The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel. It essentially lets you buy one get one on Southwest flights for up to 2 years! It can easily result in thousands of dollars worth of savings.
Over the years, the number of points needed has increased and the requirement is getting ready to increase again, sort of. Here’s what you need to know about this change and why it’s not really a big deal.
Southwest Companion Pass Changes for 2023
The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to add a companion to any purchased ticket for just the cost of the taxes and fees ($5.60 one-way on domestic flights; more for international flights). It works on tickets purchased with money or Rapid Rewards points which makes it flexible and easy to use.
Once you earn a Companion Pass, it’s good for the rest of the calendar year and the entire next year.
Currently, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or fly 100 one-way qualifying segments to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. It’s easier to earn through points so that’s what we usually focus on and that’s the part that’s changing in 2023.
Beginning in 2023, you’ll need to earn 135,000 qualifying points to earn a Southwest Companion Pass.
Qualifying points are earned from purchased flights, partner hotel stays, partner rental cars, points earned from credit cards, and credit card referral bonuses.
The good news for Rapid Rewards credit cardholders is that you’ll get a 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points boost each calendar year — which pretty much offsets the increased points requirement. If your card is already open, this boost will be applied to your account at the beginning of each calendar year. If you open a new Rapid Rewards credit card after January 1, your 10,000-point boost will be awarded within 30 days of opening the card.
The 10,000 point boost applies to Companion Pass qualification only — these points aren’t redeemable.
On the surface, this increase in the point requirement seems like bad news. However, since a majority of us earn the Companion Pass through credit card sign-on bonuses and spending, there’s really not much change since the 10,000-point boost essentially makes the requirement 125,000 points, just as it has been the last few years.
Bottom Line: Starting in 2023, you’ll need to earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to earn a Southwest Companion Pass. If you’re a Rapid Rewards credit cardholder, you’ll automatically get a 10,000-point boost toward your Companion Pass qualification.
The Southwest Companion Pass requirements are changing for 2023. Beginning January 1, 2023, you’ll need to earn 135,000 qualifying points or fly 100 one-way flights to earn a Companion Pass. If you have a Rapid Rewards credit card, you’ll get a 10,000-point boost toward your Companion Pass qualification.
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