I will start by apologizing for non-California residents. Chase and Southwest kept this quiet but the internet won’t allow. For folks in the other 49 states, let’s hope this is a pilot and you are all next.
For California residents
Chase and Southwest have put together one of the slickest credit card offers in history. By signing up for just one Southwest credit card and making a single purchase, you will earn Companion Pass for all of 2018. Seriously.
If you aren’t familiar with Southwest Companion Pass, it is essentially a buy-one get-one with travel on Southwest. You can change your companion up to four times per year!
Offer link for personal Plus card (PLUS 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in 90 days)
Offer link for personal Premier card (PLUS 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in 90 days)
Offer link for business Premier card (PLUS 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days)
Before you click apply!
There are some big catches if you already hold a Southwest credit card or have opened many cards in the last 24 months.
1. You cannot receive the bonus offer on the same card twice within a 24 month window. If you received the SW Plus credit card bonus in the last 24 months, you cannot take part in this promo with that same card. You CAN earn the bonus offer and earn Companion Pass with the personal Premier or business Premier card as those are treated as separate products. If you apply within the 24 month window for a card you already received the bonus on, Southwest will auto-deny your application, no credit check will be performed.
2. Southwest will deny your application (after a credit inquiry) if you have signed up for more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months. The 5 cards will be counted from ANY bank. Note I said ‘signed up‘, because it doesn’t matter if you have since closed one of those cards, Chase can still see it if it shows on your credit report. This 5/24 rule applies to all Southwest credit cards and there is no easy way around it. Go and look at your credit report on Credit Karma, if you see ANY credit card account with an open date in the last 24 months, that counts towards the 5 card cap.
If you live in California and are under 5/24 this is a no-brainer. The fine print states that your Companion Pass benefit will start 8 weeks after you make your first purchase. That means you could technically receive Companion Pass before Christmas, and of course all of 2018.
The big question is whether you can receive this “instant” Companion Pass offer and receive Companion Pass for all of 2019 as well. If you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points in one calendar year, you will receive Companion Pass for the remainder of that calendar year as well as the entire next year.
The question is; If you delay your minimum spend completion so the 40k or 60k bonus points post in January, will those points count in the 2018 calendar year. I think they will. If they do, you can just sign up for one more Southwest credit card in 2018 to meet the 110,000 point requirement (or fly a bunch with SW)
If this worked by delaying your minimum spend completion to the first of 2018 and getting another SW credit card bonus in 2018, you might TECHNICALLY be able to hold Companion Pass for the end of the 2017 and ALL of 2018 & 2019. We shall see.
For non California residents:
You can still begin work on your 2018 and 2019 Companion Pass. If you sign up for a Southwest credit card now, make sure not to complete your minimum spend until the end of 2017 so the bonus points post in 2018. Look at your statement close date (usually a rolling 30 days from card open date) and make sure the statement where your minimum spend will be completed closes in January of 2018.