Never Lose Your Hard-Earned Points Again!

How to Prevent Your Frequent Flier Miles from Expiring (Without Setting Foot on a Plane)

[Post updated on August 29, 2019 to reflect a change in the United Mileage Plus policy–United Mileage Plus miles will no longer expire!]

One common complaint about frequent flier miles is that, if you do not fly enough, they can expire before you have the opportunity to redeem them. It is indeed frustrating to diligently credit flights to your account only to find that, after a certain period of inactivity, those miles have disappeared.

Here are easy ways to not only prevent miles from expiring, but also to earn a few extra in the process. If you protect your points, soon you could be sitting pretty here!

Maui beach seen from water
A Maui cove is a great spot for some snorkeling. What’s your dream destination?
Continue reading “Never Lose Your Hard-Earned Points Again!”

Ready to Travel for Free? Start Here!

The Trip Takes Us gang has enjoyed lots of free travel as a result of having a healthy balance of frequent flier miles and hotel and credit card points. Today we are starting a series of posts for beginners to de-mystify the process and help YOU get on your way to earning free travel.

Flying 2
Let’s get you up in the air!

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How YOU can earn the Southwest Companion Pass

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:

Southwest Rapid Rewards dashboard showing that we have earned the Companion Pass

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Free Travel with Southwest Companion Pass!

Our family of five posing among the rock formations inside the Stonehenge circle
England: One of many destinations to which we have flown for free.

My name is Kathy, and I have a problem. I am a frequent flier mile and hotel reward points junkie. In just two short years this newfound obsession has enabled my Arlington, Virginia-based family to enjoy some great FREE travel: Our crew of five flew round trip to London during the peak summer travel season for FREE. My sweetheart was able to accompany me on a work trip to Chile and Argentina last spring for FREE. We are flying roundtrip to Colorado for a winter ski vacation this December for FREE. And when I had a health issue, I flew in a friend to help care for me, with just one day’s notice, for FREE. Are you noticing a theme? Who doesn’t want to fly for free?

Southwest Companion Pass

I’m super excited, because a great perk guaranteeing much more free travel landed in my inbox recently–the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass allows me to designate an individual to fly for free with me on any Southwest flights for the rest of this year (the year in which I earned it) and all of next year! What’s more, my Companion will fly for free even when I redeem Southwest Rapid Rewards points for my own ticket (i.e. we both fly free).

Southwest Rapid Rewards dashboard showing we have the appropriate number of points or flight segments to earn the Companion Pass

Sounds great, right? So, how can YOU earn free travel with the Southwest Companion Pass?

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Is the Southwest Companion Pass right for you?

Before we get into the nitty gritty, it’s probably best to ask yourself IF this is really the right perk for you to pursue, as it does take some effort to earn. If your not going to be able to maximize travel on Southwest, then you might be better served by accumulating points elsewhere.

In my case, I live in close proximity to three airports all served by Southwest; Southwest flight prices from those airports tend to be quite reasonable and on par with other airlines; and Southwest serves several destinations I frequent (the airport closest to my parents’ house, the airport closest to where my parents spend the winter, airports nearest to several close friends, our spring break destination, and some interesting international options). So, for me, planning to shift a lot of our travel to Southwest for the time we have the pass makes sense. Look at your own situation and try to determine how much you would actually be able to use the pass. If the answer is “not much” then there are many other great travel rewards you can pursue instead.

Southwest route map showing all Southwest destinations in the U.S., Caribbean, and Central America

So, go ahead and assess your own situation and calculate where and when you would use the pass (check out the Southwest route map above and start dreaming!), and how much value it would have for you (what would those flights cost if you were paying out of pocket?). In our next post, we will get into the details on how you can earn your own pass. Stay tuned!

Related articles:

Nuts and Bolts: How YOU can earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Information on using shopping portals to earn points

Never Lose Your Hard-Earned Points Again

Step 2 in Earning Frequent Flier Miles without Flying: Dining Program

Happy Sweetheart & Free Travel