Southwest Airlines flyers can enjoy over a year's worth of free companion plane tickets — here's how to qualify for a pass


southwest airlines companion pass

Traveling can be a great adventure, but it’s always better with
a friend or loved one. Having a free plane ticket for your favorite
travel buddy for up to two years could help you make even more
travel memories. Sounds too good to be true? It’s actually a
thing.

The Southwest
Companion Pass
allows you to choose one person to fly with you,
though taxes and fees are not covered, for up to two years
(provided your timing is right).

If you can qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, it’s a
worthwhile endeavor.

How the Southwest Companion Pass works

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to book a friend or
family member’s airplane ticket, on the same flight as you, without
needing to pay any cash or points for the ticket. You will be
responsible for taxes and fees, but typically these do not amount
to much.

After you earn the Companion Pass, you will be able to designate
your companion. The good news is that you can change to a different
companion up to three times per calendar year. This means that you
can bring along different friends for different trips.

Read more:
Tips for using the Southwest Companion Pass once you’ve earned
it

How to time earning the Companion Pass

Once you’ve decided that you want to earn the Companion Pass,
you need to plan out the timing just right. If you’re going through
the work of getting a pass, then you should maximize the amount of
time you have to use it. 

The pass will be good as soon as you earn it and for the rest of
the year. Additionally, it will be valid for the entire year that
follows. So if you earn it in November 2019, then you will only be
able to use it until December 2020. However, if you earned it in
January 2020 then you would be able to use it until December 2021,
which effectively doubles the amount of time you have to use the
Companion Pass.

With this in mind, the best time to start planning to get the
Companion Pass is toward the end of a calendar year. If you plan
properly, your sign-up bonuses and spending can help you hit the
required mileage for the Companion Pass early in the next year.
This can mean an active Companion Pass for almost two years.

How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass

To qualify for the pass, you need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass
qualifying points or fly 100 one-way flights per calendar year on
Southwest Airlines, which must be earned and posted to your Rapid
Rewards account.

You can earn qualifying points by:

Points you can earn on your Rapid Rewards account that
do not qualify for the Companion Pass:

  • Purchased points
  • Points transferred between Rapid Rewards members
  • Points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs
  • Points converted from e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions, and
    Diners Club
  • Points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment
  • Tier bonus points
  • Flight bonus points
  • Partner bonus points

Read more:
We compared Southwest Airlines’ 5  credit cards to help you decide
which is best for you

23675080_10156101950723949_2215068593241828212_o Earning
110,000 Southwest points with credit cards

Perhaps the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is
to earn credit card sign-up bonuses. Southwest has a handful of
credit cards, and all their sign-up bonuses count toward earning a
Companion Pass.

You can only earn a sign-up bonus for one personal Southwest
card — regardless of which one you choose. However, you can earn
the bonus for one personal card, plus one small business card,
within one year. Keep in mind that just about anyone is eligible
for a small
business credit card
— even if you’re a freelancer, work a
side gig, or occasionally sell things on eBay.

Personal Southwest credit cards

The Southwest
Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
, the
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
, and
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
all offer a sign-up
bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within
the first three months of opening your account, plus another 20,000
points after you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. You also get
2x points on purchases made with Southwest and one point on all
other purchases using these cards.

With 40,000 points (or really at least 41,000, factoring in the
$1,000 you have to spend to earn the bonus), you’ll still need
another 70,000 to earn the Companion Pass. That’s why adding a
Southwest business credit card to the mix can help. (We’re not
factoring in the additional 20,000 points you can earn with the
current sign-up bonus, because that requires spending $12,000 in
the first 12 months, and there are time constraints to keep in mind
for earning the Companion Pass.)

Click
here to learn more about the Southwest Plus card from our partner
The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card from our
partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card from our
partner The Points Guy.
Southwest Business credit cards

The
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
has a
sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first
three months. So if you earn 40,000 points from one of the personal
Southwest card bonuses and 60,000 from this card’s bonus, you’d
have at least 104,000 points toward the 110,000-point requirement
(factoring in the points you’d earn from spending on the card).

To make up the remaining points, you can refer friends to sign
up for Chase Southwest credit cards with your designated referral
code, book hotels through Southwest Hotels, or use the

Rapid Rewards shopping portal
. Don’t forget that you also can
earn 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases made with the
Rapid Rewards credit cards mentioned above.

There’s also the more
recently introduced

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
, which has a
higher annual fee of $199 but also offers a higher sign-up bonus of
80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. So
if you open this card and one of the personal Southwest credit
cards and earn the sign-up bonuses on each, you’ll have 120,000
points before you even factor in the points you’ll earn from
meeting the spending requirement — so more than enough to earn
the Companion Pass. 

If you’re able to sign up for more than one card, you’ll already
be very close to the 110,000 points needed for the Companion
Pass. 

Click
here to learn more about the Southwest Premier Business card from
our partner The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Performance Business
card from our partner The Points Guy.
Bottom
line

The Companion Pass is an incredibly lucrative benefit for those
who can qualify. It may take some extra work and some strategy in
your timing of purchases, but it could be well worth it to make
precious travel memories with friends and family. 

Learn more about the
Southwest Companion Pass rules and regulations
.

More credit
card
coverage


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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
Southwest Airlines flyers can enjoy over a year's worth of free companion plane tickets — here's how to qualify for a pass