Can You Add a Companion on Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

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Million Mile Secrets’ reader Taylor commented:

If your Companion Pass expires the end of this year, can you get around this by booking for next year right now with the Companion Pass?

Because Southwest recently opened their schedule to include flights up until January 4, 2015, Taylor wants to know if he can use his Companion Pass for travel after it expires on December 31, 2014.

Can You Add A Companion On Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

Can You Make Companion Pass Bookings Beyond Its Expiration Date?

When Does a Companion Pass Expire?

Link:   8 Easy Steps to the Southwest Companion Pass

Once you’ve earned the Southwest Companion Pass (by earning 110,000 Southwest points within a calendar year), the pass is valid until the end of the following calendar year.

So if you earned your Companion Pass today, it would be valid until December 31, 2015.  I’ve written about how to time your credit card sign-ups so that you earn the Companion Pass as close to the beginning of the year as possible.  That way, you can use it for almost 2 full years.

But even if you get the Companion Pass now, you have ~1.5 years of flying, which is still quite good!

You can earn the Companion Pass by:

Can You Add A Companion On Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

Once Earned, the Companion Pass Is Valid Until the End of the Following Year…but No Longer!

Your Companion Pass MUST Be Valid on Your Dates of Travel!

Southwest will NOT allow you to make a Companion Pass booking after it expires.  According to the terms and conditions of their frequent flyer program:

The Member will maintain Companion Pass status for the remainder of the calendar year in which the status was earned and for the entire calendar year immediately following.

And if you try to make a Companion Pass booking while the pass is still valid, but for travel after the expiration date, Southwest will NOT let you make the booking!

The Companion Pass beginning validity date and/or expiration date cannot be adjusted.

So Taylor can only use the Companion Pass until the last day of this year.  But he could try to re-qualify for the Companion Pass in 2015 by signing-up for 2 more Chase Southwest cards!  Or have his partner apply for the cars.

Testing It Out

I ran an experiment to see if Southwest would enforce this rule.  So I made a (refundable) points booking to Dallas on January 2, 2015.  My Companion Pass expires on December 31, 2014.  But there was still an option to add a companion!

Can You Add A Companion On Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

Southwest Still Gave Me the Option to Add a Companion on a Booking After My Companion Pass Expires!

But when I got to the final screen, I got an error message.  Southwest would NOT let me add a companion after the pass expiration date!

Can You Add A Companion On Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

Denied! Southwest Knew My Companion Pass Expires on December 31, 2014

I made another companion booking for before December 31, 2014 and I could add a companion.  So the “error” message above was likely intentional!

Bottom Line

If your Southwest Companion Pass expires at the end of this year, you can NOT use it for travel after the expiration date.  Even if you book the travel now!

Taylor’s best bet is to re-qualify for the Companion Pass as early as possible in 2015, and to use it for travel through 2015 and 2016.

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12 responses to “Can You Add a Companion on Southwest After Your Pass Expires?

  1. I tried “requalifying” for the companion pass but ultimately got a letter in the mail saying I would not get the sign up bonus for one of my SWA RR CCs since I’ve had that personal plus card in the past, making it unchurnable for me 🙁

  2. Does your companion also enjoy TSA PreCheck assuming you already do ?

  3. Actually, if you have a CP that expires at the end of 2015, you have two choices (with different trade-offs) to renew/extend it:

    1. Re-qualify during 2015; you get one additional year (to the end of 2016), with no break in “coverage”.
    2. Re-qualify during 2016; you get up to two additional years (to the end of 2017). The downside is that, no matter how early in 2016 you re-qualify, you won’t be able to book companion travel from 1-Jan-2016 until you re-qualify.

    (I faced this situation at the end of 2013. By carefully timing a 50,000 point credit card bonus, along with high end-of-year business expenses, I was able to start my new CP on 12-Jan-14, good through the end of 2015.)

    • @David G – There are 4 separate cards, so you could try for a different version. Or have your partner apply for the cards.

      @Miami Dude – You can add their Known Traveler Number to the profile.

      @UAPhil – I prefer #2 since you get it for extra time.

  4. So if my husband currently has the premier card can he sign up for the plus version and still get the bonus?… and can he re qualify for the CP while still having a current active CP that ends Dec 2015. Example: Can he qualify for a new CP in November 2014 while still having a current CP that ends December 2014?

  5. I encountered the same problem last year when booking a flight for December 27, 2013 and returning January 1, 2014. My companion pass expired December 31, 2013, so I booked a one way flight on December 27, 2013 and added my companion, and then I had to pay/use points for both of us for the return flight on January 1, 2014. So at least we were able to use the companion pass one last time before it expired! (The good news is that I talked my husband into applying for the Southwest credit cards this year and he already earned the companion pass for this year and next!)

  6. UGH! Issue! I have companion pass. I’ve used it several times in the past, with no problems. But I must’ve bought the last seat on a Caribbean flight. When I go to book it, I just keep getting an error! What can I do? I already booked a hotel and I can’t come back any later, due to my work schedule.

  7. My companion would like to join me for my trip to OKC from SFO. But he only wants to go to Vegas which is the layover to OKC and skip the rest. Will that be a problem? Will I lose my companion pass if he does that?

  8. I tried booking my companion for a flight for February 2015 with my companion pass that expires Dec 2014. I got the same error message as above but I then scrolled to the bottom of the page and clicked “purchase” again and it went through! I got a confirmation number for the flight even though my pass is expired. Should I be worried that it won’t work?

  9. My companion pass expires on Dec 31 2015. I booked my flight for Jan 2016 and was successfully able to add companion even though it is after the expiration of the companion pass. My fear is, can southwest cancel my companion pass booking if they find out that i was able to book the companion booking after it is expired?