers. A lot of people ask about the last part: “Partner bonuses do not count.” In everyone’s experience, this does not exclude the credit card bonuses from counting toward the 110k. This could change, and your mileage may vary, but I am reporting how hundreds of people have gotten the companion pass.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

58 COMMENTS

  1. We are a family of 5 and my husband and I each got the Companion Pass last October. We have used it like CRAZY. Buy 3 tickets (using only miles so far) and 5 people fly! So far we have been (from home in DC) to Hilton Head, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Raleigh, Providence, and Boston. We have a winter trip booked to Beaver Creek. Love, love, love, that you can speculatively book and cancel with no penalty. Love that the number of points needed is based on cost of flight. Several of our flights have been $69 each way, which is barely any points. These passes has made me a Southwest convert.

  2. Thank you for this great article. I would love to do this but already have a personal SW Visa opened in early 2013. I could apply for the business card but am not sure it would do me much good as far as earning the Companion Pass since I assume I would be turned down for a second personal card. Any advice? Again thanks for all the excellent advise you share!

  3. Oh, man, I hope I haven’t messed up. I got the Southwest personal card in September and met the spending requirements easily after a month. I was not approved for the business card, even after calling reconsideration – business not old enough, not enough income. Too bad. So, after thinking about some creative ways to do a massive amount of spending (without taking on a massive amount of debt), I was hoping I could still earn the Companion Pass by mid-2014. I thought by earning the entire 110,000 within a year’s time (so, I thought I had until October 2014), I could have the Companion Pass through the end of 2015. Now I’m worried – because the 50,000 points posted in the CALENDAR year 2013, are you saying I can only possibly get the Companion Pass through 2014?? Confused. I’ll still try for it though, even if I did cheat myself out of year.

    • @Mandy, you will only get the companion pass through 2014 ONLY IF you manage to get the rest of the 110,000 required points by the end of 2013. If you don’t do this and wait until 2014, you will need to re-earn ALL 110,000 points in 2014. The 50,000 points you earned this year will not rollover.

      • Yes, I just did a little more research and figured that out – I messed up! Doubt I can spend that much in less than 2 months. Oh, well. Rookie lesson learned! At least I have the points.

        • My rookie mind has been churning since I realized my mistake, but I think I’ve found a way to partially save myself! Hope so, anyway. Scott (and anyone else), please let me know if I’m on the right track. I was offered 50,000 Big Win IHG points, and although it’s not the BEST offer, I was considering doing a mattress run, because the cost is worth the points I could use. I have 60,000 Rapid Rewards points now. Could I complete the Big Win, earn 50,000 points, and transfer those to Southwest??? If I’m correct, I could at least have the Companion Pass through the end of 2014!

  4. I was approved for Ink Plus + Sapphire preferred in Sept…thinking I prob need to wait a few months before trying to get another Chase personal and business. Any idea if this offer will come around again in early 2014?

  5. I don’t have a business, so not sure I can apply for the biz card. Is it possible for me and my wife to get the personal card separately and then consolidate points later?

  6. MV, do you need a SSN for the companion? Your segment on when changing companions: “please include the new Companion’s name, address, phone number, social security number, and date of birth”

    I’m not sure why they require an SSN when they don’t ask for SSNs for “regular” flights. My GF is a foreign citizen and does not have an SSN yet, does that mean the pass won’t work for her?

  7. Scott, you should also mention that this can also be done with the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card which charges a $69 annual fee vs. $99 fee on the premier card (both not waived). I don’t know if you can get a plus and a premier though, that seems like a way too easy of a way to get 200k SW miles.

    However if you look at the benefits, the premier card is better if you plan on keeping the card because: a) it has no foreign transaction fee and b) you get 6000 miles per year when you hold the card vs. 3000 miles per year, and 99/6000 is a better deal than 69/3000. But if you are just planning on getting the cards for the companion pass and then canceling them, I’d get the plus card, why pay an extra 30 dollars in fees when you don’t have to?

  8. I enrolled in both cards on my name only not my spouse. Chase approved the personal but not the business. I called reconsideration 3 times. They said I have too many chase cards issude recently. I have excellent credit and all cards are paid in time. What do you suggest? I also did close one business card from ink hoping to downgrade the numbers. Still no deal. What next?

          • Sorry! In order to claim the travel voucher companion ticket the 110,000 points have to be on one persons name. So a husband gets the business card and the wife a personal card.
            Each get $50,00 sign up bonus. As I understand you cannot combine these awards towards that companion ticket. Is that correct?

          • That is correct. One account has to earn 110k. No combining between two accounts. But why do what you’re suggesting? Have one get both cards and add the other as an authorized user to both cards to meet min spending requirement.

          • Yes but that’s my original problem! Chase will only give me the personal card not the business. I don’t think they will give me two cards now in his name too!! I have really over applied with Chase since June!!!

    • they declined my business card for the same reason, I called them back and had them cancel one of my higher chase cards that I did not use, I asked for a low credit line 5K, then they approved it.

  9. Question- I applied and received the Southwest Chase personal card 9/18/13 and should fulfill the $3K spend by December. I’m thinking of applying for the business card to get the companion pass since my points should post in January from my initial card, correct?? Thanks, and great blog!
    (super newbie to churning)

    • I would anticipate the personal card points to post in December. It’ll be close. Confirm with Chase exactly what day you can meet your min spending requirement until and figure out when that statement period closes.

  10. Husband got both personal cards. Is it right that if he spends $1500 on each in December and $500 on each in January, the miles for the bonus will post in January or February, but the miles for the December spend may post in December and thus not count for the companion pass in 2014?

  11. If both husband and wife already have one Chase SW VISA opened in early 2013, what are the chances of being approved for a second personal card now? Better or worse than the odds of being approved for 2 business cards–one for a long standing full time business for my husband, the other our sideline income rental property?

  12. Also got rejected for the business card for applying for too much credit from Chase.

    Guess I’ll just have to spend $60k and/or fly a lot of Southwest.

      • I have four, two of which were opened in February, so this was my fifth Chase card. If you count my wife’s cards on which I’m an authorized user that’s another two cards. Combined, I already had more thank $100k in available credit.

  13. […] MileValue reports that the Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card and other Southwest 50k offers are expiring on November 18th (Monday).  You can get to the other 50k offers at the bottom of the landing page from the above link.  The applications still list a 10/30 expiration date that has clearly already passed (though the applications continue to work just fine). I’m not sure of his source on the 11/18 expiration, but it certainly is possible.  If you have been meaning to apply, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet, I’d rather be safe than sorry just in case 11/18 is the date they go poof this time around.  This is a great time a year to have the 50k sign-up bonus points count toward a Companion Pass in early 2014, and as Million Mile Secrets pointed out, the terms have been updated to more clearly include credit card points toward the Companion Pass qualification.  Learn more about this offer and the Companion Pass in this post. […]

  14. I just got these cards and just to be sure I understand right, I can start spending on them right away, as long as I don’t get to the $3,000 total on either card till January, correct?

  15. So I just signed up for both of these cards, and they both say they require further review. Does this effect my ability to get the 50k sign-up offer if I am approved after the offer disappears? Also, this is my first business card. I own a rental property that is in the red due to the housing market downturn. Does being a landlord who loses money qualify me as a business?

  16. Do the miles count when they post to your Southwest account or when Chase awards them to you? Because mine are going to post to Chase in the end of November, but it takes 6-8 weeks for them to post to Southwest. I would think they count when they post to Southwest, right? Do they come with a date from Chase on them or something?

    • It doesn’t take 6-8 weeks for them to post to Southwest. They’ll post to Southwest when the statement closes where you earned them. (But all that mattters is when they post to Southwest.)

      • Scott, I asked about that and they replied with the following:

        “We know that you’re excited to start using your bonus points right away. New Member bonus points earned after reaching your spending requirement should post to your Rapid Rewards account in six to eight weeks. Unfortunately, we are unable to expedite this process. “

        • Yes, but they’re wrong. They use that language so that you don’t complain the miles are slow in posting. But in my experience with every credit card I’ve ever had, the sign up bonus miles contemporaneously with the statement closing on which I earned them.

  17. still confused. I got approved for both business and personal. If i spend $2000 on both of them in December, would the points not roll over? Should i make sure that i reach $2000 spend only in January?

    BTW Thanks for the wonderful information you share with us through this website.

  18. My timing was COMPLETELY off for this deal, so now I am weighing my options for the future (assuming the offer comes around again). I know you’ve mentioned that you have to wait two years before applying for the same card again with Chase, in order to get the sign-up bonus. Is that two years from the initial application or two years from whenever I decide to cancel that card? For example, I opened this card in late September 2013. Assuming I cancel it in July 2014 (and assuming this offer is out there again, of course), would I be able to apply again in November/December 2015 or would I need to wait until 2016?

    Also, what do you think of thepointsguy’s (August 4, 2013 post) method of transferring Ultimate Rewards to a Southwest hotel partner, like Hyatt, and then to Southwest for the Companion Pass? Thanks!

    • I gave my thoughts on transferring to Hyatt in this post. It’s OK in some circumstances. Two years from account close (2016) is my experience with Chase. YMMV.

  19. Do we need to spend the additional $6000 by the end of January to qualify for the companionship pass, or is it okay to take a few months to accumulate the remaining points to reach 110K?

  20. Signed up for both cards – concern – with each card be assigned a different rapid reward account? If that happens will the points awarded be valid for the companion pass when the accounts are merged or points are transferred to one account.

    Had a southwest card many years ago – hope that does not disqualify me!

    Any input / feedback is appreciated.

    • You fill in the Southwest number. If you left that blank, you may well get two accounts. I don’t know if you can fix that problem. You can start by calling Chase and asking to change the Southwest account associated with one. If that fails, you can call Southwest.

  21. Hello! I got the 50k points coming to me next month and was thinking about the business card – but it looks like I can’t get that bonus anymore. If my husband was approved for one card, is it possible (and worthwhile) to transfer my Southwest points to Hilton Honors and transfer those to his Southwest account?

    Similarly, is it worthwhile – if I only have 50k points – to get the Chase Ink card and transfer all those points to HHonors and then over to Southwest?

  22. Probably not recommended, but I was able to open both personal cards on the same day (don’t have a business, so didn’t try). I had a FICO of 750, and already had 3 Chase cards, one of which (Chase Sapphire Preferred) was opened last month. My score did take a big dip to 700, but that SHOULD be temporary (took a dip to 720 after the CSP app, which bounced back within two weeks). Hope it bounces back in time for whatever big bonus Barclaycard will probably put out for the US Airways card this year.

  23. My wife has a SW companion pass that will expire in 2014. Can she get another one starting in 2015? Would it be better if I got the companion pass in 2015?

  24. I can send you a direct link to the 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card! Only available via referral. Email me lcomstock07(at)gmail(dot)com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.