Easy Path to the Southwest Companion Pass Returns

The best domestic reward option is back (with a few caveats described below).

I know a fair number of other blogs have covered this so I won’t dwell on the finer details and am only doing a quick post since I know a few friends and family members don’t read quite as many blogs as I do and I’ve been talking about my own path to the Southwest Companion Pass so much lately and how excited I am about it (and our first trip is booked!). That said, my path used no Southwest Credit cards, in part because they didn’t fit into my timing. Thankfully, the 50k Southwest credit cards are back and this path is so, so much easier for most people. In short, two credit cards + a little extra yields around 5-6 domestic round-trips for 2 people and maybe even more.

There are a few caveats, as I mentioned above. I’d suggest that this is a fantastic option if you meet most or all of the following:

  • You are able to sign up for both a personal and business Chase card.
  • Your local airport is served by Southwest.
  • You don’t have status on another carrier and aren’t seeking it.
  • You have a partner you’d travel with regularly.
  • You’d like to travel domestically to destinations served by Southwest.

Let me expand a bit on what criteria I’d be looking for in order to get approved for both Southwest visa cards at the same time:

  • No prior Chase Southwest cards is ideal. I believe you’re ok if your cards were closed prior to Rapid Rewards 2.0 which was implemented in early March 1st, 2011 but your mileage may vary if you’ve had the cards before.
  • Credit score of 720+. For us, Chase tends to pull Equifax but sometimes Experian. It varies by location I understand.
  • Few inquiries on your credit report that Chase uses in the last 90 days (1 or 2 seems ok).
  • No chase cards opened in the last 30, preferably 60+ days. 90+ is ideal.
  • No more than 3 (preferably 2) personal Chase cards opened before applying. Getting 3 Chase personal cards seems pretty reliable. It can be tough to push to 4 or beyond though it’s been done.
  • It seems ok to have 2 business cards from Chase so you’ll probably be ok if you have one already. More than that, I’m not sure.
  • If you already have 3+ personal cards and multiple business cards, you can still go ahead but plan out which ones you’d be willing to move credit lines from and close if necessary.
  • A willingness to call the credit reconsideration department because you will almost certainly not be instantly approved for at least one card. Chase really is great about approving you if you will just call in. I used to be reluctant to do this it really doesn’t hurt that bad. Really!

One last suggestion… If you’re going for 2 Chase cards, why not consider throwing in a couple more. Two Citi AA cards for 100k (perfect for intl travel) come to mind but be sure to do some planning. For someone new to this, I can think of quite a few options which would look good to me!

Where to go next: Read more here on the merits and details. Do your research. Post comments and I’ll do my best to answer them if you’ve got questions. There’s a lot of great content out there on the Companion Pass. It’s worth your time.

Bonus content: One very odd observation… I’m actually the companion on my trip to Chicago in a week. Meanwhile, I also hold the companion pass. When I reviewed my ticket, it sure looked like I could bring along Mrs. Points as a companion to a companion. Too bad she has to work! Were it not for that, and that it’s a boys weekend, I’d give it a try just to see what happens! I hope she misses this post.

PS: Things might be a little quiet this weekend… This afternoon, we’re off to the motherland – home of beer, cheese curds, and brats.

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One comment

  1. […] The only reasons I can see not applying for it are if you just ardently avoid Southwest/Airtran, are totally maxed out on Chase cards, or are concerned this will somehow affect your ability to pick up a Southwest card later (where 50k Southwest points are likely more valuable – particularly when combined with the Companion Pass play). […]

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