For Southwest Airlines flyers, earning the coveted Companion Pass is about to get easier. For a limited time, Chase is offering the Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus on Southwest's three consumer credit cards.
New cardholders who sign up through Feb. 11 will earn the Companion Pass plus 30,000 bonus points, after spending $4,000 in their first three months with the card. The offer is available on these cards:
-- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
-- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
-- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Once earned, the promotional Companion Pass is good through Dec. 31. This is different from a regular Companion Pass earned with qualifying flights or points, which is good for the remainder of the year in which you earn it, plus the next calendar year.
About the Companion Pass
Southwest's Companion Pass is one of the most lucrative airline benefits available. It allows you to choose a person to fly with you for free -- excluding taxes and fees, which are typically $5.60 each way -- every time you fly with points or a purchased ticket.
Depending on how often you fly, the Companion Pass could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. You can change your companion up to three times each calendar year, which gives you flexibility if you don't travel with the same person every time.
Should You Bite on the Offer?
The Southwest Companion Pass is usually difficult to obtain -- without this sign-up bonus offer, you'd need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to earn it. If you have travel plans with a companion this year, but aren't able to earn the pass in the traditional way, this offer could save you money.
The offer includes 30,000 bonus points. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points are worth an estimated 1.37 cents apiece, based on a U.S. News analysis, giving you $411 worth of value beyond the Companion Pass.
That said, keep in mind that all three of the cards charge annual fees, none of which are waived the first year. While the bonuses available with each card can help make up for the ongoing fee, you'll need to make sure you get enough value out of the card in the long term to justify keeping it.
To learn more about airline rewards programs, visit U.S. News' Best Airline Credit Cards list.