How to earn the Southwest Companion Pass- The best deal in US travel?

Living in Atlanta, we are fortunate that Southwest has a large presence following their acquisition of Air Tran in 2011. We luv Southwest's generous baggage policy of two free checked bags, their rebooking policy (learn how to save lots by reading this article on how to book Southwest flights as one ways), and their funny flight attendants.

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However, one more reason to absolutely luv Southwest is their Companion Pass. Whenever the holder of the companion pass flies (whether using points or cash), their designated companion flies free plus the 9/11 fee of $5.60 each leg.

How to earn for the Southwest Companion Pass

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Companion Pass is the benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges (does not include taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. To qualify, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.

1. You can earn the pass by earning points from credit card sign ups

We love that they say "simply fly 100 qualifying flights". That is a LOT of flying!

There is a much simpler way of earning it, however, through earning 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year because Southwest allows points earned by credit card sign ups to count towards the companion pass. This is HUGE!

Southwest partners with Chase for their credit cards and issues 3 different cards- 1 business, and 2 personal cards. They frequently offer up to 60,000 points as a sign up bonus on these cards, and by applying for 2 cards and meeting the minimum spend in the first 3 months you can earn the majority of the points needed towards this amazing perk!

Currently (February 26, 2018) both personal cards earn 50,000 after spending $3,000 per card within the first 3 months, and the business card earns 60,000 points.

2. You can get almost 2 years out of the companion pass

The latter portion of the qualification description is big too- if you time it right and earn these points at the beginning of the year like we did, then you will earn the companion pass for the remainder of the year in which you earned it (ie. 2018) and the following full calendar year (ie. 2019).

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3. You can add your companion when you buy a ticket with cash, or redeem points.

Our friends Benjie and Anna recently applied for 2 Southwest cards, met the minimum spend, and earned the pass. They are now proud holders of the companion pass and anytime Benjie flies, Anna can be added for just a fee of $5.60. That is, if Benjie buys a ticket with cash, Anna flies for $5.60 OR if Benjie uses his recent stash of 110,000 points that he has just earned from the credit card points, Anna can fly for just $5.60.

This past weekend they visited New York for a total flight cost of $23.40 (as they used the points they earned to pay for the flight) and have plans to do a LOT of travel over the next 22 months to take full advantage of their "elite status" with Southwest!

If you would like to support the blog, contact us and request a referral link to the cards. (We would receive referral bonus points if you are approved for the card.)    

Meeting a minimum spend of $3,000 seem daunting? Post to come on best ways to earn points on your everyday expenses!