Big Spenders: Companion Passes for Big Spending

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Big Spenders:  Companion Passes for Big Spending

Million Mile SecretsBig Spenders:  Companion Passes for Big SpendingMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Companion Passes via Credit Card Spending

Big Spenders can earn companion passes on Southwest Airlines and British Airways for spending Big Money on their credit card.

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is a true companion pass because it lets your companion travel with you free, for an unlimited amount of flights during the validity of the Companion Pass, on both award and paid tickets.  This is one of my favorite airline perks.

The British Airways Travel Together Ticket is valid for only 1 use and you can’t earn more than one Travel Together ticket a year plus you have to pay hefty fuel surcharges. 

But it is worth it, in my opinion, if you use the Travel Together ticket for travel on business or first class.

Domestic Companion Pass

Spend $110,000 within a calendar year on the Chase Southwest credit card and earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, which lets you fly free with a companion, for up to 2 years.  This is by far the best perk of any airline in my opinion!

The Southwest Companion Pass is valid for the entire year in which you earn the 110,000 points necessary to get the Companion Pass, AND for the following year.  This means that you could get a Companion Pass for almost 2 years if you spend $110,000 in January on your Chase Southwest credit card.

Each Southwest Airline point is worth 1.67 cents when redeemed for Wanna Get Away flights, so spending $110,000 a year earns you $1,837 (110,000 points X 1.67 cents per point) worth of Wanna Get Away flights.

But if your companion flies with you for free, you’ve effectively earned twice that or at least $3,674 ( 1,837  X 2).

That’s a return of 3.34% ($3,674/$110,000) per $1 spent, which is much better than the return on cash back cards for domestic US flying.

And if you buy a Southwest ticket and fly a companion for free with your Southwest Companion Pass, your return will likely be higher.

Currently, the 50,000 point sign-up bonus on the Chase Southwest credit card counts towards the points needed for the Companion pass, but I don’t know how much longer this will last.

International Companion Pass

 Spend $30,000 within 1 calendar year on the Chase British Airways credit card and earn a Travel Together Ticket which can be used for award reservations on British Airways operated flights only.

The Travel Together Ticket is valid for two years from when you earn it, but can be used only ONCE.  You can earn only one British Airways Travel Together pass per calendar year, and they are valid only on British Airways flights. 

This means that if you live in Omaha, but your British Airways flight leaves from Chicago, you can’t use the Travel Together ticket to get from Omaha to Chicago, because British Airways doesn’t fly from Omaha to Chicago.

Expect to pay ~$400 in fuel surcharges and taxes per long-haul segment on award bookings, but that’s still cheaper than paying for a business or first class ticket. The companion pass is NOT worth it if you will be redeeming in coach because of the high fuel charges.

Spending $96,000 on the Chase British Airways card will get you 120,000 British Airways points (you earn 1.25 British Airways Avios points per $1 spent) which is enough for a First Class round trip for two to London from Chicago with the Travel Together ticket.  However, expect to pay ~$800 in fuel surcharges for the round trip per person.

The current sign-on bonus for the British Airways card is 50,000 points, but there have been three previous offers with 100,000 points.

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I wanted to make sure I am doing it right (doing the min spending) for the companion pass, Applied the card on 10/24/12 and received them a week later, both SW card has a Statement closing date 15th of the month and due date 12th of the month. First billing cycles no transactions. 2nd billing cycle that closed on 12/15 has $1000 on each card. So in order to meet the min spending do I do the charges this month (dec 12 dec 16-31) or (Jan 13 before 1/15/13) in order to meet the min spending for 100K bonus ?

Million Mile Secrets

@Michael – You have 3 months from when you were approved for the cards to complete the minimum spending and get the sign-up bonus. You should get the 50K points even if there is no 50K public offer later on as long as you were approved using a link for the 50K version.

@adnan – If you complete the minimum spending before your next statement, the points should post around 15th January. That said, I wouldn’t cross $2K until January 1, 2013 to be completely sure that the points count towards the Companion Pass in 2013.

I just received my cards in the mail all with 50k signup bonueses when spending 2k in 3months.

personal plus

personal premier

biz plus (had to give taxid info)

Anyways thats a 150k points, easily the companion pass. I have all 3 cards in hand w/ the signup papers stating the 50k bonus for each of the 3. Can I activate now, then wait to spend the money on them till January that way I have the card for all of 2013 and 2014? Or do I have to wait till January to activate these cards and spend on them in order for the CP to count for all 13 and 14?

Lastly, if I wait till January to activate, is there a chance I will loose the 50k point bonus on each card? For instance they cancel the promotion? I assume not as I got the cards at the time the promotion was running, however if I wait to activate I do not know? Thanks! For once I have 3 cards all w/ 50k bonuses and a fresh year coming up… seems like a great time to try and get CP status!

@Thalha – you must use the companion pass on a one-to-one ratio, one paid with Avios points and one companion pass. I too had two CPs this past summer and took my wife and daughter to Europe but could only use one CP. I paid for two passengers with Avios and used one CP, plus all fuel charges for all three. The other CP dosen’t expire until next fall so the wife and I will go on a trip this spring.

If I got the one SW card in December, and another this month, am I still able to qualify for the 110,000 points by the end of the year by spending another $10,000 by the end of the year? Also, is there a quicker way to get the extra 10,000 points? Thanks!

If you get BA companion pass in 2012 and 2013 , can you take two people with you for the price of one

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