It’s Time To Earn Your Southwest Airlines Companion Pass!
The Southwest Airlines Companion pass is one of the best deals in the points game. If you are not familiar with the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, you are most certainly missing out. Just this week, I earned my companion pass for 2017 and 2018. Let me show you several easy ways to earn it too!
What is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is a benefit received from the airline that lets you choose one person to fly free with you every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight on Southwest! No blackout dates and no questions asked! For each flight, your companion’s ticket will only cost the taxes and fees ($11.20 round trip on domestic flights).
The best part? There are no limits as to how many flights your companion can accompany you on, and the pass is valid for the year in which it is earned and the full calendar year following!
How Can the Southwest Companion Pass Be Earned?
In order to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass, you need to either earn 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 one-way revenue flights in a calendar year. Trust me it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are three methods to earn it, with credit cards being our top choice.
Method #1: Being a Frequent Southwest Flyer – As mentioned above, frequent travelers with loyalty to Southwest can earn the Companion Pass by flying 100 one-way revenue flights in a single calendar year. Regardless of how many Rapid Rewards points are earned on these flights, a companion pass will be issued based on your number of flights alone. It is worth noting that if you take a paid, round trip flight, with a connecting stop each way, you will be credited with 4 total segments towards the companion pass.
Method #2: Sign Up For the Chase Co-Branded Southwest Credit Cards – This is the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion pass. All you need to do is sign up for two of the Chase co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards which are currently offering a 50,000 point signup bonus. After $2,000 in spend within the first 3 months of card membership, you will have earned 106k Southwest miles. The miles earned from the credit card go towards the 110k miles you need to earn for the Companion Pass. All you will need to do is spend 4k more in 2017 and you then have the 110k Southwest miles to earn the pass.
There are two versions of the personal card (Southwest Plus and the Southwest Premier) and there is also a business version of the card which is currently offering 60,000 points after $3,000 in spend within the first 3 months of card membership. Bonus miles earned from the credit cards count towards companion pass status! The annual fees are not waived on any of the Southwest cards for the first year, but this is a small price to pay for the total value you can receive with the Companion Pass.
This method is how I earned my pass for 2015 and 2016. It’s important to note that all of the Chase co-branded Southwest Airlines credit cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you have more than 5 hard credit pulls within the last 24 months you will be declined. It’s also worth noting that points transfers from programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards will not be eligible for the companion pass, even though they are a 1:1 transfer partner of Southwest Rapid Rewards. These 50,000 point offers come and go quite frequently.
Method #3: Redeem Marriott (Starwood) Points for a Hotel + Air Package – With news of the Marriott & Starwood merger, many people are excited at all of the new points transfer and redemption options available to members of both loyalty programs. While people with a pile of Marriott points can now take advantage of vast airline transfer options through Starwood, SPG loyalists are now able to transfer points into the Marriott rewards program at a 1:3 ratio, and take advantage of their hotel + air packages.
By redeeming 270,000 Marriott points (or 90,000 SPG points before the transfer) for Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package 3, you receive a 7 night stay in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel and 120,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points. These points are eligible to earn the companion pass, but only for a limited time. This method is only available until 3/31/17 so move quick on this one! Method #3 is how Mr. TT and I both earned the pass last week.
Southwest is one of our favorite airlines. Not because their hard product is superior to other carriers I have flown, but because they know exactly who they are and they are extremely good at it. I love that you get two free checked bags, no cancellation or change fees, and the general positive attitude of the Southwest crew members. The Companion Pass is far and away the best deal in the points game and I was able to get well north of $2,000 in value out of it with my 2015/2016 pass. I just received my 2017/2018 pass today, and I’m excited to start planning my travels!