If you travel within the US frequently with a companion, getting the Southwest Companion Pass is a must-have. I received the pass in July 2015 and it’s valid through December 2016. I have already saved well over $2,000 and will be saving more in 2016!
WHAT IS THE SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS?
The Companion Pass allows a companion to travel with you for free for up to 2 years. Your companion doesn’t have to be related to you; it can be anyone! Regardless of how you pay for your Southwest flight, whether with cash or Southwest points, your companion flies with you for FREE (+$11.20 for fees)!
You can also change your companion up to 3 times within a calendar year. Keep in mind that if you switch back to one of your original companions, that still counts as 1 change.
HOW CAN YOU GET THE SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS?
To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. Unless you travel for business, this can be hard to achieve. BUT if you apply for 2 Southwest credit cards within a calendar year and meet their requirements for bonus points, you can easily qualify for the Companion Pass. There are 3 Southwest credit cards you can apply for: Chase Southwest Premier (Personal), Chase Southwest Premier (Business), and Chase Southwest Plus (Personal).
Every few months, Southwest offers 50,000 bonus points when you sign up for their credit card and spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening the account. This already puts you at 100,000 points if you get 2 credit cards, plus 4,000 points you already earned to meet the minimum requirements. That means you only need 6,000 more points to get the Companion Pass. There are plenty of ways to earn this without actually spending $6,000. Million Mile Secrets has a great post on how to earn those extra 6,000 points. The best way I found in getting those extra points was buying gifts and/or flowers from 1-800-Flowers when Southwest offers bonus points. For example, currently, Southwest offers 1,000 bonus points for every $30 you spend on 1-800-Flowers. I bought my mom and boyfriend gifts and flowers worth $120, which got me 4,120 points.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GET THE SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS?
You should get the pass when you know you’re going to be traveling within the US frequently in the next 2 years. You should also wait for the big 50,000 bonus points Southwest offers. If you do not see the 50,000 points being offered, I also have a few referral cards left that can get you the 50,000 points for the Chase Southwest Premier Personal card (offer expires June 2016). Just message me on Facebook and I get get you the info.
The Boarding Area blog post has a more strategic plan on how to maximize your Companion Pass, so that you’ll have the pass for nearly 2 years versus the 1.5 years I will be keeping it.
HOW SHOULD YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS?
Travel to as many U.S. destinations as possible! Get away for the weekend and take your companion with you for free! Southwest also added some international destinations as well, including Aruba, Costa Rica and Mexico. I have already taken advantage of the Companion Pass 6 times this year and plan on using it more next year, hopefully to one of the international destinations!
If you have any questions on the Southwest Companion Pass, please comment below and we'll do our best to help you out to get you saving on those travels.