How To Earn The Southwest Companion Pass In 2019 0

Southwest Airlines

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most highly touted, heavily valued frequent-flyer perks out there.

Southwest Airlines airplane
Photo courtesy Southwest Airlines

What Do You Get?

The Southwest Companion Pass gives you the opportunity to bring a second passenger with you on any Southwest flight. All you have to pay is taxes and fees. This is essentially like unlimited award flights for another passenger of your choosing, as the Companion Pass is valid for both paid and award flights that you may take. So, whether you pay for a flight or redeem one, that other person can always come along with.

Things to Note

The Companion Pass is valid for the year in which you earn it and the entire following year. Many people capitalize on this fact by earning the pass at the early start of one year, so that they have the pass for almost two years. (So, for example, if you earned the pass in December 2018, you would have it for only 13 months; however, if you earn the pass in January 2019, you have the pass for 23 months.)

Earning the Companion Pass

Now, this is the (somewhat) difficult part. You have to earn 110,000 qualifying points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to earn the pass. Note that not all earned points count as qualifying points. Qualifying points are those earned from revenue flights, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit card purcahses and Rapid Reward partner base points.

So what points do NOT count as qualifying points?

Any transfer points from Ultimate Rewards or hotel programs do not qualify; the same goes for purchased points and bonus points.

What’s the quickest way, then, for you to go about earning this coveted, highly valuable perk?

Credit Cards

Credit card points do qualify toward earning your Companion Pass, as do points earned from signing up for these credit cards. There are several different credit cards you can choose from.

  • The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card comes with a possible 40,000-point bonus (Benefits include 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases; 7,500 anniversary points each year.)
  • The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card comes with a possible 40,000-point bonus as well (Benefits include 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.)
  • The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card comes with a possible 60,000-point bonus (Benefits include 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases; and points earned on employee spending.)
  • The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with a possible 40,000-point bonus (Benefits include 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases; 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases; 3,000 anniversary points each year.)

Signing up for any of these cards will put you well on your way to earning a Companion Pass.

Flights

Of course, you can earn a Companion Pass just by flying, though that might be both slow and pricey. You’ll have to spend somewhere between $9,000 and $18,500 on flights of various value to earn a pass just by flying alone.

Credit Cards + Flights

It’s most likely that you earn your Companion Pass through a combination of both credit card offers and flights. For example, if you earn a credit card sign-up bonus of 60,000 points, and then earn 47,000 points by flying (and buying your airfare on the same card), you have enough to get your Companion Pass. Just make sure that all of the points earned post to your Rapid Rewards account in the same year (or else they won’t all count toward your Companion Pass eligibility).

So, What Do We Know?

The Southwest Companion Pass is an amazing travel perk, and it’s not as difficult to obtain as you might think. If you play your cards correctly, you could end up with just about two years of free companion travel.

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