The Mister and I are lucky to travel a lot for work and build up status across multiple frequent flyer programs. Still, the Southwest Companion Pass remains the greatest – and most valuable – airline perk we’ve earned. The Companion Pass enables the earner to designate one “companion” that will then fly free anytime they’re booked on the same fare as the earner. And, the best part is, you can earn the Companion Pass without ever flying!
1. OPEN A SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS CREDIT CARD. You can currently earn 50,000 bonus points by opening a Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card via this link, then spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months. You’ll also earn 1 point for every $1 on the card, and 2 points for every $1 spent on Southwest flights. You’ll need to either spend or fly quite a bit to hit the 110,000 points required for the Companion Pass with just one card, though. You’re better option is (2) and (3) below.
2. OPEN TWO SOUTHWEST RAPID REWARDS CREDIT CARDS. Yes, the advice may sound similar to (1) above, however this option requires spending more across two cards – but let’s you earn that Companion Pass faster. Open the Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card via this link for 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, and the Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card for an additional 50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Combine those offers + the points you get on purchases and you’re at 104,000. Spend $6,000 more to earn the Companion Pass, or supplement with flight miles.
If you’re a small business owner, you could open the Chase Southwest Premier Business Credit Card instead of the Plus card for the same 50k point offer.
Note: An annual $99 fee + other rules apply to all Southwest credit cards. Read the sites carefully before applying.
3. TRANSFER HOTEL POINTS FROM A QUALIFYING PROGRAM.
**UPDATE: Southwest is changing it’s policies in Q1 2017 and will not longer allow hotel transfers to count. Please check their website before executing the transfer to ensure it works!**
If you’re a frequent traveler, you can also transfer hotel points into Southwest points to hit the Companion Pass quickly. Marriott Rewards has perhaps the most lucrative transfer program. Redeem 270,000+ points for a 7 night hotel stay + 120,000 Rapid Rewards points (enough for the Companion Pass) or 200,000+ points for 7 nights + 50,000 Rapid Rewards points to use in combination with a credit card option. This is a great redemption value if you have enough Marriott points, and the hotel voucher is useable for up to a year (often longer if you call Marriott to extend the expiration). Alternately, you could transfer 140,000 Marriott points for 50,000 Rapid Rewards nights, minus the hotel nights.
You can also transfer hotel points from Best Western, Carlson, Choice, Hyatt, and LaQuinta to Southwest Rapid Rewards points. All of these transfer rewards currently count for Companion Pass qualification, but do not help you achieve other status levels with Southwest – and many credit card point transfers don’t count for Companion Pass. As with any points redemption option, make sure you read the fine print before pressing “confirm”!
Where would you go with the Companion Pass?