Can You Spend Any of Your Points Before Getting The Southwest Companion Pass?

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Can You Spend Any of Your Points Before Getting The Southwest Companion Pass?

Million Mile SecretsCan You Spend Any of Your Points Before Getting The Southwest Companion Pass?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader Mark writes in:

Hi Daraius,

To get the companion pass you need to accumulate/earn 110,000 miles, I got that.  This may be a counter intuitive question, but can you use some of the miles on an account before getting the companion pass and have those miles still count towards the 110,000 goal?

Like if I had 90,000 miles and I used 8,000, leaving me 82,000 — would I have accumulated 90,000 or 82,000 towards the companion pass?

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

Our favorite airline perk is the Southwest Companion Pass.  Where else can a companion get unlimited travel – on both points or cash tickets – for up to 2 years?!  Here’s a post on everything you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass.

It Is Very Easy to Get The Southwest Companion Pass!
It Is Very Easy to Get The Southwest Companion Pass!

All 4 Southwest credit cards currently have a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $2,000 within 3 months.  50,000 points can get you up to ~$850 in Southwest flights, which is pretty good for just one credit card.  Even better, the 50,000 point sign-up bonus currently counts towards the Southwest Companion Pass.

Don’t forget to see this post on whether you should get the Southwest Companion Pass now…or at the end of the year.

What’s the Deal With the 110,000 Points?

Southwest has 3 types of points:

  • Redeemable points (which you use for award flights etc.)
  • Companion Pass points (which count towards the Companion Pass)
  • A-List points (which count towards Southwest elite status)

Mark needs to earn a total of 110,000 Companion Pass points in ONE calendar year (January to December) to earn the Companion Pass.

But he does NOT need to trade-in 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points to get his Southwest Companion Pass.  He’ll get the Companion Pass as long as he earns 110,000 Companion Pass points within 1 year, regardless of whether he spent any Southwest points on flights.

His Companion Pass points do NOT decrease if he redeems Southwest points for an award ticket.  This may be confusing, but if you redeem Southwest points for a flight, only your redeemable points balance will decrease.  Your Companion Pass balance remains the same!

For example, here’s a screenshot of my Companion Pass counter for 2013.  It shows all the Companion Pass points which I’ve earned.  I earned the Companion Pass in January 2013 as soon as I crossed 110,000 Companion Pass points.

I have
I Have 132,370 Companion Pass Points Which is More Than The…

In contrast, here’s my redeemable point balance.  There are only ~66,000 points because I redeemed some points for award flights.

I Have
…66,123 Redeemable Points In My Account.

In short, Mark can redeem ALL his current 90,000 Southwest points, but will still have 90,000 points towards the Companion Pass status up to December 31, 2013.  But his 90,000 Companion Pass points will become Z-E-R-O Companion Pass points on January 1, 2014.

If Mark expects to earn the Companion Pass soon, he should book flights for himself with his points now, because he can always add a companion once he earns the Companion Pass.

You can earn Qualifying Companion Pass points in lots of ways such as:

  • Flying on Southwest
  • Southwest credit card signup bonuses (this could change)
  • Southwest credit card purchases
  • Through Rapid Rewards partners such as Hyatt, Marriott, Hertz,  Rapid Rewards dining program, etc.

Bottom Line

Mark will earn the Companion Pass once he has earned 110,000 qualifying points.

Booking flights with his Southwest points will NOT lower the number of Companion Pass qualifying points he has earned in the year.

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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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Well, we’ve now got two Chase SW cards in my wife’s name. Unfortunately, I appear to be running short of options to making up the remaining 10,000 miles by the end of the year. Could you give some suggestions that could help speed up the process? I am wary of putting all our spending on one of these two cards – unless that is the only way of getting there.

– Porcupyn

Million Mile Secrets

@Porcupyn – See this post.

Alright, I few questions. If your card falls Dec 31 2013 then does ur companion pass run the next calender year? Janice

Shoot… my mistake. I guess I would need Hyatt Points…. I do not own a business…. So any other tips on other ways to get the 50k pts now since the fine print now says the bonus is only for ONE business and ONE personal account?

hey Darius

Quick question. I dont have a business, but signed up and was approved for the personal…. I see you mentioned the Hilton Honors points transfer towards the Companion pass…. therefore if I signed up for the American Express Hilton Honors Reward card with the 50k pts bonus, would I be able to transfer them to my SW acct towards getting a companion pass?



It’s back:

Darius please update the link with your referral link. I plan to do this with the wife and prefer you get the commission if there is one.

Million Mile Secrets

@John H – That’s great news! Thanks for letting me know. I don’t have a referral link to the card, but will include it in the Hot Deals tab.

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