I just wrote about the 4 Southwest credit cards being up to 60,000 points each and how you can use those for the Southwest Companion Pass. However, while researching the card offers, I did notice a couple of things that I thought were interesting since it was the first time either of these have happened in regards to maximizing the earning of the Southwest Companion Pass.
Two Interesting Things for the Southwest Companion Pass with the Latest Card Offers…
New Strategy for Earning the Southwest Companion Pass – Hold Off on the Cards
For maximizing the Southwest Companion Pass, it has always been about timing. New cardmembers would want to apply for the cards after October 1 so as to make sure their spending for the bonus can come after January 1 and the points would count towards the Companion Pass for the following year.
However, this year, we have all 3 of the personal cards offering tiered bonuses, just like the new Southwest Priority card did earlier this year. This actually presents a very interesting twist for earning the Southwest Companion Pass, not just for 2019 and 2020, but getting you a healthy start for 2021!
Here are how the Southwest personal card bonuses are structured:
- Earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn 20,000 points after spending $12,000 within your first year
The New Strategy
I only saw an expiration date on one of the offers, the Plus card. It listed January 9, 2019 as the expiration date of the offer. I am assuming all 3 cards have the same date. So, a great strategy could be to apply as close to that January 9 date as possible. This would let you earn the 40,000 points quickly after spending the $1,000.
But, it would also let you spend during the year but not hit that $12,000 in total spending until early January of 2020. That would allow you to earn that second bonus of 20,000 points in 2020, which would mean that it counts toward 2021’s Southwest Companion Pass. Sure, 20,000 points is not a lot, but it beats spending $20,000 on the credit card to get it!
Plus, if you could hold off $10K of that spending until early January of 2020 (which is a hard thing to do for many, to spend that much in a short time), you could actually have closer to 30,000 points.
Since all referral bonuses count towards the Companion Pass as well, if you were able to max out the referral bonuses in 2020, you would get another 50,000 points as well, putting you at 70,000 points and just 40,000 points shy of earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2021 as well.
Southwest Is Publicly Advertising the Bonus Offers as Counting Towards the Companion Pass
In the past, we always just knew that the cardmember bonuses counted toward the Southwest Companion Pass. Eventually, that even worked its way into the terms. But, to my knowledge, we have never had Southwest outright pushing their card offers by advertising that the bonuses count towards the Companion Pass.
They are doing that with these offers! And that is a very, very good thing. One of the things we have speculated about with dread is that Southwest may stop allowing the Companion Pass to be earned with credit card bonuses. Well, it appears that they are happy enough with limiting bonuses in the same family of cards to once every 24 months to publicly advertise the Companion Pass feature now.
This is good news!