The Southwest Companion Pass can be an extremely lucrative travel award perk. It allows you to designate an individual to fly for FREE with you on any Southwest flights for the rest of the year in which it is earned and all of the following year! What’s more, your Companion will fly for free even when you redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points for your own ticket (i.e. you both fly free). Here’s how you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass:
- If you are not already a member of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program, sign up
- Then, you must either: (1) fly 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines in a calendar year (if you travel weekly for business on Southwest, this may be viable. For most of us it isn’t, so let’s skip this option and look at the second path);
or (2) earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year (Bingo! This may take some effort but is doable for many.)
How to earn your 110,000 Rapid Rewards points:
- Sign up for a Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase and earn a sign-up bonus. The standard sign-up bonus is 40,000 points, which is occasionally raised to 50,000. Through this referral link though, you can earn 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months AND 20,000 additional points if you spend $12,000 on purchases within the first year. Presto, that’s 60,000 points. Just by making the Rapid Rewards Credit Card from Chase your regular credit card, you are over halfway there.
- If you have a business of any kind, you can also sign up for one of the Southwest Rapid Rewards business cards, earn that sign-up bonus and pretty much be at your 110,000 points.
- Don’t have a business? Not to worry. In the next post, we will talk about the many easy ways you can earn the remaining points.
Timing is important!
If you want to earn the Companion Pass in 2020 , then apply for the credit card in December 2019. The sign-up bonus will post to your Rapid Rewards account in January after you complete the minimum spend for the card ($1000 in the first three months).
By getting a quick start at the beginning of the year, you maximize your chances for earning the pass, by giving yourself a full 12 months to do so. So go ahead and get started using your new card for your holiday shopping and any other expenses. And since you will also earn a point for every dollar you spend on the card (and two points per dollar spent on Southwest), by the time you meet your minimum spend, you will actually have at least 41,000 miles (the sign-up bonus plus one point per dollar spent). If you keep using the card until you have had $12,000 in purchases in the year, you will get another 20,000 points plus and additional 11,000 points from spend on your card, bringing you to 72,000 of the 110,000 points you need.
PLEASE: Do NOT apply for the card if you are not able to pay off your balance in full each month. Do NOT apply for the card if you would not normally spend $1,000 on a card in a three-month period (you don’t want to be in a situation where you are buying things you weren’t planning to buy to earn the points—that’s not saving you money; that’s putting you in a hole).