This is it guys. You have an extremely short window of time in which to take advantage of this offer, and if you fly at all in the US or Central America or would like to, you must take advantage of this offer. Details below. If you want to jump straight to the instructions, click here.
This offer will likely only be valid for another few days, so take advantage now. By now, I mean now – the public offer is already dead. They started offering this publicly a few weeks ago, but just took down the links today.
These are the links that are still live (make sure the links offer you 50,000 miles each and not 25,000. If it says 25,000 or some other number, the offer is unfortunately dead and you missed your spot on the gravy train):
Southwest Premier Personal Card: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/2rtfosam1
Southwest Premier Business Card: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PremierBiz
So what is this deal? It’s the Southwest Companion Pass, which is awarded to anyone who earns 110,000 qualifiying miles or more in a given calendar year. Once you earn those 110,000 qualifying miles, you have the pass until the end of the next calendar year.
Normally, this is nigh impossible to do, requiring to fly just about every weekend to hit 110,000 miles, and even then, you’ll only earn the pass for a little over a year, since you’ll earn it towards the end of the year in which you get it. However, there’s a secret hack to get this card for two entire years, and to do so without flying at all.
It turns out miles you earn on the Southwest credit cards count as qualifying miles towards the Companion Pass, and every so often, Southwest awards high signup bonuses on the cards. Normally, each card gives you only 25,000 miles. Now, however, each card gives you 50,000 miles – meaning if you open both, you’ve instantly just made 100,000 miles.
All you have to do after that is manufacture $10,000 of spend on the credit cards (as easy said as done, you can literally just buy Visa/Mastercard gift cards or loan the money on Kiva, which is an easy way to get all the money back in ~6-12 months while helping a ton of people and doing a good thing: click here for details on that), and since the cards earn 1 mile for each $1 spent, you’ve just earned yourself 110,000 miles.
You have to be extremely lucky to time this exactly right, however. Not only do the bonus offers only come up now and then for a few weeks at a time, but you can only open the cards in the months of October-December if you want to get the Companion Pass for a full 2 years.
Why? Because all of the miles you earn must post in a single year, and you only have 3 months in which to meet the spend requirement to earn the 50,000 points on each card. Basically, you have to ‘spend’ (i.e. manufacture spend through Kiva lending or VISA/Mastercard gift card buying) $2000 on each card to get the 50,000 bonus, and you have 3 months in which to do so.
This is actually a really good thing, because it means you won’t get the miles when you signup for the card, but rather when you fulfill the purchase bonus. So if you signup now in October, you wait until your first two statements post, and then in December, as soon as your second statement has posted, you have a fine window of a month in which to spend $2000 (ensure all your spending posts to your account before your third statement closes, or you’ll be screwed and lose all the points however) before your third statement closes. Then, once your third statement closes in January 2016, you’ll get 52,000 points (50,000 from the signup bonus and 2,000 from the spend) immediately on your Southwest account, counted towards your Southwest Companion Pass for that year.
If you open both cards at once, you thus have 104,000 points in January of next year immediately. To hit the Companion Pass, you just need to spend an extra $3000/card in December 2015, and you’ll hit 110,000 points first thing in January and have the companion pass all the way through the end of December 2017, or two full years. On top of that, you just got 100,000 Southwest miles. A Companion Pass + 100,000 Southwest miles for a paltry $200 in annual fees? No brainer. The miles alone come out to be worth $3400 with the Pass – and that’s not even valuing the pass itself (see below).
Pretty amazing, huh? I did this back in late 2013, so I had the Companion Pass for all of 2014 and 2015, which was incredible, especially traveling with my wife everywhere for basically nothing. Southwest flights are some of the cheapest reward wise too, with many rewards pegged at 1.6-1.7 cents/mile, meaning that you can get flights for 3000 or fewer miles at times (e.g. SFO-LAS or SFO-LAX)…meaning a roundtrip for two people for 6000 miles with the Companion Pass. More reasonably, we can generally find tickets around the 5000-6000 range one way, or 10,000-12,500 miles roundtrip. That means with this 110,000 promotion, we can very feasibly take ten roundtrip flights together completely free, and then get half price off every other roundtrip flight after that for the next two years.
This comes out to $3400 in value (100,000 mile * 1.7 cents/mile * 2 with Companion Pass) straight up from getting these two cards (each with an annual fee of $99, so you’re coming out net $3200 in value), with 50% off all flights after that for the next two years, so however much value you get out of that. Simply put, it does not get better than this.
So yeah, you need to take advantage of this deal. My wife just did this and opened the Personal and Business Premier cards applying back to back this weekend and got instantly approved for both, so now we have the Companion Pass good through the end of 2017 (four years total so far). At that time – I’ll apply again, and presumably get it for another 2 years, and then her again…ad infinitum. Good times.
So here are the exact instructions on how to do this:
- Open an incognito/private browsing window in Chrome or Firefox, and apply for the Southwest Personal Premier Card here: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/2rtfosam1 –> Important note: take a screenshot of the offer page showing that you were offered the 50,000 bonus as proof in case they don’t give it to you for whatever reason. This is good practice on all these offers.
- Once you get that card approved (you may have to call and it may be pending), immediately close all your incognito/private browsing windows to clear the cache/cookies there, and then open a new incognito/private browsing window and apply for the Southwest Business Premier Card here: https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/PremierBiz –> Important note again: take a screenshot of this offer page as well
- Now, just wait for both cards to be approved and sent to you in the mail. If you get denied initially, be sure to call the reconsideration line and persuade them to approve you (happens to me all the time, I always get approved when calling, so definitely worth a call).
- Once the cards are approved, carefully track your statements. Don’t spend any money until the first two statements have closed. Immediately once your second statement closes (sometime in December), manufacture spend for $5000 on each card, for a total of $10,000 on both cards (you can spend more on one and less on another, but you have to spend at least $2000 on each card to get the 50,000 signup bonus). You must make sure to spend all this money before your third statement closes, since you only have 3 months to meet the spending requirement, otherwise you don’t get the 50,000 mile signup bonus.
- Once your third statement closes (sometime in January), you should then receive 110,000 miles on your Southwest Airlines account (50,000 * 2 for both signup bonuses, and 10,000 for spending $10,000) in a few days. You’ll automatically qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass then.
- Congratulations! You just earned the best bonus in airlines ever. Now all you have to do is add your companion to your account, and they can now fly free with you on all your flights. To add your companion, just click this link, login, and follow the instructions. Note: you can even add them to flights you booked *before* earning the Pass but haven’t taken yet, so definitely feel free to book flights before you earn this status and add your companion later.
- Enjoying flying all around the country + Central America with your favorite companion for free for the next two years.