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How to Fly the Entire Family for Nearly Free!

How to Fly the Entire Family for Nearly Free!

Million Mile SecretsHow to Fly the Entire Family for Nearly Free!Million Mile Secrets Team

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Update:   You can NO longer add a companion to a companion reservation!

Million Mile Secrets reader Samir commented:

Let me twist this a bit.  So both my wife and I secure a Companion Pass.  I add my wife and she adds our son.  Is the family free?

Your companion flies for nearly free when you have a Southwest Companion Pass.  But what if your COMPANION also has their own Companion Pass?  

Can Samir’s wife use her Companion Pass to bring their son too?  That would be crazy!  Because the 3 of them would fly for the price of ~1 ticket!

The good news is that it IS possible!  I’ll show you how.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
A Family of 3 Can Fly on Southwest for the Price of ~1 When Both Parents Have the Companion Pass. And It Might Not Stop There!

How Does This Work?

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

You’ll get a Companion Pass when you earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.

And now is a good time to think about earning the Companion Pass, because all 4 versions of the Chase Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 point sign-up bonus.  Just make sure that the points from the credit card sign-up bonus post to your account in 2015 and NOT in 2014.  That way you get the Companion Pass for almost 2 years!

Suppose Mom and Dad each have a Southwest Companion Pass.

The scenario could go like this:

  • Mom adds Dad as her designated companion
  • Dad adds Child as his designated companion

Note:  You can only change your companion THREE times after you 1st earn the Companion Pass and designate your 1st companion.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
Scenario: Mom Adds Dad as Her Companion, and Dad Adds Child as His

The terms and conditions of Southwest’s frequent flyer program say:

An individual may not travel as both a Member and a Companion on the same flight, except in Customer size instances.

A Member who is a Customer of size and earns a Companion Pass can use his/her Companion declaration for an extra seat as a seat.  To declare the extra seat as the Companion, the Member must contact Customer Relations.

This could be interpreted in a couple of ways.

Southwest might be saying that you can’t add a companion to a companion ticket, but given the context, I think this rule actually refers to getting an extra seat for yourself if you have a Companion Pass.

So you can’t reserve an empty seat next to you as your companion.  And you can’t designate a carry-on item like a cello.

Note that you can get an extra seat if you’re a “customer of size”, but the ticket must be booked through Southwest’s Customer Relations department.

How to Daisy Chain Companions Step-by-Step

Step 1:  Book an Award Ticket

Let’s start by booking an award ticket for Mom using points.  For example, a round-trip ticket between Rochester and Orlando costs 14,456 points and ~$11.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
First Book the Ticket You Want

Step 2:  Add a Companion to Award Ticket

Once her itinerary is confirmed, she’ll have the option to add a companion to her ticket.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
Click “Add a Companion” to Add Dad to the Reservation

Sometimes it can take a while (~1 hour) for a companion ticket to appear in your account.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
Mom Adds Dad as Her Companion for the Same Itinerary

After the companion ticket is processed, the reservation numbers for both tickets will appear in Mom’s account.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
There’s Now a 2nd Reservation Attached to Mom’s Ticket

Step 3:   Sign-In to Companion Account and Add 2nd Companion

Next, Dad signs-in to his Southwest account and finds his reservation.  He repeats the process to add a companion, except in this case he’s adding his child.

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
Dad Adds the Child to His Reservation Through His Southwest Account

And…SUCCESS!  Dad now has another companion reservation attached to his itinerary!

How To Fly The Entire Family For Nearly Free
Dad Can Add the Child as a Companion on His Companion Ticket!

So you CAN add a companion ticket to a companion ticket!  In this case, you’ll get 3 round-trip tickets for 14,456 points and ~$33!

Because Southwest points are worth ~1.43 cents per point, 14,456 points are worth ~$207.  So you’re getting 3 round-trip tickets from snowy Rochester to sunny Orlando for a total of ~$270 (~$207 ticket value +  ~$33 in fees).

Plus, you get up to 2 pieces of free checked luggage per person (worth up to $50 each on other airlines).  This is a fantastic deal.

I haven’t gone further than this, but if the child had a Companion Pass, presumably they could add another companion to their reservation, and so on.

What a great deal for a family or a group of friends, because you only need the points (or cash) for 1 ticket to fly all 3 folks for almost free!

Bottom Line

Three folks can fly for the price of 1 on paid and award tickets if 2 of them have the Southwest Companion Pass.

One Companion Pass holder adds the other Companion Pass holder as their companion and books a paid or award ticket.  Then the 2nd Companion Pass holder adds a 3rd person as their companion.

I tried it and can confirm it works.  This is a great deal for families or groups of friends who fly together often!

If you don’t yet have a Companion Pass, this is the easiest time to get it because all 4 versions of the Chase Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 point sign-up bonus.

Thanks for the question, Samir!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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If anyone’s wondering… I wasn’t able to add a companion to an existing companion. Oh, well. C’est la vie.

Just tried adding a companion to an existing companion (i.e., a third passenger) and I got an error message: “Oops! You cannot add a companion to this reservation.”

I’m going to try waiting an hour or so, but I’m thinking it won’t make a difference and I won’t be able to daisy-chain a third passenger.

Daraius: Considering the information that Erin C provides in her comment (above), why have you not pulled down this article? For reasons stated by other commenters, I believe you should not have posted it in the first place (and, no offense, I’m skeptical that you really believe your own tortured interpretation of the relevant Southwest rule), but now that you have Erin C’s report that what you say works actually does not, why would you waste the time — and potentially the money — of your readers?

Umm it’s pretty clear what the intent and letter of the rule is.

Just because southwests IT sucks doesn’t mean it’s kosher

Oh and I would hate to be the family that gets stuck buying last minute tickets if/when the iT gets updated to catch this and ur in Costa Rica or something (even crossUSA would be pricey)
And I could see Sw confiscating the passes and points as well.

Too risky for me

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