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Lyn blogs about Southwest at Go To Travel Gal and offers a free guide on how to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass. I’ve asked her to answer one of our readers’ questions about the Southwest Companion Pass, which Emily and I believe is the best deal in travel.
Million Mile Secrets’ reader Judith, asks:
“So here’s a less than ordinary question I have. What do you suggest to those who finally got the Southwest Companion Pass, but now are Companion-less and don’t have friends who can take time off or family nearby?”
Lyn: Thanks for your question, Judith!
That would definitely be a bummer to earn the Southwest Companion Pass only to find you don’t have a great selection of folks to travel with you.
But never fear. Here at Million Mile Secrets, we’ve brainstormed some creative ways to have some fun. And perhaps help someone else along the way!
7 Ways to Use a Companion Pass Without a Companion
Southwest allows you to change companions up to 3 times in a calendar year AFTER you designated your first companion. So really, you could have 4 Companions over one year. That gives you flexibility to share it with multiple people! To change your companion, call Southwest at 800-248-4377.
Keep in mind, you can NOT make reservations with a NEW companion until all travel with the OLD companion has been completed. Typically, this works fine. Because as long as your reservation is booked, you can add your companion to the reservation at any time.
1. Go on an Awesome Date!
If you’ve started dating someone, you could surprise them with a special weekend trip. And who knows, maybe they’ll stick around as your companion!
Discover a new city a short flight away and get to know someone new!
2. Take Your Little Brother or Little Sister on a Trip
Sign-up for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and be a role model for a child. With the approval of the program, and, of course, the child’s parents, you could give a child the gift of travel and begin to open up the world to them.
I personally think travel is one of the best gifts you can give a child! You could even spend some of the Southwest points you earned that qualified for the Companion Pass to bring along 1 (or both!) of their parents and siblings, too.
3. Take a Child Who Is Terminally Ill to Disney World
You could take a terminally ill child and their parent on a dream trip.
It could be an experience that changes YOUR life, as well as theirs.
4. Bring a Friend or Family Member to You
Don’t have any family nearby? Why not fly to them using your Southwest points? And then fly them BACK with you, or fly someplace fun together, using your Southwest Companion Pass?
It would require a couple of extra flights on your end. But it would be well worth it to share a trip with a faraway friend or family member!
5. Make a New Friend
Volunteer with local groups that need assistance and make a new friend. Offer to fly your new friend someplace fun, and ask if they could pay the cost of the hotel to make things even. Who wouldn’t want to be your new friend? 😉
6. Take Your Priest, Seminarian, or Pastor on a Trip
Catholic priests and pastors make very little and rarely get to leave their church community.
The same holds for seminarians, who are individuals studying to be priests or pastors. Why not thank your priest, pastor, or local seminarian for all they do for your faith community and give them the gift of travel? You will get to know them better. And may even deepen your own faith along the way!
Similarly, you could fly a priest or pastor from an impoverished church (that may be a sister church to your own) to your town.
For example, my church has a sister parish in Haiti. If Southwest flew to Haiti, I could fly there and bring the local priest back with me to my parish where he could spend time with our priest, share with us how our efforts are helping his community, and let us know their current needs.
7. Fly Solo
If all else fails, remember you earned 110,000 Southwest points to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass. These points go far booking flights for 1 person, especially if you travel on slower days like Tuesday or Wednesday. And only book flights during Southwest sales when points awards are at their lowest.
Traveling on your own is empowering and exciting and you can do everything you want to do! Maybe you’ll even meet someone to be your Companion on your solo travels! 🙂
Do NOT Barter or Sell Access to Your Pass
The Southwest rules & regulations state the pass is void if sold, bartered, brokered, or purchased. And it could also result in the termination of your Southwest account!
With a little creativity and an open mind, there are ways to make good of a Southwest Companion Pass even if you don’t have a companion.
The pass is good for up to 2 YEARS and a lot can happen in that time. You may have a companion before you know it!