To Get the Southwest Companion Pass, It’s When You Earn the Points, NOT When You Spend the Money!

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Million Mile Secrets reader Carter emailed:

Interesting article about the Southwest Companion Pass: http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/02/unhappy-rapid-rewards-member-sues-southwest-airlines-over-the-companion-pass-he-didnt-get.html/

An angry traveler by the name of Cory Couch is suing Southwest Airlines because he didn’t get the Southwest Companion Pass despite earning more than the required 110,000 Southwest points.

To Get The Southwest Companion Pass Its When You Earn The Points NOT When You Spend The Money

Points Earned After Your Statement Closes Do NOT Post Until the Following Month

But 10,800 of those points were earned after his December 2014 statement closed.  So they did NOT count towards his 2014 Companion Pass earnings.

Here’s how you can prevent this from happening to you.

Earn 110,000 Companion Pass Points Between January & December

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Premier (Personal) Card 

Link:   Southwest Premier (Business) Card

Cory can get the Southwest Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.

Many folks quickly earn the Companion Pass by applying for 2 cards when they have a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus, meeting the minimum spending requirement, and then earning an additional 6,000 Southwest points.

Note:   All 3 Southwest cards currently have a 25,000 point sign-up bonus.  But the 50,000 point bonus usually returns every few months.

But Cory didn’t do that.  Instead he earned 100,000 points by December and then spent ~$11,000 after his December 2014 statement closed on the 8th of the month.  For that reason, he didn’t earn points on that spending until his January 2015 statement.

So the 11,000 Southwest points did NOT count towards his 2014 Companion Pass earnings, and counted towards his 2015 Companion Pass earnings.

To Get The Southwest Companion Pass Its When You Earn The Points NOT When You Spend The Money

Southwest Points Earned After Your December 2014 Statement Closed Count Towards 2015 Southwest Companion Pass Status

So Cory did not earn the Southwest Companion Pass and filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines!

If Southwest ever does modify the Companion Pass, it will be because of cases like this.  And not because of blogs that help you get the most out of it!

Here’s how to avoid Cory’s mistake.

Southwest Companion Pass Timing

Link:   50,000 Sign-up Bonus Counts

Link:   When to Finish Minimum Spending

Link:   3 Mistakes That Won’t Get You a Companion Pass

Link:   Timing Your Spending

Cory should have been careful with the timing of when his Southwest points posted.  If he had earned his points before his December 2014 statement closed, they would have counted towards his 2014 Southwest Companion Pass.

But he waited until after his December 2014 statement closed, so they posted in 2015.

Remember, you must earn the POINTS in the calendar year, NOT spend the money in the calendar year!

This is very clearly stated in the Southwest Companion Pass FAQ:

A Member who earns 110,000 Qualifying Points or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for Companion Pass status, which entitles a designated traveling Companion to fly with the Member for one year on flights booked through Southwest Airlines.

So Cory’s lawsuit is without merit!

To Get The Southwest Companion Pass Its When You Earn The Points NOT When You Spend The Money

Time the Posting of Your Southwest Companion Points so You Can Relax on a Beach in Cancun, 1 of Southwest’s International Destinations

And you should make sure you don’t make these 3 mistakes.

Bottom Line

Cory Couch earned 110,800 Southwest points, but he did NOT get a Southwest Companion Pass.

That’s because Cory didn’t follow my advice about when to complete spending so the points will all count towards the 2014 Southwest Companion Pass.  So 11,000 of his Southwest points posted in January 2015 and did NOT count towards his 2014 Companion Pass earnings.  Now Cory is suing Southwest Airlines.

What do you think of the lawsuit?

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12 responses to “To Get the Southwest Companion Pass, It’s When You Earn the Points, NOT When You Spend the Money!

  1. I think southwest should have given him the companion pass. He seems like he is a much better customer than the point gamer crowd (of which I am a proud member) that follows the rules to the T. Southwest is cutting its nose to spite its face, imo.

  2. This is not Nam…there are rules.

  3. How is this Southwest’s fault. He spent money on his Chase Visa credit card, and, per the terms that are very clear, the points post after the statement period closes. So, points that Chase is giving him for spending on his Visa, were transferred to and posted to his Rapid Reward account as the should have, and somehow this is Southwest’s fault that he can’t read or follow program rules? I fail to see how this case has any merit. Southwest should counter sue for defamation and legal fees.

  4. We signed up for the card in January 2015, they were still offering 50K points if you spent $’s. When statement came out they only issued us 25k. We called and after speaking with an escalation agent we were given the other 25K on next statement. We are now waiting for another 50k promotion by the end of the year.

  5. Unfortunate people would complain about something like this since it is clearly his fault. No need to bring attention to something that those of us who do our homework beforehand can take advantage of!!!

  6. Another nuance is that transfers count as of the date the transfer was requested, not the date it posts. For example, I initiated a transfer of Choice Privileges points to RR points on December 30, 2013, expecting them to post and count toward CP in early 2014. But, when they posted, they were backdated to December 2013, and did not count toward 2014 CP. Looks like I passed up a great chance for free publicity by not suing WN :-).

  7. It’s people like Cory who ruin it for the rest of us. A lawsuit? Because you can’t follow directions? Ridiculous.
    On the bright side, I just got my companion pass valid through Dec 2016! Because, I CAN follow directions!
    I have to drive over an hour to get to an airport served by SW, but it’s worth it!

  8. I am in the process of (hopefully) getting the companion pass. I’d like to offer a tip so that people won’t have the same expectations I did.

    I transferred 140K Ritz points to Southwest. It completed very quickly on Ritz’ end but Southwest has dragged its heels. As of my last email, I was told that the transfer would take 6 to 8 weeks. Having transferred points and miles for years with various programs, this seemed very long and was entirely unexpected. When timing can be very important for people, they should take this into account. Will the points post for February when I requested the transfer or for April when they finally come through? Who knows? For me, it doesn’t matter that greatly because I’ll still have well over a year and half to use my companion pass but it could ruin someone else’s plans completely.

    Happy Cheap Travels!

  9. I agree with Laura that people like him ruin it for others who take the time to read and follow directions. This game is NOT for everyone, only those who are willing to put some time and effort into it. I’ve had to explain the companion pass numerous times to most of my friends. It really gets old!

  10. I don’t think that you’re right about this. It’s true that one definition of “earn” might fit what you and Southwest are claiming, but see this other definition of the word “earn”:

    “to come to be duly worthy of or entitled or suited to ”

    There is absolutely no indication in the SW terms that you “earn” the points when they post. Clearly you earn them when you spend the money. Further, it’s tacky of you to leave out the fact that he called Southwest and inquired as to whether points he earned by spending in December after the close of his billing cycle would count. The rep told him they would. As for the other comments, you all have it completely backwards. He clearly followed the direction of the SW rep and then SW acts like they aren’t responsible for what they tell people. I admit that there is some ambiguity in Southwest’s terms, but this person made a very clear good faith effort to resolve this ambiguity. I think by leaving this out you are coming very close to slandering him. It’s hard to know, but my guess is that this guy spent real money in a good faith effort — there’s a big difference between this and, say, putting $10K on two Target Red Cards, in which case I could understand your obnoxious lack of sympathy. Anyway, here’s a link to the actual complaint :
    https://drive.google.com/a/lefriedman.org/file/d/0BxEl1b4KjdiId0lOWXFob2FTZUU/view

  11. Does anybody know if the promotional points earned upon signing up for certain Southwest cards still can still count towards the companion pass. I noticed these articles are slightly dated, so was wondering if I could still try to do this. Any advice on what cards to sign up for would be great!

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