On her GotoTravelGal.com blog, Lyn writes about how to fly free on Southwest, especially by using the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets 1 person fly nearly free for up to 2 years. She’s written a free downloadable guide that walks you step-by-step through how to earn the pass. Today, she’s going to answer the top 10 most asked questions about the BEST deal in travel.
Lyn: The Southwest Companion Pass essentially DOUBLES the value of your Southwest points by allowing you to bring someone along with you for just the cost of taxes and fees.
But, it can be confusing when you’re learning all the ins and outs. This results in more than a few questions. I’m here to help!
10 Southwest Companion Pass FAQs
I’ve put together the most common questions I get from my readers about the pass. I figure if they asked it, you might have the same questions, too!
1. Can You Use the Points You Earn Toward Your Pass for Free Flights Right Now?
Some people think the 110,000 points you need to earn the Southwest Companion Pass only count for the pass itself and nothing else. But these are points you can immediately use for award travel on Southwest!
So as soon as you earn them, feel free to spend them!
2. Do Transferred or Purchased Points Qualify for the Companion Pass?
Unfortunately not. No one can transfer points to help you get to the 110,000 points you need, nor can you buy them to help yourself get there.
Points that DO qualify for the Companion Pass include those earned:
- By meeting the minimum spending on a Chase Southwest credit card
- Through spending on the Chase Southwest credit cards
- By referring others to sign up for the Chase Southwest credit cards
- Anniversary points for holders of the Chase Southwest credit cards
- Through the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal (EXCEPT for anything described as “bonus” points)
- Through Rapid Rewards Dining
- Through SouthwestHotels.com
- Through Southwest partners, such as car rental agencies, utility companies, flower delivery services, and more
- On paid Southwest flights
3. Do Points Transferred From Chase Ultimate Rewards Qualify for the Companion Pass?
This is another common mistake many folks make! Points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred do NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, but may be used for award flights on Southwest.
4. How Long Do You Have to Earn All 110,000 Southwest Points?
You have ONE CALENDAR YEAR to earn all 110,000 Southwest points needed to qualify for the pass. That would be from January 1 through December 31 in any given year. After that, your balance resets to ZERO, and you have to start earning those 110,000 points all over again.
I have too many readers email me to say they missed earning their Companion Pass at the end of the year by just a few thousand points. Don’t make that mistake! Make sure all points credit to your Southwest loyalty account by December 31.
Of course, the ideal scenario is to earn your pass as early in the year as possible, because it’s good from the time you earn it until the END of the following year. So a pass earned in January is good for almost 2 full years!
5. When Will Your Credit Card Bonus Points Credit to Your Account?
If you are earning points for meeting the minimum spending on one of Chase’s Southwest credit cards, your points will credit AFTER the closing date for the month in which you completed the minimum spend.
So if you finished your minimum spend on January 5, and your credit card closing date is January 20, you can expect your points to credit a few days after January 20. Your closing date is usually listed on your monthly statement. But if you have not received one yet, you can message or call Chase to ask.
6. Can You Change Your Companion?
Yes! You can change your companion up to 3 times after you initially designate one. However, you must complete any flights with your current companion before adding a new companion to a flight.
Usually, this is not a big deal, as you can add a companion to an existing flight at any time, as long as the flight is not full.
7. Can You Add a Companion to Your Ticket If You Pay With Southwest Points?
Yes! This is a big reason to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. You pay for your ticket with points, and your companion joins you – both for only the cost of the ~$6 per way government security fee. That means both of you fly almost entirely free!
8. Can 2 People Earn Points for 1 Companion Pass?
Wouldn’t that be nice? But, the answer is no. The points each person earns must go to their individual Southwest loyalty accounts. And you cannot combine them (see Question 2) and have them qualify for the Companion Pass.
9. Does Your Companion Have to Check-In Separately?
Yes, your companion will get a separate confirmation number, which they will need to check-in separately from everyone else on your ticket.
Be sure to check-in exactly 24 hours ahead of time for the best boarding order and seat choice. Read my Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Southwest Check-In for more tips.
10. Does Your Companion Have the Same Boarding Order as You?
Ah, this would be nice, too, but not for now. Your companion gets their boarding order based on when they check-in.
Southwest ran a test in 2017 in Denver and a few other cities where companions were allowed to board with the person who booked the flight, meaning even if you purchased Early Bird, which grants you earlier check-in privileges, you could board with them. But the test is over and there has been no change in this procedure, for now at least.
Don’t worry if you have questions about earning the Southwest Companion Pass! You’ll be glad you asked when you’re flying around the US and a few international destinations almost entirely free with the companion of your choice!
What other questions do you have? I’ll do my best to help!