The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel rewards. Once you earn the pass, you can book a companion on any Southwest flight with you for free. It’s a great way to see more of the world for less with someone you love (or maybe just like a little). Earning the pass and using the pass are just as easy as using the Southwest Rapid Rewards program. But there are a few tips and tricks to make it even easier.
How To Earn Southwest Companion Pass
To earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Qualifying points are earned by paying for flights with Southwest, earning points with Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and earning base points with Rapid Rewards Partners. Points earned from the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal count, but some of their special spending bonuses don’t. Purchased points, transferred points, points converted from other programs, and certain other points don’t count towards the companion pass.
Qualifying flights or points must all be earned in the same calendar year. Once you earn the pass, it’s valid for the entire following calendar year and the rest of the year in which you earned it. This means if you earn all the points at the very beginning of one year, you’ll enjoy the companion pass for nearly two years! That’s two years of taking your spouse, kid, or best friend with you everywhere for free!
How Do You Earn Southwest Companion Pass The Easy Way
The easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is with the Southwest Credit Cards. That’s how we earned it at the end of last year without ever taking a Southwest flight in 2017. Since there are two cards available, you can earn almost all the points you need by signing up for both. The best time to sign up is when they are offering an increased sign-up bonus. Currently, it’s 50,000 Rapid Rewards points if you use a referral link. You can find my referral links here.
However, they frequently offer an increased bonus of 60,000 points. Either wait for the 60,000 point bonus and get both. Or use the 50,000 point bonus now and wait for the 60,000 point bonus to show up again. Then you’ll have all the points you need to get the pass.
Keep in mind that both cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule. Chase will also deny applications within 90 days of each other. You can try to beat this by applying for both cards at the same time or by calling the reconsideration line if you’re near the end of the 90-day window.
How To Use Southwest Companion Pass
Designate Your Companion
Login to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account to designate your companion. You can start using the pass as soon as you make your designation. A physical companion pass will be sent to you in the mail. You can change your companion up to three times per calendar year that you have the pass. If you decide you don’t like your companion anymore, just change it up.
Booking Your Companion’s Ticket
Companion seats do not have blackout dates. If there’s a seat on your flight, you can add your companion. After you’ve booked your flight, an option to add a companion will appear on your confirmation screen. If you miss it, locate your reservation in the “Upcoming” section of “My Trips”. Click the “Add Companion” link and continue to the purchase screen where you’ll pay the fees and confirm the reservation. A separate booking and separate confirmation number will be generated for the companion ticket. It’s important to note that while the reservations are linked they are still separate. You will need both confirmation numbers for check-in. But you can’t game the system by trying to add a companion to your companion’s ticket. The companion ticket is not considered a purchased flight.
Here’s the best part of the Southwest Companion Pass: you can book your ticket with cash or points. You can add a companion to any flight you book for yourself. This means you can use Rapid Rewards for your flight and both you and your companion will practically fly for free. (You must still pay $5.60 per person each way for domestic flights.) If you earned the pass with points, you already have at least 110,000 Rapid Rewards. That’s worth $1650 in Wanna Get Away fares so you’ve got a lot of flying to do!
Flying With Your Companion
You must travel with your companion. If you cancel or change your flight, your companion’s ticket will be cancelled unless it was also changed. If you don’t show up, you companion’s ticket will be cancelled. You must both check in using your separate confirmation numbers. This could result in different boarding assignments as your companion does not automatically share your assignment, Also, make sure to keep the physical companion pass handy in case your companion is asked to show it at the airport.
Final Thoughts on Southwest Companion Pass
Since Southwest flies all over the U.S. and to Mexico and Caribbean, the value of the Southwest Companion Pass cannot be understated. You can use it as many times as you want while the pass is valid. As Southwest expands service into Hawaii, the Southwest Companion Pass will become even more valuable. The beginning of the year is the best time to qualify so start now!