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What is Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass is essentially a voucher that allows for unlimited two-for-one travel on Southwest Airlines' paid and award tickets.
Enjoying a Companion Pass is simple, but earning it might be a challenge. Here's everything you need to know, including how to earn points for your Southwest's credit cards to help fast-track you to such a pass.
With Southwest Companion Pass, eligible Rapid Rewards members can bring a travel companion on Southwest flights–an unlimited number of times–during their membership year, paying just the taxes and fees (which start at $5.60 one-way).
Whether you reserve a ticket with cash or with points makes no difference. This effectively doubles the value of Southwest Airlines travel, which is a fantastic opportunity.
What key perks do you get?
There are many reasons to be happy about Southwest's current offers.
First, Southwest's Partner Ticket entitles pass members to free flights with a companion (besides mandatory taxes). A Companion Pass usually requires 100 qualifying one-way flight segments or 125,000 qualifying points. This new offer provides a nearly too-good-to-be-true fast track.
Second, when redeemed for the airline's lowest "Wanna Get Away" prices, each Southwest Rapid Rewards point is worth between 1.3 and 1.45 cents. That means that a 30,000 Rapid Rewards point bonus is worth around $390–$435 on Southwest flights. Furthermore, award tickets are also compatible with the Companion Pass, so you could buy one seat using points and then use your pass for the other, thereby doubling the value of the bonus to $780–$870.
Third, after its launch in late 2021, Southwest's branded cards now have terrific additional features. Depending on the card, these advantages may include extra points for qualified spending in specific categories such as anniversary bonuses, tickets for complimentary EarlyBird Check-In on Southwest flights (subject to availability), and discounts on in-flight refreshments. (NOTE: Limited drink service, which has been in effect since March 2020, is finally over; as of February 16, 2022, Southwest's full beverage selection, including alcohol for purChase, returns.)
Finally, while not a cardholder benefit, keep in mind that Southwest does not and has never charged baggage fees for the first two checked bags weighing less than 50 pounds apiece.
How can you earn it using credit cards?
The best way to quickly increase your earnings toward the Companion Pass is through credit card welcome bonuses and spending.
Rates for credit card welcome bonuses vary depending on whether or not the offer is time-limited. Earning the Companion Pass will be the result of accumulating qualifying points from a variety of sources, including flying, credit cards, and shopping/dining partners, for the majority of travelers. Some passengers, however, may be able to obtain the Companion Pass solely through credit card bonuses and spending.
There are five Southwest credit cards that can help you get the Companion Pass faster:
While the list of qualified activities is extensive, many activities will not count toward the Companion Pass. The following activities do not count for getting the Companion Pass:
- Tier bonus points
- PurChased points
- Flight bonus points
- Transferred/gifted points
- Points earned from program enrollment
- PurChased promotional tier qualifying points
- Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Promotion bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards)
- Partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards)
- Partner program transfers—including points converted from the hotel and car loyalty programs, Valued Opinions, e-Rewards, and Diners Club)
Although it isn't clearly stated on this list, flights booked with Rapid Rewards points will not help you earn the Companion Pass. Only revenue Southwest flights earn Companion Pass points and count toward the 100-flight threshold.
How can someone earn it normally?
Getting 125,000 points may appear to be a daunting number. But when all of these earning options are considered, it’s actually possible to earn the Companion Pass normally. Some methods include:
Referral bonuses are an excellent method to quickly rack up points toward the Companion Pass. Chase will give you 20,000 points for each friend who is approved for a Southwest credit card, up to a maximum of 100,000 points each year.
Even better, Chase just updated its Southwest refer-a-friend offer so that you may get a bonus on any card that your friend applies for, including business cards, even if you don't already have that card. Log in to the Chase website to obtain your Refer-a-Friend link, which you can then share with friends, family, and, of course, social media.
Look for special deals
If you keep an eye on the Rapid Rewards program, you can spot some fantastic deals that will allow you to acquire a large influx of points or perhaps get the pass with a much lower threshold. For example, Southwest occasionally gives bonus points on flight purchases. The credit cards have also included the pass itself as part of the intro bonus. However, these deals are often limited in duration.
Take advantage of all your point-earning opportunities
Stick to traveling with Southwest Airlines (even for business trips) and make every credit card transaction, car rental, hotel stay, and online shopping experience count toward earning the Companion Pass.
How long does Southwest Companion Pass last?
Southwest Companion Pass often expires at the end of the year following the year in which you earned them. In other words, if you earned it on June 1, 2022, it is good until December 31, 2023. However, if you receive a Companion Pass as part of a promotion, the expiration policy may change.
How many times can you change companions in a year?
You can only change your companion three times each calendar year. So, if you rarely travel with the same person, you may not be able to save any money. Also, if you wish to replace your companion, you must cancel any reservations you have with that individual.
It's also worth noting that if you have A-List or A-List Preferred status, the perks of that position do not transfer to your partner. As a result, you may have to board separately.
Finally, you cannot add your companion to your reservation while purchasing your ticket. Instead, you’ll have to reserve your ticket first, then add your companion to the reservation.