Who doesn’t like Buy One Get One, especially an Airline Ticket? This is what exactly a Southwest Companion pass means, a really lucrative benefit offered for the loyalty towards Southwest airlines.
What is Southwest Companion Pass?
Southwest Companion pass is a benefit offered by Southwest Airlines for its Rapid Rewards members. This benefit allows you to choose a person to fly with you at no airline cost (Taxes and fees have to paid for the companion ticket) when you purchase a ticket or redeem points for a flight.
How to qualify for Southwest Companion Pass?
To qualify for Southwest Companion pass, you need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights on southwest or earn 110,00 qualifying rapid rewards points in a Calendar year. Companion pass will be valid for the following full calendar year plus the rest of the calendar year, which means if you could earn the companion pass during the start of calendar year, that will be close to 2 years of flying with the Buy One Get One (You will still have to pay the Taxes and fees for the companion)
Can you Change the name of the Companion?
Southwest allows you to change the name of the companion for up to 3 times during a calendar year. Note that you must fly along with the companion to be able to make the ticket free
How to earn Southwest Companion Pass?
Flying 100 qualifying one way flights on Southwest is a lot of flying and is not a possible feat for most folks. Thankfully, there are ways to earn 110,000 qualifying Rapid Reward points with a little effort
1. Southwest Credit Cards
Southwest co-branded credit cards offered by chase are probably the easiest way to earn Companion pass. The best part is Signup bonus and the regular spend on the card are counted towards the 110,000 rapid rewards points requirement for earning Southwest Companion pass.
There are 4 versions of credit cards available
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premium Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
As on the day of writing this post, there is an increased signup bonus for all the 4 cards offering 60,000 points. With personal cards, you could earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening and earn an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases within your first year.
With business credit card, you could earn 60,000 points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Note that Chase allows only one personal and one business Southwest credit card per person. Southwest credit cards falls under the 05/24 rule, so use caution before applying for these cards. By signing up for one personal and one business credit card and completing the minimum spend requirement, you could earn enough points for a companion pass.
The potential challenge here is spending $12,000 to earn that 20,000 bonus points. But you could supplement with the other methods to earn the remaining points
Important Note: To maximize the Companion pass, you should aim at getting the companion pass as early as possible in 2019, so you could enjoy for the rest of 2019 and the full 2020. Ensure that you complete the minimum spending requirement on your credit cards, such that the signup bonus posts only in the new year – 2019.
2. Referral bonus points for Southwest Credit cards:
Chase frequently runs promotions for referring your friends or family members to sign up for the Southwest credit cards. Referral points earned counts towards the Southwest Companion pass requirements.
3. Shop & Dine
Apart from the signup bonus from credit cards, regular spend on the credit cards & points earned through travel, you could also earn qualifying Rapid Rewards points through the Rapid Rewards shopping & Rapid Rewards Dining.
Rapid Rewards Shopping: Just like any portal, you could earn rapid rewards points for shopping at your merchants through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal.
You could earn Rapid Rewards points at over 850+ stores and occasionally, there are bonus points offered.
Rapid Rewards Dining: You dinner at your favorite restaurant could earn you Rapid Reward points.
- Enroll for Rapid Rewards Dining program
- Register up to 12 credit cards to track your purchases
- Locate Participating restaurants, dine and pay with one of the registered cards
- You could earn 3 points per dollar spent, as long as you opt in for email communications
Note that the points from Rapid Rewards Dining and Shopping may take up to 6 weeks to post to your account. Bonus points do not count towards the companion pass requirement.
3. 1-800 flowers
You could order gifts from www.1800Flowers.com/rapidrewards and earn 1000 points for every order of $29.99 or more.
It may take up to 8 weeks for points to post to your account
4. Home & Lifestyle
You could also earn Rapid Rewards Points with participating Home & Lifestyle partners. Note that these partners may change over time. At this time, you could earn points with the following partners.
Once you met the requirements for the companion pass, you can login to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account and add a companion of your choice.
With in few days, you should get an envelope with your actual Companion pass
Note that a person can have only one companion pass. When you are ready to travel, you must book your reservation first and then add a companion by going to the “My Trips” tab or you can also call 1-800-248-4377 to complete the booking
Tips & Strategies:
You can change your companion up to 3 times in a calendar year. Note that, per the terms, it may take up to 21 days to process the companion change request.
You will not be able to add new companion, until all the travel with previous companion is complete. You could still book the ticket for yourself , but add new companion after completing the travel with previous companion
If you are a family of 4, Wife and husband get companion pass each and add their kids as companions or wife and husband could companion pass alternately and maximize the travel.
Southwest Companion pass is arguably the best perk in the travel industry. with a little planning and effort, one could get a companion pass valid for close to two years. With Companion pass, you just need to pay the taxes and fees for your companion – which is $5.60 for a one way ticket within USA.
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