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Does Southwest Airlines fly out of your home airport? Do you like cheap travel? Have I got a deal for you! Southwest Airlines states “A member who earns 110,000 qualifying points or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights per calendar year will qualify for Companion Pass status, which entitles a designated traveling companion to fly with the member for one year…”
To simplify that, if you earn 110,000 points or fly 100 one-way routes in one calendar year, you qualify for the Companion Pass and can pick a best buddy to fly with you for the remainder of that calendar year until December 31st of the following year, for just taxes and fees (starting at $5.60 each way). The earlier in the year you earn your Companion Pass, the longer your companion gets to fly with you.
There are a few rules, of course:
- The companion may only fly “free” when the original member is flying with them; otherwise they have to pay like everyone else.
- Flights may only be booked through Southwest Airlines.
- No rapid reward points will be earned by the companion using the pass.
- A member may only have one companion pass at any given time.
- A companion pass is non-transferrable.
- Companion pass travel is still subject to taxes, fees, and other government or airport-imposed charges from $5.60 per one-way trip, so it’s not entirely free. But… it is very reasonable. For example, if Greg and I were to fly to New York City on my points, it would cost me 18,938 points + $11.20, and Greg would just have to pay the $11.20 in taxes and fees. Two round trip tickets to NYC for 18,938 + $22.40 is incredible!
The taxes and fees are a bit more expensive when you fly out of or into the country, but flights are still super reasonable. Greg and I could fly roundtrip to Costa Rica for 21,312 points + $160.70. Or roundtrip to Mexico City for just 11,376 + $188.40. Two for one flights! Amazing!
The best part about this deal is that the companion gets to fly with you whether you pay cash for a flight or use points, so you could fly off the 110,000 points you earned for as long as possible and your companion would always be “free”!
Well, hey, that all sounds pretty awesome. But how would one earn 110,000 points in one calendar year? You could fly a lot, or…
You could apply for two Chase Southwest Airlines Visas, which often offer 50,000 or even 60,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within three months of opening them. So if you were to be approved for any combination of a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card and a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card, or a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card, and spent the required $2,000.00 on each card within three months, you’d be at least 104,000 points closer (or completely over the top if you get 60,000 point offers) to that companion pass (100,000 from the bonus points and 4,000 from the minimum spend requirements). That means you would still need an extra 6,000 points to achieve the necessary 110,000 points, but there are several ways to do that other than spending $6,000 on your cards. You could:
*Fly Southwest and earn points the old-fashioned way.
*Shop online through Southwest’s online shopping portal.
*Book hotel stays through southwesthotels.com. Booking through this site means you won’t be able to earn your usual hotel loyalty points, so book wisely.
*Rent a car through Southwest’s partner page.
*Utilize a good Google search to see what other tricks have worked.
The following do not qualify you for a companion pass so do not try them:
*Buying Rapid Rewards points.
*Gifting Rapid Rewards points.
*Transferring Rapid Rewards points.
*Combining Rapid Rewards accounts.
*Program enrollment points.
*Rapid Rewards partner bonuses.
*Transferring Ultimate Rewards points directly to Rapid Rewards points.
But… you can always pad your Southwest account with Ultimate Rewards points after you qualify for the Companion Pass!
Read all the terms and conditions here.
We earned our Companion Pass back in the good old days when you could transfer hotel points to Southwest for Rapids Rewards Points, and before Chase implemented their 5/24 rule. It’s not as easy now, but it can still be done. And we’ll try it again just as soon as we’re out from under that 5/24 umbrella. I get giddy just thinking about it!
This is a great opportunity for couples obviously, and works great with an infant in lap. If you’re part of a couple with at least two children and feeling extra savvy, both of you could apply for both cards and qualify for two separate companion fares and your kids could always fly with you for just taxes and fees! Of course you would have to meet double the minimum spend requirements, but there are lots of ways to meet minimum spends. If we Warckens can do it, so can you.
Good luck! Happy companioning!