It was around this time last year that I decided to go for the Southwest Companion Pass. The companion pass has saved my wife and I tons of money and is one of the best travel hacks out there. It is basically gives you buy one get one free flights for two years, including flights purchased with miles. In this post, I’ll highlight why now is one of the best times to apply for the Chase Southwest Plus and Premier credit cards to earn the companion pass.
Key Factors to Consider:
- Companion Pass is valid in the year earned through the following year
- All 110k Rapid Rewards points must be earned in the same CALENDAR year
- Bonus miles will post to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account the statement after you meet minimum spending
- You have 3 months to meet minimum spending to earn the sign up bonus
- Southwest cards are under the Chase 5/24 rule
I’ll highlight the importance of these factors throughout this article.
To earn the companion pass, you must earn 110k Rapid Rewards points in the same calendar year. For instance, if you earned 50k in December 2016 and then another 60k in January 2017 you would not qualify for the companion pass.
One of the easiest ways to earn 110k Rapid Rewards is by signing up for two credit cards: Chase Southwest Plus and Chase Southwest Premier (Personal or Business). These are all separate products so you can earn the signup bonus on each of them every 24 months. Unfortunately, if you’ve opened 5 credit card accounts in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you (due to the Chase 5/24 rule). Keep in mind you’ll also have to figure out how to earn an additional 10k Rapid Rewards.
As mentioned above, the companion pass is good for the year that you earn it plus the following year. So if you earn the companion pass in January 2017, it will be valid until December 2018. If you earn it the companion pass in December 2016, it would only be valid until December 2017. As you can see, earning it at the beginning of the year effectively gives you two whole years to use this incredible benefit.
Statements and 90 Days
Now I know what you might be thinking, it’s October 2016 wouldn’t I be better off waiting until 2017 at this point? You are correct. Kind of. The important thing to note is that points earned from your credit card spending (including sign up bonuses) do not post to your frequent flyer account until your statement closes.
For instance, you open a credit card and your statement closes on the 10th day of every month. Now let’s say I spend $1,000 between now and November 10th. About a day or two after November 10th (when my credit card statement closes), I will receive the 1,000 miles in my frequent flyer account. Then, I spend another $500 from November 11-December 10. Those 500 points will post to my frequent flyer account around December 11th or 12th. I think you get the idea.
So you have 90 days to meet minimum spending. If you applied today, you’d have until January 16th to spend $2,000. Now here’s the key: Do NOT meet the minimum spend until after your December statement closes. If you spend $2k before your December statement closes, the 50,000 bonus miles will post in December 2016. Remember the goal is to get all of the points to post in 2017.
Now one of the most important questions is probably, why is now the opportune time to apply for the Chase Southwest cards. Timing is important. As mentioned above, your date that you’d have to meet minimum spend would be in January. This means you can time it so that you meet the $2k of minimum spend in January and both sets of 50k points will post in January 2017. You can spend $1,999 as long as that last $1 is spent after the December statement closes. I wouldn’t risk cutting it that close though.
For example, I spent around $100 from October through December. Then after the December statement closed, I put another $1,000 in December and the final $900 in January. I received 51,900 points on my January statement.
50k Signup Bonuses
Right now both of the cards have signup bonuses of 50k miles after spending $2,000. There is no guarantee how long this offer will be around. Especially considering that I’ve seen a less enticing offer posted on my Southwest flights. If you’re under 5/24, live near an airport that Southwest services, and frequently travel with a companion, I would definitely considering jumping on this offer. After all is said and done, not only will you be able to get buy one get one free flights, you’ll also have 110k miles to spend.
If you do decide to apply for these two credit cards, I would definitely appreciate you using my referral links, which will give me 5,000 Southwest miles. You can find my referral links here. Thanks! Feel free to comment with any questions you may have.