Can You Use Your Southwest Companion Pass When You Don’t Book Your Own Flight?

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Million Mile Secrets Reader, @Luhlnessities, tweeted:

Did Southwest change their Companion Pass rules?  It won’t let me add my companion for flights booked with points from another account.

Great question, @Luhlnessities!

Can You Use Your Southwest Companion Pass When You Don't Book Your Own Flight

With the Southwest Companion Pass Your Partner Flies With You for Nearly Free to Places Like New York City. But on Which Types of Flights Can You Add a Companion?

I did some digging and I’ll share what I found out!

You Don’t Have to Book Your Flight With Your Own Points or Cash to Use the Companion Pass!

Southwest’s current program terms and conditions suggest the Companion Pass holder must be the one to book the flights with either cash or points:

“The Member must first book and purchase his / her flight in cash or points through Southwest Airlines.”

However, I followed-up with a Southwest reservations agent and a customer service representative, and they both confirmed you CAN use your Companion Pass even when another party uses points or pays cash for your flight.

Can You Use Your Southwest Companion Pass When You Don't Book Your Own Flight

Even If Someone Else Pays for Your Flight Using Cash or Points, You Can Still Add Your Companion When You Have the Southwest Companion Pass

They also confirmed there have been no changes to the program rules, and this has always been the case.

As long as you have a Southwest ticket in your name with your frequent flyer number attached, you can add your companion to the flight.  It doesn’t matter who buys or uses points for that ticket.

The representatives suggested you call the Southwest customer service line at 800-445-5764 to determine what issues may be affecting your account.

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   How to Fly (Almost) Free for Two Years on Southwest!

Link:   8 Easy Steps to Big Travel With the Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is my favorite deal in travel!  With the Companion Pass, a friend or family member can fly with you for almost free (just the cost of taxes and fees) on both paid and award tickets for up to ~2 years!

To earn a Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points or fly 100 one-way flights in a calendar year.  And once you qualify for the pass, it’s valid until the end of the following year!

A Great Time to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Link:   How to Fill Out a Chase Business Credit Card Application

Although 110,000 Southwest points may seem like a lot, you can quickly earn most of the points required for the Companion Pass from the sign-up bonuses on Chase Southwest cards.  And there are easy ways to earn the remaining points you need!

You’ll earn 50,000 Southwest points on the Chase Southwest Premier (Personal), Chase Southwest Premier (Small Business), and Chase Southwest Plus cards when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

And sign-up bonus points DO count towards the Companion Pass.   Just don’t make these 3 mistakes when you’re trying to earn it!

Chase has been tightening its application rules.  So if you’ve opened more than ~5 credit cards within the past 24 months from ANY bank (except certain business cards), it’s likely you won’t be approved for most Chase cards.

Bottom Line

If you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can add a companion to your ticket – even if you didn’t spend your own points or money to buy it.

As long as your name and Southwest frequent flyer number are attached to the ticket, you can add your companion.  And if you have issues adding your companion online, call Southwest at 800-445-5764 for help.

Remember, it’s a terrific time to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, because all 3 Chase Southwest cards have 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonuses after you meet the minimum spending requirement.  By applying for 2 cards, you’ll be most of the way to the 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year required to qualify for the pass.

Thanks for your question, @Luhlnessities!

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10 responses to “Can You Use Your Southwest Companion Pass When You Don’t Book Your Own Flight?

  1. I’ve been having problems making a companion booking since Southwest’s computer glitch happened. Whenever I click on the “Add Companion” button on the website it takes me to a page that says “Undefined error”. I’ve tried multiple computers and multiple browsers with no luck either. I’ve tried calling them about this and haven’t been able to get in touch with an agent because the hold times are too long. This is frustrating and completely unacceptable.

  2. We do this all time. We have a family full of miles and points people and we freely borrow points
    From each other as needed. Since my parents and my brother and his wife all have a companion pass we Have all done this when booking with. Someone else’s points and then just called to add our companion!

  3. Like Barry, for the last few days I’ve also not been able to add a companion to my Southwest reservations. The error message is “undefined.” I hope they can get the IT issue cleared up soon.

    I wish it were possible to add a companion when making the original reservation, but I haven’t found a way to do that…is there a trick that will work?

  4. If i have companion pass and have added my daughter as my companion, can she only travel with me? Meaning i have to travel for her to fly FREE as my companion pass member right?

    Any options for her to fly free using my companion pass, if i am not traveling on that trip with her?

  5. There are having some issues here with their glitch I believe. I called the line direct and used the option for them to call me back( they keep your spot in the queue) and they added my companion with no issue.

  6. We currently have a companion pass through my husband accounts. I currently have a Sw visa plus card which is up for renewal in August. I’m going to cancel it but should I wait in August to cancel or go ahead and cancel now. I am going to try to get companion pass again when my husband expires. I believe I have to wait two years to qualify for 50,000 points. Any suggestions.

  7. Heather Heben


    Currently, I have the Southwest Companion pass and I LOVE IT. It expires in December 2016 so I was going to help my boyfriend apply for the cards, get the points, and ultimately try to get the companion pass again under his name in Spring 2017. HOWEVER, you mentioned in this post that you can transfer Marriott points to Southwest for no fee and use them to get the companion pass. If I already have 110,000 points w/ Marriott, could I save them until January 2017 and then just do a simple transfer to Southwest and secure the companion pass as of January 1, 2017?

    Thank you so much for your advice and help! I love this website!

  8. @heather: Nope you have to book a Marriott travel package with a week hotel and miles. the cheapest is 280,000 Marriott points to get a cat 1-5 hotel and 120,000 southwest points.
    @shane you have to fly in order for your companion to fly free, otherwise just buy her a ticket.
    @diane doesn’t matter when you cancel, just make note of when you last received the bonus from the card and wait until after then to apply again….until then you can use any points you have to buy a ticket for him, and then you will fly free as his companion.
    @everyone else…wait until system gets back to normal, if your flight is in the near future call and have them add companion manually.

  9. sorry diane……I meant to say 2 years after your bonus posted is the time to apply again with current T&C’s when you cancel makes no difference.

  10. and heather I just looked and the lowest package is 270,000 for cat1-5 and 120k southwest…my wife has 280k and I am thinking about getting her the package so we will have companion pass for year and a half…it would make more sense to do this in January to get a full 2 years, but we could use a couple of flights this year. I also worry that the terms could change, so this would guarantee CP through 2017.