We've talked about the Southwest Companion Pass and the optimal timing in the past. The idea is that you effectively get 50% off Southwest flights because your companion flies for free.
A few weeks ago, it was advantageous to get two Southwest cards because they all had increased offers of 60,000 points after $2,000 of spend within three months. For the Plus and the Premier, the signup bonus is now down to 40,000 points after $1,000 of spend within the first three months.
The Southwest Premier Business card still has an increased offer of 60,000 points. To get Companion Pass, you'll need to get the business card and a personal offer, plus 10,000 points.
Since there's not a specific offer expiration date for the business 60,000 point offer, I recommend applying for the card in November, so you have time to hit the minimum spend in January.
Important: For the pass to be valid 2018-2019, you need to obtain the signup bonuses for the cards in 2018, NOT 2017. If you want more detail about timing Companion Pass, watch the video below.
California Residents Only
If you're based in California, you either can go with the method outlined above (if you want Companion pass for 2018-2019), or you can completely ignore it take advantage of Southwest's shortcut to Companion Pass (only valid for one year).
From now until 11/30/17, if you apply for a Southwest Rapid Rewards card and make one transaction, you'll automatically earn Companion Pass. The Companion Pass is valid from the time the qualifications are met, through 12/31/2018.
There are a few considerations here, the main one being you must reside in California. If you do not currently live in California, or you split your time between states, I'm not sure how it works (need data points). Call Chase and double check if you qualify.
To qualify for the offer, you must apply directly through the Chase promotion websites:
- Southwest Premier: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PremierCali?CELL=6G9Z
- Southwest Plus: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PlusCali?CELL=6G9Z&clk=HOMEPROMO2_CHASECPMEM171019
- Southwest Premier Business: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PremierBizCali?CELL=6G9Z
The fine print (California promotion)
- Anyone who currently has a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card (any variation) does not qualify for the offer
- If you received a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card signup bonus in the past 24 months, you do not qualify for the offer
- The California promotion ends on 11/30/2017
- Southwest Rapid Rewards cards are affected by Chase 5/24
- Annual fees are not waived the first year; billed on the first statement
- Promotional Companion Pass will be valid from the time the promotion qualifications are met, through 12/31/2018.
If you currently have a Southwest card that is older than 24 months and you want the Companion Pass, you can cancel the card and apply again to qualify.
The main reason Southwest is running the offer is that they're expanding in California, and adding routes to Hawaii in 2018. Most people are speculating the routes to Hawaii will be available in late 2018.
The benefit of the personal cards is that you can product change between the Premier and the Plus. There is not a downgrade or product change option for the Premier Business card.