Southwest Companion Pass & How to Get the Maximum Benefit

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The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most coveted travel perks in the airline industry, offering unbeatable value for frequent flyers. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to Southwest, understanding how the Companion Pass works, how to earn it, and how to maximize its benefits can significantly enhance your travel experience. 

This comprehensive guide will answer common questions, provide examples, and cover everything you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
Image source Southwest Media Center

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can nominate someone to fly with you for free (minus taxes and fees, starting at $5.60 one way) every time you purchase a ticket. This applies to all tickets, both paid and bonus, making this a very valuable benefit for travelers.

The pass remains valid for the rest of the year it’s obtained and for the entire subsequent year.

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass
How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass | Image source Southwest 

There are several ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass:

  1. Flying: You must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year.
  2. Earning Points: You can earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year through various methods, including flying, spending on Southwest credit cards, and using Rapid Rewards partners.

Southwest Companion Pass Credit Card

Southwest Companion Pass Credit Card
Southwest Companion Pass Credit Card | Image source

Using a Southwest credit card is one of the fastest ways to earn the Companion Pass. Welcome bonuses, typically ranging from 40,000 to 80,000 points, can significantly boost your progress toward earning the pass.

Participating in promotional offers like Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Cards: New Limited-Time Offers will speed up your path to earning it (the welcome bonus reaches 120,000 points).

There are both personal and business versions of the cards, each with its own set of benefits and earning rates – Comparative Analysis: Business vs. Personal Southwest Cards.

How to Get Maximum Benefit Southwest Companion Pass in 2025 – 2026

  1. Apply for the card in September/October 2024 to take advantage of the synchronization of spending and points accumulation.
  2. Meet the spending requirement (usually 3 calendar months depending on the type of card)
  3. Welcome bonuses will be credited after the financial statements are closed (if you meet the requirements by December 2024, this will most likely happen in January 2025).
  4. If the points are awarded in January 2025, they will be credited to the 2025 qualifying year.
  5. Next, earn the required 135,000 points in 2025 to get a Companion Pass (as welcome bonuses alone are usually not enough to get a pass).
  6. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive a Companion Pass for the remainder of the qualifying year 2025 and the following calendar year 2026. 
  7. In the future, you will need to re-qualify every year to maintain your status.

How to Book with the Southwest Companion Pass

Booking with the Companion Pass is straightforward:

  1. Book Your Flight: Purchase or redeem points for your flight through Southwest’s website.
  2. Add Your Companion: Once your flight is booked, you can add your designated companion through your Rapid Rewards account.

Designating a Companion

  1. Log into Your Account: Access your Southwest Rapid Rewards account online.
  2. Add Companion: Navigate to the “My Account” section and select “Companion Pass” to add your companion’s details.

Changing Your Companion

You can change your designated companion up to three times in a calendar year. This flexibility allows you to share the benefits of the Companion Pass with different people throughout the year.


The Southwest Companion Pass is a powerful tool for frequent travelers, offering substantial savings and flexibility. Learn the rules, take advantage of the promotions, and plan how best to spend to maximize this fantastic travel benefit. Max out the ways you can use that Companion Pass: traveling more with family, knocking down the cost of business travel, or visiting new destinations.

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