Optimal Time to Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018-2019

As of writing this post, all of the Southwest cards (Plus, Premier, and Business) have a 60,000 point signup bonus. These are historic highs for the cards; the normal signup bonus is typically 30,000-60,000 points.

It's rumored that the 60,000 point offers for the Southwest Plus, Premier, and Business cards are available until 9/29/2017, 10/1/2017, or 10/3/2017. For the purpose of this post, we're going to plan for 9/29/2017.

You can veiw credit card offers by going to the "Credit Card Offers" tab. Find offers for the respective cards in "Travel Rewards Credit Cards" or "Business Credit Cards." You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do. Thank you for supporting AskSebby!

What is Companion Pass?

Companion Pass lets you travel with a companion for free. The companion can be changed up to three times per the calendar year. The pass is valid the year you earn the pass, plus the following year. This is effectively 50% off every time you fly. The pass is perfect for people who travel with a significant other, family member, or a friend. 

You can earn Companion Pass if you earn a minimum of 110,000 points in one calendar year. This is for points earned and not points transferred. You can only obtain the points by getting a credit card or flying Southwest. 

Again, you have to earn the 110,000 points in one calendar year, so if you get 60,000 points in 2017 and 60,000 points in 2018, you will not get Companion Pass.

Optimal Strategy

When you apply for Chase credit cards, they mention you have 90 days from the date you're approved for the card to hit the minimum spend requirements. Unofficially, it's technically 115 days based on data points, but I wouldn't risk it. YMMV.

Given that the current increased promotions expire on 9/29/2017, I recommend applying on 9/28 or 9/29, depending on how you want to time it. With Chase, you can apply for up to two cards on the day to combine hard inquiries.

Pro-tip: Once you're approved for the card, send Chase a secured message to double check which date you have to hit minimum spend by.  

If you are going to apply for two cards on the same day, I recommend using an incognito browser or two different browsers. Sometimes Chase will use ignore the second application because they'll think it's a duplicate. 

Based on the current offers, the minimum spends for the personal cards are both $2,000. For the business card, it's $3,000. Overall, you're getting a good return on spend. 

The reason why you want to get Companion Pass now as opposed to later is that you don't know what the future offers will be. It can be 25,000 or 40,000 points. Even if it's 50,000 points each, you'll have to spend money out of pocket to get Companion Pass.

How to Time Minimum Spend

The benefit of the current offers is that by hitting the minimum spend for both cards, you automatically get Companion Pass.

Important: Time hitting minimum spend in 2018 so you can get Companion Pass for two years. DO NOT HIT MINIMUM SPEND IN 2017. For example, if you get both of the personal cards and complete the minimum spend in a month, you'll receive Companion Pass for the rest of 2017 and 2018. 

However, if you complete minimum spends in 2018, you'll have Companion Pass for all of 2018 and 2019. Ideally, spend $1,800 on each card in 2017, and spend the remaining $200 in January 2018. 

If you are over the Chase 5/24 rule, you are not eligible the Southwest credit cards. You'll automatically get rejected. The best way to see if you're affected is to see how many credit cards you've signed up for in the past 24 months.