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Lesser-known Southwest booking trick (ideal if you have the Companion Pass)

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Lesser-known Southwest booking trick (ideal if you have the Companion Pass)

Joseph HostetlerLesser-known Southwest booking trick (ideal if you have the Companion Pass)Million Mile Secrets Team

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Did you know that it’s possible to to use your points with the Southwest Companion Pass, even if you yourself don’t have one?

Southwest gives you the option to transfer your points from one account to another. If your travel buddy has a Companion Pass, you can deposit your points into their account, and they can book a flight for themselves, and a (nearly) free flight for you by adding you as their “companion.” The problem is that Southwest charges you to transfer miles.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround that will still allow you to add a companion to your reservation. If you’re planning to earn the Companion Pass (or already have it), this booking trick might come in handy.

My wife and I used the Southwest Companion Pass to fly to Mexico for practically free. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Book a Southwest flight using points from ANY account

When you earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year, you’ll earn the Southwest Companion Pass. This allows you to bring a friend or family member with you, every single time you fly Southwest, for only the cost of taxes and fees. That’s a fantastic deal — and it works for both paid and award flights.

My wife earned the Southwest Companion Pass last year. That perk alone easily saved us more than $1,000 in flights in just a few months. However, we burned her remaining Southwest points on a trip to Mexico. She was pointsless, and we weren’t nearly finished with our Companion Pass!

But because the Companion Pass is linked to my wife’s account, and I’m her designated companion, I can’t book an award flight for myself and add her as a companion. Now, when we want to use her Companion Pass, I simply:

  • Log-in to my Southwest account
  • Use my Southwest points to book an award flight for her
  • Log-in to her Southwest account
  • Add me as a companion

Here’s the secret – you can use Southwest points in your account to book flights for friends and family — for anybody, really. Your points don’t have to be for just your travel.

Once you enter the Southwest frequent flyer number on the passenger details page and book the flight, the reservation will be linked to that flyer’s account. If that person has a Companion Pass, they can just log-in to their account and click “Add Companion.”

For anyone without the Companion Pass, you can still use this booking trick to use someone else’s points to book your flight. The same goes for those who collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to your Southwest account. Then, use points to book a Southwest flight for friends or family. If those friends or family have the Companion Pass, they can add their companion to the reservation.

How to earn the Southwest Companion Pass

We consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the best deal in travel. With the sign-up bonuses you can earn from Chase Southwest cards, it’s not difficult to earn the 125,000 Southwest points needed to get the Companion Pass. You can earn the points you need to qualify with cards like:

All the above cards currently come with 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, you can open a Southwest small business credit card:

The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earning the bonuses from one personal and one small business card are a great way to speed your way to the Companion Pass. Note that earning the Chase Southwest Performance Business Card‘s full bonus will single-handedly qualify you for the Companion Pass.

Bottom line

You can use Southwest points in your account to book a flight for anyone.

This is particularly useful for those with the Southwest Companion Pass. For example, I sometimes use my Southwest points to book an award flight for my wife. Then, the reservation appears in her account and she can add me as a companion.

If you have any Companion Pass booking tricks, let us know in the comments. And subscribe to our newsletter for more tips to taking more trips.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest® travel credit each year.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks and WiFi.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

More Info

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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Question! We just got our shiny new Southwest card in the mail and plan on earning the companion pass in the next month or two. I am wondering if I can purchase flights now (before earning it) for August and then when we do earn it, just add my husband on as a companion? Or do only flights purchased after earning the pass apply to companions?

Yes you can.

Question–If the future companion pass holder books an award ticket, is it 100% certain the companion can be added later? What if that flight doesn’t have seats anymore by the time the companion pass is earned? I assumed the best way would be to book both tickets with points (if you have enough points to do that) and then when you get the pass, redeposit those points back into your account when you attach the companion.

CASSANDRA RILEY

Thanks for that trick. I was wondering how we were going to get the points to my account and didn’t think about my husband just booking the flight and me adding him as the companion!!

If my husband and I both have the companion pass (and he is my companion), can he add my son as his companion and reserve a ticket for him, from the ticket I reserved for him as my companion? I have never seen this question answered on any of the SW Companion blogs!

AWESOME thank you for this answer, just what I needed! The rules say that “you” need to purchase the ticket to be eligible for companion pass, but the RR# of the ticket itself is the key to the eligibility for companion pass, not who PURCHASED the ticket.

Great article. Thanks for tip about using someone else’s account to book a trip and then go back and add companion. They way you described worked like a charm.

the only way paying to transfer points to your acct makes sense.. is if that acct doesn’t have enough pts to cover a flight and they wont be earning any points.

This is true. Thank you for commenting.

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