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Southwest Companion Pass Discussion

Yesterday I shared an article that it was now go time for the 120K Southwest Business Premier card if you wanted the offer, and were chasing the Companion Pass. Some people wondered if sticking with the old tried and true Companion Pass way was better. The old way would be waiting until October / November to grab both cards and earn the Companion Pass in early 2024. The answer, as it so often is in this space, is it depends. It depends on your personal situation, your spending ability and your card lineup. Let's dive into both sides of the discussion.

What Is The Old Way vs The New Way?

Let's take a look at the two options:

New Way

The new Southwest Business Premier offers a unique opportunity to get the card now and still earn the Companion Pass in 2024 that is good for the rest of 2024 and all of 2025. This is just like the old way, except you can start the clock a bit earlier. That is because the bonus is broken into two parts and you get 9 months to complete the second part of the offer, spilling into 2024. The bonus is bigger than usual, but so is the spend. That is where the debate hinges. You would still need to grab a second card, just like the old way, unless you try to do the one card method (which I shared why I wouldn't in my write up).

Old Way

The old way follows a similar blueprint, but requires you to wait a few more months to do it. The main benefit of doing it this way is the minimum spend required for the two offers is considerably lower, but so is the welcome offer. Getting a better return per dollar, even if a lower overall payout, is the main factor on this side of the debate.

Southwest Companion Pass Discussion

Comparing Old Way vs New Way

So let's compare the numbers in old way vs new way. Since you need to grab a second card in both scenarios I am going to focus just on the business cards for this. That is unless you are chasing the one card option, but that isn't a part of this debate because I think too many things can go wrong.

Old Way Card Offer

The Southwest Performance Business offer is as follows:

New Way Card Offer

The Southwest Business Premier offer is as follows:

  • Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn an additional 60,000 points after you spend $15,000 within the first 9 months
  • The card has a $99 annual fee

Doing either offer, along with a personal card (or the other business card), will earn you the Companion Pass. This is of course assuming the Performance Business card offer doesn't change later on this year. The return in terms of points per dollar for each is as follows:

  • Old Way – Performance Business: 16 points per dollar with the welcome offer spend.
    • If you want to factor in the higher annual fee then it is more like 14.5 points per dollar
  • New Way – Business Premier: 8 points per dollar with the welcome offer spend.

This ignores the Performance Business card's better earning structure, which is something you may want to consider depending on your spending pattern. It would likely only amount to a point or less more per dollar if it did though.

Wow, the return on the Performance Business looks like twice as good of a deal! And it is, in terms of return on spend. That isn't the only thing that needs to be consider here though. If it were then we should all just be grabbing $200 statement credit after spending $500 credit card offers since it is a 40% return on spend!

Southwest Companion Pass Discussion

Southwest Companion Pass Discussion: Which Offer Is Better For You?

Each offer has its place so let's get into the nitty gritty. Here are the points for each offer that need to be considered. You can see which one lines up better with your needs / situation.

The Southwest Performance Business offer is better for you if:
  • You have limited spend abilities and the larger offer may be out of reach / take you longer to complete
    • If the $15,000 in spend on the Premier would take you close to the full 9 months to complete then you could miss out on valuable Companion Pass time.
    • If you have really limited spend available then the $15K required for the Premier could cost you the ability to grab other welcome offers.
  • If you don't regularly transfer Rapid Rewards to your Southwest account from Ultimate Rewards
    • Then you may not need the additional Rapid Rewards points
  • If return on your spend is very important to you
    • This is the far superior offer in terms of return on spend per dollar
  • If you don't have a lot of cards with Chase and haven't grabbed many this year already
    • Then grabbing two in a short span won't be a big deal
The Southwest Business Premier offer is better for you if:
  • Your spend is outpacing your welcome offers
    • If you are routinely completing them within a month or two then you may want to take on the bigger bonus
  • You have a large expense hitting later this year / early next year
    • It may be easier to do this on one card versus multiple (or that may be the only option)
  • If you are burning through your Rapids Rewards points on the regular
    • The additional 40K could come in handy, especially if it keeps your Ultimate Rewards in your UR account (that could give you more value using them with a better transfer partner like Hyatt)
  • If you have had a lot of recent applications with Chase
    • This offer allows you to space your applications, in particular with Chase, out a bit.
  • If you have earned a personal card welcome offer in the last 24 months, but haven't had either of the Southwest business cards.
    • You could grab the other business card later in the year to complete the requirements for the Companion Pass. The same could be said of Performance Business as well, but we don't know what the offer will be later in the year on the Premier (although likely enough to earn a Companion Pass). Depends if you believe one in the hand is worth two in the bush or not.
My Thoughts

As I said earlier, more than just return on spend needs to be considered here. If you are just looking to maximize your spend per dollar all the time, and constantly burning through welcome offers to do that, eventually you will run into issues. That is if you are getting grabbing a lot of cards every year to do it. How do I know? Because I have run up against it a few times. You will get to the point where some (many) institutions will say, no mas! On the other side of things, if you are only doing a handful each year, and have limited monthly spend, then looking to maximize every dollar of spend is the best approach for sure. It really depends on your situation.

I like big spend offers, at least ones that give you an ample timeframe to complete, because it causes you to pump the brakes. There are many people in the ToP Facebook Group that need just that. Getting a new welcome offer each month isn't sustainable. If this offer causes you to cool off with Chase for a bit because of the larger spend, and put space between your applications, then that is a positive that should be factored in. Some of you are simply going too hard, too fast. This offer is a little bit like a built in safety net for you.

Southwest Companion Pass Discussion: ToP Thoughts

Hopefully this Southwest Companion Pass discussion helps you wade through the application waters a bit more. Either option is a good one, but which is best for you will depend on your particular situation. I think the biggest deciding factors are:

  • What level is your spending ability at and how quickly are you getting through welcome offers right now?
  • Do you need a self imposed time out so to speak to calm your activity with Chase?
  • Are you always saying, I can never get enough Rapid Rewards points?

How you answer those questions, and the ones above, will lead you to the proper plan of attack for you. That is all that really matters, what works best for you!

I should also warn to not fall into the hype of these offers, or the Southwest Companion Pass. If you don't regularly fly Southwest, or don't have an airport with a lot on non-stop Southwest flights, then this deal probably isn't for you. Sometimes a deal can be a great deal and still be a bad deal for you! At times, the best decision we can make is knowing when to say no.


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