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Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2015 and 2016

Southwest Companion Pass
Written by Charlie

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This is the time of year when people can start looking ahead to membership programs for the next year and planning strategies to allow the most value to be achieved in travel. One of the greatest avenues to achieving value in travel is the Southwest Companion Pass which allows the holder to designate one person (at a time, up to 4 a year) to travel for free with them on Southwest flights.

The best part is that the Companion pass (which requires 110,000 points to be earned) can be had with 2 credit card bonuses and $10,000 in spending. Even better is that, if planned properly, you can actually have that pass for two full years!

Get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2015 and 2016

Two Years Of Free Companion Travel

The way to get the most value from the companion pass is to have it for two years. How that works is that you have the companion pass for the year you earned it in and they next year (since that is actually when the pass is earned for anyway, the current year is just a bonus). To be able to get that pass, we will need to leverage the bonuses from two credit card applications. Fortunately, Southwest has four credit cards that can help you to earn that bonus with each of them offering 50,000 points.

Earning the Companion Pass

To obtain that companion pass, you need to earn 110,000 Rapid Reward points in one calendar year. Note: these points are not redeemed for the pass – it is simply the level you must reach to receive the pass. In other words, as long as you get 110,000 Rapid Reward points, you are able to have the companion pass and still use those 110,000 points for travel. This makes those points shoot up to a value of about $3,400 if redeemed for Wanna Get Away fares The way to get qualifying points is to either fly or earn credit card points (by card bonuses or spending).

Link: Check status of the Companion Pass

Ultimate Reward Points Count? NO

Unfortunately, points that are transferred into Southwest from Chase (they are partners) do not count for the companion pass. This means that you cannot transfer your Ultimate Reward points to Southwest (which transfers at 1:1) to get closer to the required 110,000 points for the pass. These points can be earned by Chase Southwest credit card bonuses (4 cards total available), by flying, by spending on the Chase Southwest credit card (any one of the 4), or by transferring in from a hotel program (which, almost all of the time, is not a good choice when starting from scratch).

Southwest companion pass

You can transfer UR points to Southwest but they will not count for the Companion Pass

Strategy To Earn the Pass For Two Years

To earn the companion pass for 2015 and 2016, you must observe this carefully – you must not meet the minimum spend on the cards until after January 1, 2015! That means that you can apply for the two cards you need now and start spending but do not spend $2,000 on either card until after January 1.

The reason is that the bonus points are not given until you meet the spending requirement and you need to earn all the points in one calendar year to earn the pass. So, if you spend $1,500 on each card before January 1, you will only have to spend $500 on each card on January 1 (or 2) and you will receive the 50,000 points within 1 week after the statement closes for that period (on each card). That will give you 101,000 points (assuming you spent $500 on each card after the first) and leave you 9,000 points shy of the pass. You can close that gap by spending $9,000 or shopping through Southwest’s shopping portal to earn more points via online spend.

The best strategy would be to hold off spending on either card until after January 1. You have 3 months to meet that spending amount so as long as you spend the $2,000 on each card before the end of January, you are all set. That way, you will have earned a total of 104,000 points and leaving you only 6,000 points from the pass.

Using the Companion Pass

After you have earned it, you can designate one person who will be your companion. You both have to fly the same exact itinerary but your tickets do not have to be booked at the same time! You can book your ticket now and add the companion at any point down the road – as long as there is a single seat left.

You can change up your companion 4 times throughout the year, but it can take a week or so to receive the new pass. Make sure that you leave time for that if you change a companion for an upcoming trip.

All you will need to pay is the taxes/fees for the companion. In the US, that is only $5.60 per flight segment but on the return of international routes, it can be around $50-$80 for the companion. Still cheaper than buying the ticket!

One note: the annual fee on these cards is not waived and does not count towards the minimum spending amount!

 Southwest Airline Credit Cards

Southwest Airlines Personal Premier Card – 50,000 Points after $2,000 Spend in 3 months 

Southwest cards

  • 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • $99 Annual Fee (not waived)
  • 6,000 point annual bonus
  • Can be used for travel or gift cards (50,000 points equal $500 in gift cards to a variety of merchants, including Amazon)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Application Link

Southwest Airlines Business Premier Card – 50,000 Points after $2,000 Spend in 3 months 

  • Southwest cards50,000 points after spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • $99 Annua Fee (not waived)
  • 6,000 point annual bonus
  • Can be used for travel or gift cards (50,000 points equal $500 in gift cards to a variety of merchants, including Amazon)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Application Link

Southwest Airlines Personal Plus Card – 50,000 Points after $2,000 Spend in 3 months 

  • Southwest cards50,000 points after spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • $69 Annual Fee (not waived)
  • 3,000 point annual bonus
  • Can be used for travel or gift cards (50,000 points equal $500 in gift cards to a variety of merchants, including Amazon)
  • Application Link

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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