Southwest Companion Pass Ultimate Guide

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best deals in travel. It allows someone to fly with you for free! 

All you have to do is pay the taxes, which are $5.60 each way for domestic travel.

It is essentially a buy one get one free ticket you can use an unlimited amount of times in the calendar year you earn the pass, plus the following calendar year.

If you travel several times per year, it could save you thousands in travel costs.

Earning the Companion Pass

There are two ways to earn the Companion Pass

  • Earn 125,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to qualify, OR
  • Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights on Southwest.

Those numbers seem like a lot at first, but it is not as hard as it looks.

Most people earn the Companion Pass from opening-up up two Southwest credit cards.

For example, if you opened up a Southwest personal and business card each with 60,000 point sign-up bonuses, you would earn the Companion Pass when you hit the minimum spend requirement on both cards.

You can track your progress towards the Companion Pass by signing into your Rapid Rewards account. 

Southwest Companion Pass Tracker

COVID-19 Extension– If your Companion Pass expires at the end of 2020, Southwest is extending the date to June 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What Points Count Towards Companion Pass

What Points Do Not Count Towards Companion Pass

  • Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards, hotel, or rental car loyalty programs.
  • Points you bought from Southwest.
  • Points you transfer from another Rapid Rewards member.
  • Points earned from e-Rewards or Rewards for Opinions.
  • Tier bonus points (extra points from elite status).
  • Flight bonus points if there is a promotion.

Maximizing the Time of Your Companion Pass

This section is very important and many people make this simple mistake. 

To maximize the time your companion gets to fly free, you want to earn the 125,000 points early in the calendar year.

If you earn the 125,000 points in January, you get 23 months of the Pass. However, if you earn the 125,000 points in December, you only get the Pass for 13 months!

We recommend you:

  1. Open up a business and personal Southwest credit card in November, December, or January when the bonus is close to 60,000 points for each.
  2. Complete most of your spending towards the bonus before the new year.
  3. Finish the spend requirement shortly after the new year.

You want to be very careful to not complete the minimum spend requirement in December. It happens to lots of people all of the time. Be smart and track your spending.

In the end, you will get about $3,400 in free flights from signing up for two credit cards:

  • $1,725 in free flights from the 125,000 points.
  • $1,675 in free companion flights when you use your 125,000 points. (Plus, many other additional free companion flights with a cash booking).

Companion Pass Rules and Tips

There are a few rules and tips you should know about before using your Companion Pass.

You can only change your companion 3 times per calendar year, for a maximum of four companions over the year.

 

You select your first companion online, but subsequent changes need to be done over the phone by calling 1-800-435-9792. The entire process should only take 5 to 10 minutes. 

Yes. You can book your ticket with points or cash, and then pay the companion's taxes and fees.

You are allowed to add a companion to an existing reservation. As long as you are flying and the flight is not sold out, your companion can fly with you.

 

After booking your flight, visit the My Trips section of your account, then find your upcoming flight, and click "Add Companion." You will then need to pay the taxes associated with the ticket.

You will have to first cancel your companion's reservation before changing your companion.

No. You will earn your points if you booked a cash ticket, but they will not earn any points.

No. You must be traveling with the companion for that person to travel.

Yes, but your Companion's flight must also be changed to the new flight or cancel their flight.

No. Your credit cards have no impact on the Companion Pass after you earned them.

The Verdict

The Southwest Companion Pass is a great deal if you qualify. You can’t beat buy one get one free flights for up to two years.

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