Southwest Companion Cross: Earn with bank cards

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The coveted Southwest Companion Cross is an elite journey profit that’s virtually too good to be true. This go permits one other passenger to fly with you free of charge (plus taxes) an infinite variety of occasions for the remainder of the 12 months it’s earned, plus the whole following 12 months. Meaning in case you earn the go now, you’ll have it till December 31, 2021.

However you need it longer, proper? Properly, with the latest launch of some fairly unbelievable Southwest bank card presents this month, there’s really a straightforward approach to have the go right through the top of 2022. Sure, you learn that accurately — somebody can fly with you for nearly free for as much as two years.

Usually, incomes the go requires a large quantity of flying on Southwest, which you seemingly aren’t doing proper now. However due to the best way the airline counts bank card bonus factors, a single Southwest bank card — or combining two bank card presents collectively — might help you earn the go instantly with out even stepping foot on a Southwest airplane.

How does this work? And is it one thing it is best to do within the midst of the pandemic? Let’s dig into the small print and discover out if getting a Southwest Companion Cross is sensible for you.

The Southwest Companion Cross is really a no-strings-attached perk, because it comes with only a few restrictions. The go means that you can deliver a companion with you on any Southwest flight free of charge plus the price of any taxes and charges, that are usually as little as $5.60 a method for a home flight.

The one foremost rule of the Companion Cross is there have to be a minimum of one seat obtainable on the market in any fare class on a flight for which you’ve bought your personal ticket, both with money or Southwest factors.

You’re allowed to alter your companion as much as thrice per 12 months (not together with the preliminary companion), which means in concept you may have as many as seven individuals as your companion over two calendar years.

To get the go, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying factors or fly 100 qualifying flights with Southwest in a calendar 12 months. These factors might be earned in 3 ways: paid flights booked Southwest, base factors earned from Speedy Rewards companions and factors earned on Southwest bank cards.

That final methodology is crucial one, as a result of bonus factors earned from Southwest bank card sign-up bonuses qualify for the Companion Cross as nicely. This makes incomes the go that a lot simpler as a result of elevated presents we’re seeing proper now on Southwest bank cards.

Southwest has three personal cards and two business cards, all of which have sign-up bonus offers.

Southwest has three private playing cards and two enterprise playing cards, all of which have sign-up bonus presents.

There are at the moment a complete of 5 Southwest bank cards — each private and enterprise — which have sign-up presents for brand spanking new card holders that may enable you earn the Companion Cross. Right here’s an summary of every of them:

The primary three playing cards on the listing are the non-public Southwest bank cards — the Southwest Plus card, the Southwest Premier card and the Southwest Precedence card. All three of those playing cards at the moment have elevated sign-up presents, which suggests you’ll be able to earn as much as 80,000 bonus factors on any of them.

These 80,000 bonus factors break down into two tiers: You’ll earn 50,000 factors after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months after you open the cardboard, plus a further 30,000 factors after you spend $10,000 on purchases within the first 9 months of being a card holder.

Associated: Earn 80,000 bonus factors with these Southwest bank card presents.

Now, getting one in all these private playing cards received’t earn you the go all itself. After incomes the 80,000-point bonus (plus the 10,000 factors you’ll get from finishing the $10,000 minimal spending requirement), you’d nonetheless want 35,000 extra qualifying factors to earn the go.

So, after incomes the bank card bonus, you may get these remaining Companion Cross factors through the use of your newly acquired Southwest bank card on on a regular basis purchases, mixed with flying Southwest and accomplice exercise. Accomplice actions embrace purchasing on-line the Southwest purchasing portal, buying flowers and automotive leases.

With most of your purchasing being performed from residence proper now, you’ll be able to really rack up an honest quantity of bonus factors from the Southwest Speedy Rewards purchasing portal. Going the purchasing web site first simply takes an additional minute, and finally takes you to the identical service provider web site you’d go to instantly, however you’re incomes further factors alongside the best way.

However there may be in reality one other card on the listing that means that you can earn the go all itself — when you have a enterprise that qualifies for a enterprise bank card. With the Southwest Speedy Rewards Efficiency Enterprise Credit score Card, you’ll be able to earn as much as 100,000 bonus factors — 70,000 factors after spending $5,000 on purchases throughout the first three months, and one other 30,000 factors after spending a complete of $25,000 in purchases throughout the first six months.

After assembly this whole (admittedly massive) spending requirement, you’d find yourself with 125,000 qualifying factors — 100,000 bonus factors plus 25,000 factors for spending $25,000 on the cardboard. That’s the precise quantity of factors wanted to get the Companion Cross.

And there’s additionally the Southwest Speedy Rewards Premier Enterprise Credit score Card, however this provide is considerably inferior to the others, as you’ll solely earn 60,000 bonus factors after spending $3,000 on purchases throughout the first three months of opening the account.

For the reason that Companion Cross is legitimate for the 12 months it’s earned plus the whole following 12 months, the most effective time to earn the go is as early within the calendar 12 months as attainable. So now that we’re already into December, so as to have the go for so long as attainable, you’ll need to apply for the playing cards proper now, however then wait to finish the minimal spending necessities after January 1, 2021.

The bonus factors you earn on these bank cards rely towards the Companion Cross within the 12 months they’re awarded, not the 12 months you utilized for the cardboard. When you get any of those Southwest bank cards now, your first assertion most likely received’t seem till January anyway, and bonus factors are awarded on the assertion on the finish of a billing interval.

However simply to be fully secure, we advocate getting the cardboard now however ready till a minimum of January 1, 2021, to hit the minimal spending requirement. You’ll be able to actually begin utilizing the cardboard as quickly as you get it — simply make certain to not go over the minimal spend threshold for the bonus till the calendar flips to 2021.

Now, in case you aren’t capable of spend some huge cash on any of the Southwest bank cards and may solely meet the first-tier bonus on any of the non-public or enterprise playing cards, there’s nonetheless a approach to earn the Companion Cross getting two Southwest bank cards and mixing the bonus factors from each.

The vital caveat right here is you can’t apply for 2 private playing cards — the second card have to be a enterprise bank card. That’s as a result of Chase — the financial institution that points Southwest bank cards — limits clients to having only one private Southwest bank card open at a time. However Chase does permit you to apply for each a private card and a enterprise card.

Simply remember that the bank cards have to be for a similar applicant — you’ll be able to’t mix factors amongst members. Additionally, Chase has turn into considerably extra restrictive about issuing enterprise bank cards through the pandemic, although you might have extra luck now than some companies did earlier within the 12 months.

Use one — or even two — Southwest credit cards to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

Use one — and even two — Southwest bank cards to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Cross.


Let’s put all of it collectively in an instance. Think about you apply for each the Southwest Plus card and the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card. (Sure, the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card can single-handedly earn you the go, however as we talked about, the $25,000 requirement inside a six-month time-frame is perhaps fairly a problem for some. And it is best to no means spend extra on a bank card than you’ll be able to afford.)

By simply finishing the primary tier of spending on each playing cards, you’ll be able to nonetheless earn the go immediately with none flying, further spending or accomplice exercise required. That’s since you’ll earn 50,000 bonus factors from the Southwest Plus card after spending $2,000 on the cardboard, and 70,000 bonus factors from the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise after spending $5,000 on the cardboard.

With this $7,000 in mixed purchases between the 2 playing cards, you’ll earn a complete of 127,000 qualifying factors — 120,000 from the sign-up provide bonuses and seven,000 factors from the purchases you make in assembly the minimal spending necessities — sufficient to earn the Companion Cross.

So with out even spending the additional quantity on every respective card to earn the second-tier bonuses (which might be one other $10,000 on the Southwest Plus to earn a further 30,000 factors, and one other $25,000 on the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise to earn a further 30,000 factors), you’ll be able to nonetheless earn the go from the consolation of your own home.

Now, in case you’d want to mix one of many Southwest private playing cards with the inexpensive annual charge and decrease minimal spending threshold of the Southwest Premier Enterprise card, you are able to do that too, although you’ll should put in barely extra effort to safe the Companion Cross.

With the Southwest Premier Enterprise card, in case you spend $3,000 on the cardboard throughout the first three months, you’ll earn 60,000 factors. Add that to the $2,000 you’d must spend on the non-public card to earn the first-tier bonus of 50,000 factors and also you’ll have a complete of 115,000 factors — 110,000 from the sign-up bonus plus one other 5,000 factors from spending $5,000 between the 2 playing cards.

This places you simply 10,000 factors shy of incomes the go, which you’ll earn both flying, accomplice exercise or spending a further $8,000 on the non-public card within the first 9 months after opening the account to earn the second tier of the sign-up bonus, supplying you with an additional 30,000 bonus factors plus 8,000 factors out of your bank card spend for a complete of 153,000 qualifying factors.

Simply keep in mind that since these are all Chase bank cards, all candidates are topic to Chase’s “5/24” rule. Underneath this rule, in case you’ve been authorised for 5 or extra bank cards throughout all banks up to now 24 months, Chase will robotically deny your utility.

With three totally different private Southwest bank cards, you is perhaps questioning which card is greatest for you. All three Southwest bank cards earn the identical variety of factors in your on a regular basis purchases. You’ll earn 2 factors for each greenback you spend on Southwest in addition to on Speedy Rewards lodge and automotive rental accomplice purchases, and 1 level per greenback on all different purchases.

In comparison with different bank cards that earn rewards, that’s not probably the most profitable incomes fee. As an example, CNN Underscored’s benchmark bank card, the Citi® Double Money Card, earns 2% money again on all purchases — 1% whenever you make a purchase order, and one other 1% whenever you pay it off.

Associated: Learn CNN Underscored’s evaluate of the Citi Double Money Card.

However when you most likely received’t need to make your major card a Southwest bank card, keep in mind that with the present sign-up presents you’ll get about $1,200 in flights on Southwest with any of the three private Southwest bank cards simply from the bonus factors alone. That is primarily based on Southwest’s factors being value roughly 1.5 cents per level when reserving Southwest’s lowest “Wanna Get Away” fare. The airline has what’s often called a fixed-redemption frequent flyer program, the place the quantity of factors redeemed is instantly tied to the money worth of the fare.

Additionally, though the incomes fee is identical, there are nonetheless important variations between the playing cards, which embrace the annual charge, the anniversary bonus factors acquired, journey credit earned and the choice to purchase up a greater boarding place.

You’ll discover the advantages of the Southwest Plus, the Southwest Premier and the Southwest Premier Enterprise to be comparable. The Plus prices $69 on an annual foundation, whereas the Premier (each private and enterprise variations) prices $99 yearly. The distinction between them is the bonus factors you obtain yearly after you pay the annual charge.

The Southwest Plus card comes with 3,000 bonus factors (value $45 at 1.5 cents per level) on each card anniversary (which means each 365 days from whenever you had been first authorised for the cardboard), whereas the Southwest Premier and the Southwest Premier Enterprise include 6,000 bonus factors at every card anniversary, that are value $90 at 1.5 cents per level.

Though the Southwest Plus card is the least costly choice for the primary 12 months, if this can be a card you consider you’ll be holding for years to return, you’ll discover the Southwest Premier to be the higher long-term worth, due to the bonus factors.

The Southwest Premier card is generally a better long-term value than the cheaper Southwest Plus card.

The Southwest Premier card is usually a greater long-term worth than the cheaper Southwest Plus card.


The Southwest Precedence private card and the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card are the place the massive variations lie.

With the Southwest Precedence, the annual charge is considerably greater at $149 per 12 months, however the advantages are enormously higher. Not solely do you earn 7,500 bonus factors (value $113) at every card anniversary, you’ll additionally obtain a $100 journey credit score yearly and 4 upgraded boarding certificates yearly. The $100 journey credit score can be utilized towards any Southwest flight buy — simply pay in your flight or taxes in your Southwest card and also you’ll obtain a press release credit score as much as $100.

The Southwest Efficiency Enterprise has the best annual charge at $199 per 12 months, however with this card, you’ll earn 9,000 bonus factors (value $145) at every card anniversary 12 months, 4 upgraded boarding certificates yearly, a International Entry or TSA PreCheck charge credit score and in-flight Wi-Fi credit.

You’ll discover that the 2 costliest playing cards each include upgraded boarding certificates, that are distinctive to Southwest for the reason that airline boards its airplanes very in another way than most different airways. There’s no assigned seating — as an alternative, you obtain a boarding place primarily based in your flight check-in time. Passengers are assigned into teams A, B and C, and might be wherever between 1 and 60 inside every group.

Upgraded boarding certificates usually permit you to buy an A1 A15 place on the gate (if obtainable), supplying you with the choice to be one of many first passengers to board and select virtually any seat you’d like, guaranteeing you’re not caught behind the airplane in a center seat. Upgraded boardings sometimes value $30 to $50 every, so if that is one thing you’d buy anyway, you’ll be able to put a $120 to $200 worth on this profit. You’ll be able to even use these certificates for different passengers flying with you.

Considering the entire advantages, you’ll discover the worth of the Southwest Precedence and Southwest Efficiency Enterprise playing cards far surpasses the worth of the opposite three playing cards, each throughout the first 12 months and yearly thereafter.

I’ve personally been a Southwest Companion Cross holder for nearly 13 years now, and it’s saved my household tens of 1000’s of {dollars} on journey. The go permits my husband, my kids, my dad and mom and even mates to fly with me on each Southwest flight I take only for the price of taxes. (Home taxes are $5.60 every manner, whereas worldwide taxes differ relying on the vacation spot.)

The very best half in regards to the Companion Cross is that you should use all of the Southwest factors you earned from the sign-up bonus presents to guide flights — you don’t lose them getting the Companion Cross — after which nonetheless add your companion onto your ticket utilizing the go. This implies each passengers are basically flying free of charge aside from taxes and charges, basically doubling the worth of the sign-up presents.

Better of all, the timing on these limited-time bank card bonus presents is ideal. Incomes the Companion Cross any time in 2021 means you’ll have it December 31, 2022. However getting a card now and incomes the bonus factors as early in 2021 as attainable means you’ll get as a lot time with the go as attainable, as much as two full years in case you time it nicely.

So, if you wish to have a Southwest Companion Cross in your palms able to go as soon as journey resumes, now’s the time to seize one and even two of those Southwest bank cards and get them working for you.

Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Speedy Rewards Plus card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Speedy Rewards Premier card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Speedy Rewards Precedence card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Speedy Rewards Premier Enterprise card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Speedy Rewards Efficiency Enterprise card.

Discover out which playing cards CNN Underscored selected as its greatest bank cards of 2020.

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