8 Easy Steps to ~$3,674 of Big Travel With the Southwest Companion Pass

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Emily and I have saved a lot of money visiting friends and family across the US with our Southwest Companion Pass.

Southwest 50,000 Point Offer Ends Monday
When I Fly Southwest, Emily Flies With Me for Free (~$10 tax & fees)

In this post, we’ll see how to earn lots of Big Travel for you and your favorite person with the Southwest Companion Pass!

Link:   Southwest Credit Cards

Link:   All You Need to Know About the Companion Pass

What Is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Companion Pass allows a companion to travel with you for free for up to 2 years.

Regardless of how you pay for your Southwest flight, whether with cash or Southwest points, your companion flies with you for free (~$10 in taxes and fees)!

How Do I Earn the Companion Pass?

To get the Companion Pass you have to earn 110,000 points in 1 calendar year.  Once the 110,000 points are credited to your account, the Companion Pass is good until the end of the following calendar year.

For example, if you get the Companion Pass on March 20, 2014 (1 month from today) your pass is good until December 31, 2015.  So this is a good time to consider getting the Southwest Companion Pass.

There are 4 versions of Southwest credit cards.  Opening 1 Personal and 1 Business Southwest card is a quick way to earn close to the 110,000 points and a ton of (almost) free travel!

SWFaster
2 Southwest Credit Cards Will Get You ~91% of the Way to the Companion Pass

Why Is the Companion Pass Valuable?

Southwest points are worth ~1.67 cents per mile.  To get the Companion Pass you have to earn 110,000 Companion Pass points, which are worth ~$1,837 (110,000 Southwest points x 1.67 cents).

But with the Companion Pass your favorite person gets to fly with you for free (you just pay the $2.50 security fee).  This means your 110,000 Southwest points are actually worth double or ~$3,674 ($1,837 x 2)!

50,000 Point Southwest Premiere & Companion Pass
Double the Value of Your Southwest Points With the Companion Pass!

Here Is How You Do It…

Before we get started, be sure to look at these 3 common mistakes which folks make.  When you are new to miles & points it’s easy to make mistakes!

Step 1 – Become a Southwest Rapid Rewards Member

The first step to earning Southwest points is to open a Southwest account.  You will get un to 750 points when you sign-up for a Southwest account and receive emails.

CreateARapidRewardsAccount
Complete This Form and You Are on Your Way to the Southwest Companion Pass

Write down your new Southwest membership number into a spreadsheet because you will need it for the next steps.

Step 2 – Apply for 1 Southwest Personal Card

There is a Plus and Premier version of the Southwest Rapid Rewards card.  The cards currently have a 50,000 point bonus, but that will eventually end.  That said, the 50,000 point offer comes and goes every 3 to 4 months, so don’t worry if you miss it.

a)    Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

  • 50,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee is not waived

b)   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • 50,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
  • 3,000 anniversary points.
  • 3% foreign transaction fees.
  • $69 annual fee is not waived.
When you get to the application page make sure you enter your Southwest account number from Step 1. This will ensure that the points from the credit card goes to your account!

Step 3 – Apply for 1 Southwest Business Card

Many folks don’t bother applying for business cards because they don’t think they will be approved.  But read my post on 3 Ways You May Qualify for a Business Card before you give up on getting the Companion Pass!

Completing a business card application can be a bit confusing.  So take a look at my post on How to Fill Out a Business Credit Card Application.

There is also a Plus and Premier version of the Southwest business card.  They have the same benefits and annual fees as the personal Southwest personal cards.

a)   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card

  • 50,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee is not waived

b)  Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Business Credit Card

  • 50,000 points for spending $2,000 within 3 months
  • 3,000 anniversary points
  • 3% foreign transaction fees
  • $69 annual fee is not waived
Remember to enter your Southwest account number in the credit card application!  Use the SAME number which you used in the personal card application to ensure that all the points post to your account.

Step 4 – Complete the Spending on Both Cards

To receive the 50,000 points sign-up bonus for the Southwest cards, you have to spend $2,000 on each card within 3 months.

Once you complete the required spending on BOTH cards you will get 104,000 points in your account.  That’s because you earn 50,000 points (as the sign-up bonus) + 2,000 points from spending $2,000.

Note that the annual fee does NOT count towards the $2,000 spending required!

Step 5 – Accumulate 6,000 Additional Points

You will earn 104,000 Southwest points for meeting the minimum spending on your 2 new Southwest cards.  However, you will still need an additional 6,000 Companion Pass points to reach the 110,000 points needed for the Companion Pass.

See my list of 10 ways to get points for the Companion Pass.

SWLogo
110,000 Southwest Points Are Worth Up to ~$3,674 (If Your Companion Flies With You On Every Flight)!

Step 6 – Check Your Companion Pass Progress

You can check your progress by logging into your Southwest account via this link.

Southwest Companion Pass Status 1
Emily and I Have Earned The Companion Pass Twice and It’s Saved Us a Lot of Money!

You do NOT have to do anything to activate your Companion Pass, this happens automatically.  Within a few days of 110,000 Southwest Companion Pass points posting to your Southwest account, you are officially a Companion Pass holder!

Step 7 – Name Your Companion

a)  Log-in to your Southwest account and choose your companion.  See this post for more details!

Name Your Companion by Completing this Form!
Emily Is My Companion, Who Will Be Yours?

OR

b)  Call Southwest at 1-800-248-4377 to register your companion.

Note:   You can change your companion up to 3 times per calendar year (6 times total, if you hold the pass for 2 years).  Choose wisely! Step 8 – Start Traveling!

You now have 110,000 points to use and a companion who can travel with you for free.  That is a lot of free flights!  You can fly to all Southwest and Airtran destinations within the US, Puerto Rico, and starting July 1, 2014 to the Caribbean.

We use Southwest almost exclusively when traveling inside the US.  Recently, we used Southwest for a Mini-Trip to Key West.

Hyatt Regency Key West
Enjoying Key West Thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass!

Note that Southwest points will be worth ~15% less starting March 31, 2014.  Book as many trips as you can before then to get the most out of your Companion Pass!

There are no change fees on Southwest.  So if you cancel a flight booked on points, the points will go back into your Southwest account.

You also get 2 free bags on Southwest and more non-stop options within the US compared to other airlines.

Bottom Line

Emily and I love the Southwest Companion Pass because it makes it so easy to travel within the US!

The Southwest 50,000 points offer will eventually end (though they should be back in 3 to 4 months), so follow these 8 steps to get your own Southwest Companion Pass!

Where will you go with your new Companion Pass?

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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