Sometime last year, while researching travel ideas, I discovered that Southwest Airlines offers a Companion Pass. Once earned, you are able to add a “companion”- spouse, best friend, child, anyone- to fly with you for free* for the remainder of the current calendar year plus the following year. From what I can tell, Southwest has offered the Companion Pass for several years- but it was new to me mostly because I rarely flew Southwest at the time.
To earn Companion Pass Status through Southwest, a person needs to fly 100 one-way qualifying flights per year or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. There are many websites and blogs that discuss tips and “tricks” to earn the pass, so I will not go over everything here. (Google “Southwest Companion Pass” and you will easily find a ton of information.) Instead, I thought I would share how I earned it (which may not be the most ideal- but for me it was the easiest and quickest method).
I do not fly for work and although I love to travel, I could not imagine flying 100 one-way flights limited on Southwest within a year. This meant figuring out a way to earn 110,000 points would be my best approach. The two primary way to earn qualifying points is through flying paid Southwest flights or points earned through Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards. Points purchased through Southwest or transferred from another Rapid Rewards member do not count toward earning the Companion Pass.
How I did it:
- + 1,325 pts : January 4th : Southwest flight
- + 51,102 pts: January 5th : Southwest RR Credit Card signup bonus + December spend
- + 1,188 pts: January 18th : Southwest flight
- + 4,117 pts: February 5th : Rapid Rewards Credit Card spend
- + 10,000 pts: February 10th: Transfer points from Marriott
- + 30,000 pts: February 23rd: Transfer points from Hyatt
- + 1,353 pts: March 5th: Rapid Rewards Credit Card spend
- + 9,600 pts: March 12th: Transfer points from Hyatt
- + 1,188 pts: March 17th: Southwest flight
- + 2,343 pts: April 5th: Rapid Rewards Credit Card spend
TOTAL: 112,216 points earned by April 5th
Just a day or two after my Rapid Rewards credit card spend points posted to my account in early April, I received an email from Southwest letting me know I had earned the companion pass and instructions on how to designate my companion. Since then, I have already booked two upcoming trips and added my companion to fly with me for free*.
It is a good option for those who travel frequently within the U.S. since Southwest was a domestic airline. They started flying to Mexico and the Caribbean last year, which expands our budget travel options.
Another bonus is by earning the Southwest Companion Pass in April, it is eligible for the rest of 2016 and all of 2017! I’m excited for more travel adventures 🙂
Happy travels, y’all! CHEERS!
[*Some small taxes and fees must be paid.]