The companion pass—one of the most coveted perks from the Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards program that allows a free “plus one” on flights—is up for grabs as part of a new welcome bonus for Chase consumer credit cards. Here’s what you need to know, along with other notable deals.
How to qualify for the Companion Pass
To qualify, you’ll need to apply for one of three cards, below.
If you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account, you will qualify for 30,000 rewards points and the Companion Pass, which allows a friend or loved one to enjoy free flights (excluding taxes and fees) through Feb. 28, 2022. The offer will end March 10, 2021.
Some restrictions apply: Current cardmembers are ineligible, as are previous cardmembers who have received a Southwest welcome bonus in the last 24 months (Business Card holders are excluded from these restrictions, however).
While it’s not a good idea to spend a lot of money just to earn reward bonuses, this is a solid deal. Normally, only the most dedicated power users can earn the Companion Pass perk, either by flying 100 one-way flights or earning 125,000 qualifying points in one calendar year (you get 1-5 points for every $1 spent on travel).
Spending $5,000 on your credit card in three months isn’t easy, but it’s possible to use your card for large-but-planned payments on things like rent, owed taxes, or reimbursable business expenses. Just remember to only use money that you actually have, and pay off the credit card immediately after the transaction.
You’ll also want to be realistic about how much travel you’ll be doing and weigh that against the overall value you’ll be getting from a card that primarily offers travel perks while we’re in a pandemic. In other words, this would be a good card for optimists with stable income who are planning to travel later this year.
Before you sign-up, check out your local government restrictions and recommendations on travel during COVID. The CDC is asking people to delay travel and stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID, so you’ll want to stick to essential travel, at least until the pandemic (hopefully) dies down. There are no guarantees that these restrictions will ease up, so consider that as a risk when signing up for a travel card.
Other good welcome bonus deals for travel cards
New members for British Airways Visa Signature Card, Iberia Visa Signature Card, and Aer Lingus Visa Signature Card are being offered a similar deal in which you can earn a “Travel Together ” ticket for a companion. To earn it, you have to spent $20,000 within the first year of opening the account—however, note that it’s a single voucher and has a lot of redemption restrictions. The bonus also qualifies you for 50,000 rewards points bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Below are some other notable consumer travel card deals, based on the cash value of their current welcome bonuses, per The Points Guy:
Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. The annual fee is $95.
Estimated redemption value: $1200.
Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. The annual fee is steep—$550.
Estimated redemption value: $1000.
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first six months. There is a hefty $550 annual fee, though.
Estimated redemption value: $1500.