How to Use Your Southwest Companion Pass

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In yesterday’s post I wrote about activating your Southwest Companion Pass Status, and today we’ll see how to add a companion and tips for using your Companion Pass.  Emily and I have used our companion pass for way more travel than we had originally planned!

I wrote about the Southwest Companion Pass in November and explained what a terrific deal it is because you can book a flight on Southwest using points or cash and then add your companion for free (up to $5 security fee per 1-way).

You need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points within 1 calendar year (January 1 to December 31st).  However, the 50,000 point bonus from the Chase Southwest credit cards are currently counting towards the companion pass (though this could change at any time).

Southwest Companion Pass Booking

Step 1 – View Your Existing Southwest Reservations

Log into your Southwest account using this link to view your existing reservations.  Select the trip for which you’d like to add a companion.

Step 2 – Add a Companion

Click on the “Add a Companion” link under your flight information.

Southwest Companion Pass Booking

Click “Add a Companion”

And then click “Continue

Step 3 – Confirm Details

Make sure that your companion’s name, date of birth and gender are correct and pay the security fee (up to $5 per 1-way award).

Southwest Companion Pass Booking 3-001

Confirm Companion Details

Then scroll down and complete the other information and click “Purchase

Southwest Companion Pass Booking 4

Click “Purchase”

Step 4 – Check That Companion was Added Successfully

Note that your companion won’t appear on the reservation immediately, but it will appear in up to ~1 day.  It used to take a few hours to see my companion added to the reservatoin, but now it usually takes only a few minutes). Just go to your upcoming Southwest flights, and check for your Companion Confirmation number.

Southwest Companion Pass Booking 5

Check for “Companion Confirmation Number”

You will also receive a confirmation in your email.  Check to make sure that your companion has a ticket number assigned.

Southwest Companion Pass Booking 6

Check for Companion Ticket Number

So it may be better to call Southwest to add your companion if you booked a last minute flight or are traveling in less than a few days.

Tips on Adding a Companion

1.   Can Use Points.   One of the big advantages of the Southwest Companion Pass is that you CAN book your flight with Southwest points, and then add a companion.  And of course, you can add a companion when you buy a flight using cash.

This means that each Southwest point, which is usually worth ~1.67 cents towards Wanna Get Away (the lowest) fares, is now worth double or 3.34 cents when used with your Southwest Companion pass.  So it can make sense to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest to use with your Companion pass.

2.   Any Seat for Sale.  You can add your companion to your Southwest flight, as long as Southwest is still selling a seat – ANY seat –  on your flight.

It doesn’t matter if your ticket was the cheapest “Wanna Get Away” fare and the only seats being sold on the flight (when you add your companion) are the most expensive “Business Select” seats.  You can still add your companion.

However, your companion doesn’t get the benefit of the Business Select ticket (or your Southwest elite status).

3.   Can Add Companion Later.  If you haven’t yet earned the Southwest Companion Pass, you can always book YOUR seat now to lock in a lower price using either points or cash.

And you can always add your companion once you earn the Companion Pass.

4.  Check in Separately.   Southwest assigns a different confirmation number to your companion which means that you need to check in separately for yourself and for your companion (unless you pay for EarlyBird Check-In).

You get a better boarding position (so you’re on the plane earlier) the earlier you check-in.  Online check-in starts 24 hours before your flight.

5.   Carry Your Companion Pass.  The terms say that you have to carry your Southwest companion pass with you, but we’ve never been asked to show our Companion Pass while flying.

Bottom Line

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of my favorite airline perks and I’ve been surprised at how often Emily and I have used our Southwest Companion Pass!

PS:  I’m traveling so I won’t  be able to get to the comments today.

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89 responses to “How to Use Your Southwest Companion Pass

  1. Hi, 50,000 Southwest points posted in late December, my mistake. I’ll get anther 50,000 in the next month or so. Is there anyway I can get Chase or Southwest to count both toward a Companion Pass? Thanks.

  2. Another filler post.

  3. We have not used our pass nearly as much as I’d hoped–it’s been hard to get away, and it will be August before Southwest hooks up with Air Tran with an airport an hour away instead of three. Our pass ends in December and maybe we can try for another one next January. Any tips on that?

  4. Planning on a trip to Puerto Vallarta in early August. Would I be able to use the companion pass on this trip, booking my ticket with rewards points & my husband flies as my companion, with AirTran & Southwest merging?

  5. Anyone had any luck yet using the CP pass to book on Southwest AT/WN codeshare flights that start next week? I know it’s supposed to be only “operated by WN” flights but Southwest does stranger things.

  6. Yes, I was able to book FLL-ATL on WN/AT in April using CP.

  7. @Daraius – Hopefully I can use your previous experience with companion pass bookings and changing designated companions. Currently, my fiance is designated as my companion pass holder and have already used the pass once for a flight. We have another flight coming up in the beginning of May but then I would like to switch my companion to my mom’s name to take her to San Francisco in the end of May. I have already booked the flights for the beginning and the end of May and have done a companion booking for both under my current companion’s name (my fiance). After the the flight in the beginning of May with my fiance I plan to switch the companion pass to my mom’s name, so I can use it for the flight with her to SFO three weeks later. My question is, do you know if at that point it will be possible to change the existing companion reservation from my fiance’s name to my mom’s name when I change the companion pass holder’s name? I am worried that the flight might sell out and if I cancel the companion reservation under my fiance’s name and try to re-book it under my mom’s name, the seat might not show up as available. Thanks for all your help.

  8. @tassojunior – I was just playing with the reservations for flights from ATL to SFO in May and two additional flights operated by Air Tran are showing up as available to book with the companion pass.

  9. probably don’t want to post confirmation numbers online… the internet isn’t always friendly. 🙁

  10. Hi Daraius,

    I have a question about the companion pass that I can’t find an answer to; thought I’d consult an expert.

    I’m wondering if my companion can duck out during a layover and then still make the return trip with me? I’m flying SEA to BOS via BWI; returning LGA to SEA via MKE. Girlfriend would like to spend the weekend in DC. Could she take off from BWI and then meet back up with me to fly out of New York, or would they cancel the rest of her itinerary if she misses the flight from BWI to BOS? What if I booked the two flights separately?

  11. The companion pass has been awesome. Just got back from Orlando last week. Headed to Fort Lauderdale in two weeks, why not? The companion pass is the best perk ever – and I got it on DECEMBER 31st! Whew, just barely moved those Hyatt points over. Great way to close out 2012!

  12. Darius, I followed your instructions and got two cards (one personal and one business) and then completed the spend in January and got my companion pass – good till the end of 2014! Thanks for the advice. Booked my first flight with the CP yesterday!

  13. Can vouch that you don’t need the pass to travel, just the companion has to be on ticket. Good thing since it was stolen when my wife’s purse stolen last fall.

    @rilys – you can change companion up to 3 times, but when you do it will cancel any existing reservations with orig one.

  14. Darius! Thank you for all of your posts regarding SW CP. I just booked my first trip with my companion to Tucson! So excited. Your directions and posts have been awesome and helpful.
    Thank you! Hello to Emily. Keep up the hard work. I appreciate you & all you do!

  15. My wife has a companion pass and I am her companion. She also has a free reward flight from some time ago. Can she book the free award and then have me be her companion for no charge?

  16. I have 2 Companion Passes and cant wait to travel to Puerto Rico 4 tix for the price of 2.

  17. Daraius-
    Thanks for all your help and encouragement. Got in on the CP concept days before SWA lowered signup back to 25,000 pts back in Nov.(note: now back up to 50,000) Husband had Plus personal and business. He cancelled business but the Plus personal was oldest card and he didn’t want to take the hit on credit score. Even so, he applied for the Premier personal and got it and 2 or 3 days later applied for Premier business and with a 3 minute consult with reconsideration rep was approved for that too! So he has 3 SWA CC -so it can be done. This all happened at end of Nov, beginning of Dec. Waited until end of Dec. to charge anything so points would hit in 2013 and finished spend on both cards in Feb. Two days ago received notice of COMPANION PASS!! Used your links! Hope this info will help anyone who already has a SWA card and wonders whether they can get 2 more! Thanks again.

    • @Jimmy – No, the 110K points has to be earned within 1 calendar year (Jan to December).

      @Deb – Perhaps best to wait until it is closer to next year.

      @Ailak @tassojunior – Will experiment and post back.

      @rilys – I’m not sure, but I suspect you may need to cancel and rebook with your mom. That’s because the confirmation number and e ticket number will have your earlier companion’s information and airlines don’t let you usually change names without cancelling and rebooking.

      @Peter – I answered your question in the other post.

      @Kira @Nick @Bill Smith – Safe travels!

      @Frank – She sure can.

      @stephanie – Thanks for sharing!

      @Dane – You can do that.

  18. I know you can switch your companion 3 times. However, my question is this: does anyone have experience switching your companion from one person to another person and then back to the original person? Can you switch back to a person that has already been listed as your companion once before?

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  20. I added my wife as a companion. Can my wife apply the 2 cards and reach the companion status and add my child as companion ?
    this way can they 2 fly free ?

  21. Which Chase card had the earning potential of x5 points on shipping expenses for every $1 spent? Just like the office spending x5 pts but for shipping expenses.

    Which Chase card had the x5 shipping expenses offer? Daraius or anyone who can help. I can’t find that offer anywhere anymore. I saw it last Q4 2012 somewhere. I wanted to add it in to my next churn, as I ship a ton of items regularly. I know about Ink’s office store spending x5 pts, but I remember either an Ink version or Sapphire card having a x5 shipping expenses offer (not supplies, but actual shipping costs). Is it gone? Did I imagine this? Help! 🙂 Need for next churn. Thank you in advance, Daraius and fellow blog readers! 🙂

  22. what about using the companion pass with the old rapid rewards credits? I transferred credits from Airtran and I want to book some flights but availability is not as good… would they honor the companion pass??

  23. Dear MMS,
    My kid is my companion. When booking a flight, do I need to book mine first then add him onto my reservation? or I can book for both of us at the same time? Thanks!

    • @Kyle – I don’t believe any Chase card earns 5X points for shipping, but you may be able to ship at an Office Supply store and earn 5X points. The AMEX Business Gold card offers 2X points for shipping.

      @Ivan – You can use the old credits to book a flight and then add a companion.

      @Jen – Book your flight 1st and then follow the steps in the post to add your companion!

  24. Is it possible to add yourself to your companions preexisting flight using companion pass or only possible when you book the flight first and add them?

  25. @ Bk and Daraius – Thanks for your replies. I’ll let you know what happens in May but what you are saying makes sense. Hopefully I’ll be able to rebook the seat as soon as I cancel the first reservation even if the flight is sold out.

  26. Just earned my Companion Pass today – I qualified by opening up a SW Business Card and transferring 125,000 Marriott points! (Along with a $10,000 spend.)

    Regarding the 2X Shipping for the AMEX Gold, I would think purchases made through qualify, but does anyone know for sure? I called AMEX, but she said it would depend on the Merchant Code and that she couldn’t find out what it is.

  27. Daraius, quick question to you:

    – I currently have ~103K miles, so I am 7K short of the companion pass, but this 7k have already been spent on the Chase CC and should post to Southwest within the next 15 days.

    – Can I use Southwest points right now to buy ticket for myself right now and then add companion after my points will post as you’ve suggested in the article?

    The issue that I am not clear about – if I buy ticket today then by the time my Chase CC posts points to Southwest, I will have less than 110K points. Is that an issue?
    So, can I buy today or should I wait till I get 110K points?


    • @climber – Yes, you can buy your ticket for yourself now and add your companion later on. You don’t need to have 110K in your account at ONE time to get the Companion Pass, as long as you earn 110K points in 1 calendar year.

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  29. so you can’t add yourself to companion’s flight? it has to be add companion to holder’s flight?

  30. Daraius,

    i follow you everyday. i am trying for the CP. i live at avalonbay (landlord).
    they accept visa. what are your thoughts of paying rent using the SW cc?
    it looks like there are additional fees but the miles for the CP will add up quickly.

    i read that you use williampay.
    if you like them, i will go with them.

    your thoughts on this darius. thx kindly !

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  33. My points should post to reach the Companion Pass by April 15. I will designate my 2 year old as my companion. I am purchasing flights for my family for a June trip today while the flights are on sale. The return leg is operated by AirTran. Will I be able to add her as my companion for this trip, considering that AirTran operates the return flight? I am debating cancelling my ticket to book a new one with her on the reservation (since I can’t book a 2 year old by herself) to be safe.


  34. Just received my companion pass due to your info and guidance in applying for and
    receiving 2 SW Visa credit cards(personal & biz) Thank you very much. Is there a way to change an existing res for me and my companion which was already paid for in cash?

    • @diane – It could be worth it to meet the minimum spending on a card, but not to regularly earn miles.

      @Christy – If you book the Air Tran flight directly from the Southwest website, you should be able to add your 2-year old to the flight as your companion.

      @BillB – Congrats! You can just cancel the reservation and you will get a credit which you can use towards a new flight. Southwest doesn’t charge change/cancellation fees so you will get the full value of your flight back.

  35. In Feb, 2013, I bought 4 tickets for myself and my three kids for summer travel. I should be earning the CP in a month. Once I get it, can I go back and have one of my kids fly as my companion? how do I do this? Do I add a companion first to my flight, even though it is technically the same name of another ticket holder on that reservation, and THEN cancel the paid flight or the other way around? Seems like if I cancel the paid ticket first and then add a companion, I run the risk of losing that seat. It’s almost like I just need to swap out the paid ticket for the companion ticket. Anyone have experience trying to do this? thanks!

    • @AC – I’d do a dummy search for the flight BEFORE cancelling the paid ticket. If there is fairly good availability, you could cancel the child’s ticket and immediately add him/her as a companion to your existing booking.

  36. Want to Travel

    Just booked a flight and want to get the companion ticket but the site says I don’t have any trips. How long does it take after booking to appear on the site? Thanks!

    • @Want to Travel – If it had Air Tran segments, it may not appear (scroll down and click Companion Pass to add a companion). If it is only on Southwest, you may be able to log out and log back in and see the reservation!

  37. I just cancelled my Chase Southwest Visa that I obtained in December 2012. They didn’t honor their advertisement, which was that I would get 2 roundtrip tickets if I spent $2,000 on the card in the 90 days following activation. I charged a bit over $2,000 when I activated the card, purchasing air travel for March. I paid the balance in full prior to the first due date, as I do with all my credit cards. I called Southwest each month asking where my free flight tickets would show up, and they consistently said, “Be patient, it just takes time.” Well, yesterday, over 4 months since I opened the card, I called to follow up yet again, and they stated, oh no, that wasn’t the promotion we offered at that time. The offer was for 10,000 points if you spent $500 in the first 3 months. I am shocked that Chase reneged on the deal, and plan to file a complaint with the AG’s office in the state where the credit card is domiciled (probably South Dakota). If you are someone with a high credit score who never pays interest on credit cards, beware of Chase. I feel like they reneged because they realized they were never going to get any interest from me.

    • @Disappointed – I’d write a secure message to Chase again. They are usually very good at matching the offers and I don’t believe the offer was for 10,000 points after spending $500 (that sounds like the Chase Freedom).

  38. May I use SWA points and companion pass to go to Cancun or Cabo from MSY via Airtran? How?

  39. companion pass acquired today – 50K bonus miles per each business and personal card still qualifies towards companion pass. THANK YOU CAPTAIN D!!!!

  40. I used the Premier cards to acquire the 110K miles and had the trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico booked with my companion added before I even received the Welcome to companion pass status email.

    Thank you Daraius! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

  41. Milwaukee Nick

    I now have all the Southwest Miles in my account from credit card accumulation – we spent my wife’s account down over the past year.
    My wife has the Companion Pass and I am the Companion.
    If I use my points to pay for my wife’s airline ticket, can she use her Companion Pass and list me as the Companion? My guess is “No” – simply because I can’t see “Add Companion” under my wife’s reservation. Do you understand what I’m trying to get it? Am I missing something? Thanks!

  42. Milwaukee Nick

    Weird – I was not allowed to book a CP on my Windows PC, but it allowed me to book it on my iPad. Go figure. Regardless, problem solved.

  43. My wife currently has a companion pass through 12/31/13. I’m expecting that we will hit the 110K next month which will result in companion pass for balance of 2013 and 2014. My question is can I designate a second companion through the rest of 2013? Can my wife be credited as the “earner” so I am her companion for the balance of this year?

    • @Sudden – Not sure I understand the question, but you can earn only 1 companion pass per person per calendar year. So she won’t be able to designate an additional companion if she already has designated one companion.

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  45. I have just received my SW CC with 50,000 bonus miles credited. I do not qualify for a business CC. Is there any other CC that I can apply for that will be able to transfer enough points (miles) to earn the companion pass? Thanks

    • @Karen James – You can transfer points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to Hyatt and then to Southwest. But you lose 50% of the points in the transfer, so 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points becomes 20,000 Southwest points. Other options could be to buy the points or apply for another Southwest card.

  46. This may have already been answered (@Frank asked a similarly worded question back on 02/28) but I wanted to be sure: Can a companion be added to an itinerary booked using the kind of “Standard Award” that comes from combining AirTran A+ credits and SW RR points, and which show up under “Where are my old awards?” as two separate one-way awards (and, sadly, with limited seriously limited inventory available to redeem)? I have one such award, but don’t have companion status YET, so I was curious whether it would be better to hold out on it in hopes of doubling with companion if and when I do find an award we want.

    Also, do you happen to know when WN is going to release the next batch of “award-eligible” inventory for further out in the calendar? Do they do that when they open the calendar range up in general (which I think is coming up this month).

  47. I have 2 trips that I want to use with 2 different CP. They are about 1 month apart. How do I go about doing this? If I read correctly, I would buy the 2 tickets first. Add the first CP to my the first trip reservation. AFTER the 1st trip, call up southwest and change it to my 2nd CP and add the 2nd CP to my 2nd flight. Is this the only way?

  48. If my wife and I have companion passes, can we combine them to buy just one ticket and add two companions ? For example, I buy the ticket and add my wife as companion. Now, can she go to this reservation and our kid as her companion ?

  49. Email subscriber, long time reader, first comment post. We just got our companion pass status today after getting two personal cards and buying some choice rewards points. It took about 6 days for the choice rewards conversion to come through but it did. Added companion to existing reservation and we are up and running! Thanks for the posts, we are going to visit relatives over the holidays that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford,

  50. Similar story as John (above)..Long time reader…got the companion pass today and booked a trip to NH to witness fall color extravaganza…Wouldn’t have done it,if not for the SW cards and C.Pass.
    Thanks Darius/Emily for your useful posts and inspiration.

  51. If my wife was approved for her own personal card which she just got in yesterday and I was just approved for the same card and I should get mine next week….can we combine both cards for the points required for the companion fare or does 1 person have to obtain 2 cards?

    If so, do we need to spend 6k before 12/31 to get the companion pass?

  52. Do points transferred from one person’s Southwest acct. transferred to another person’s (paying the 1% transfer fee) count toward Companion Pass?! I cannot seem to get my mind around this. I have a small amount of points (16,000) that have earned me nothing that could be transferred to my husband’s account to get us to the Companion Pass 110000 pts. Could that work? Like I said… not sure that makes sense…. but who knows?! Thanks for the help!

  53. I found the answer. Darn! Thought so…. ” Transactions are nonrefundable and nonreversible. Please allow 72 hours for points to post to your Rapid Rewards account. Purchased, gifted, and transferred points do not count toward Tier or Companion Pass status.”

  54. If I received my companion pass status this year and it’s good up to the end of next year, does that mean I get to change the companion pass names up to 3 times this year and 3 times next year?

  55. can I book southwest companion pass with southwest credit certificate? Thanks

  56. sorry , I saw the answer to my above question from above. thanks

  57. This may sound like an odd question,But I can’t find the answer anywhere…. I currently have a CP,it expires at the end of December (it’s been beyond great) I hold it, my kiddo is the companion- I won’t be using it again…now my husband has acquired a cp (this week!) and I want to put my own name as companion,do you think it’s allowed? Or do I have to wait till end of Dec. when mine is expired? ….Thanks….

  58. I received my Companion Pass a couple of weeks ago. I got a congratulatory email from SouthWest telling me to designate a companion. So I clicked the email. I plan to take 3 people this year with me to different destinations. My understanding was that I could put in 3 names in my SW account and choose the person i’m taking from that list. 1st friend sent me his info first so I entered his info first as my designated companion. I booked the flight for May to Vegas but I have not added him as my companion. Then I booked a flight to Dallas for March but i’m taking 2nd friend with me. I called SW agent and asked how I could enter my 2nd friend’s info so I can choose him for my March itinerary.

    Long story short, SW agent said I didn’t do it right. I should have entered 2nd friend as my designated companion then booked the March flight first. Then book the May flight and make the companion change to my 1st friend after I’ve used the March flight. She said that she could do the change but it will count as 1 change and I will only have 2 changes left. This really sucks. She gave me CS number to call and tell them what happened and perhaps they can do something about it. I hope they can.

  59. Hi Daraius,

    We got the companion status yesterday, thanks. Follow your instructions, I booked the companion pass smoothly. I also found out you can use points from someone else to book a flight and save our points for later.


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  63. Got my companion pass yesterday. I used the shopping portal for $X times the point and some dining point add ons. I booked my first companion yesterday. My one concern is that if I book a flight and then try to book my companion is it possible that the flight is all sold out such that my companion is out of luck. I wish you could do both at the same time. Also if that is the case is it easy to just cancel my flight and rebook without any penalty. I have not flown a ton on southwest but will be.

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  65. Hello – question. we earned our companion pass in july 2014, which means that we fly 2014 and 2015. By June 2015 we will have another 110k points on the credit card. so do I have 2015 (which I already have) and 2016 or do I get 2016 and 2017? I do not want to lapse the companion pass as we travel a lot- but once achieved I want to start using my AA card to accumulate points for travel where SW does not go.

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  67. My wife and I have the companion pass already. It’s valid through Dec 2017. We have LOTS of planned destinations and are now picking dates for those trips. Our question is: Will we be able to book a companion pass flight next November, for example, that is not scheduled to fly until January, 2018 (after the Companion Pass expires)?