I Earned Free US Travel Worth $3,666 With The Southwest Companion Pass

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I Earned Free US Travel Worth $3,666 With The Southwest Companion Pass

Million Mile SecretsI Earned Free US Travel Worth $3,666 With The Southwest Companion PassMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I’ve got a lot of questions and comments about whether the sign-up bonus from the recent Chase Southwest 50,000 point offer counts towards the Southwest Companion Pass status.

Southwest Companion Pass
Emily Flies With Me For Free!

My credit card statement just closed, and the 50,000 point sign-up bonus from the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card counted toward the Southwest Companion Pass status because I got an email which said “Congratulations! You’ve just earned Companion Pass status.

I earned 110,000 (100,000 points from 2 credit cards & the rest from hotel partners & car rentals) Southwest points worth $1,833 towards the cheapest Wanna Get Away fares.

That’s actually $3,666 worth of free travel ($1,833 X 2) if I redeem all my 110,000 points and if Emily travels as my companion for free.  At ~$300 per ticket, Emily and I should be able to take weekend getaways every 2 months thanks to Chase and Southwest.

I’ve already spent a lot of time looking at places Emily and I could visit for quick weekend getaways!

Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is probably one of the best frequent flyer perks, since it lets you designate a companion who flies with you for FREE, regardless of whether you redeem points for your Southwest flight or pay cash.  I’ll gladly sacrifice the “unlimited” upgrades on other airlines, for the Southwest Companion pass which will greatly reduce the amount of cash I pay for US air travel.

The Companion Pass will be particularly helpful during the holidays when ticket prices are high and when Emily & I can take advantage of the 2 free checked bags  which Southwest offers.

You earn the Southwest Companion Pass by either flying 100 segments or earning 110,000 companion pass qualifying points within a calendar year.

The terms and conditions say that “Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”  However, the credit card sign-up bonuses currently count towards Companion Pass status.

But, as I write towards the end of this post, I’m not sure if the credit card sign-on bonus will count towards the Companion Pass in 2012.  I hope it still does!

Chase Southwest 50,000 Application & Reconsideration

I applied for the card in November and since I didn’t get instant approval I called the business reconsideration telephone line.  The call was much more pleasant compared to my last call 3 months earlier, and I offered to close my Continental Airlines business card to get approved for the Southwest Rapid Reward Plus credit card.

I wanted to close my Continental Airlines credit card because I had applied for it in March this year and already got 25,000 bonus miles.  The card will be converted to the United Explorer card sometime in Q1 2012, and I didn’t want to risk not being able to get the sign-up bonus on the United Explorer card.

That’s because Chase lets you get the sign-up bonus only once per credit card type.  For example, you could get the sign-on bonus once for the United Explorer and again for the United Mileage Plus card (when the Mileage Plus card was offered).

Word on the street is that we may see a larger sign-up offer next year for the United Explorer card.  And there is a targeted offer for 60,000 miles floating around as well.

It is for this reason that I’m not upgrading both our United Mileage Plus cards to the United Explorer card despite being offered 10,000 miles each to convert our from the Mileage Plus to the Explorer card.  Instead, I’ll keep the Mileage Plus card until the annual fee comes due or use it to negotiate my way to another credit card approval from Chase.

I got a huge credit limit of $2,500 (sarcasm), but I wasn’t too worried since I only had to make 1 purchase to get the miles.  I made my 1st purchase and called Chase to confirm that my statement would close in December.

I’ve noticed that Chase’s online banking portal keeps on showing different closing dates for the 1st statement for any new Chase credit card.  However, the closing date after the 1st statement is always accurate.

My statement closed in December (you usually get the points a few days after the statement in which you’ve made your first purchase closes) and the points transferred to my Southwest account.  A few days later, I got an email from Southwest asking me to select a companion.

Since I got 50,000 Southwest points earlier this year from the personal  Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card offer, it made sense for me to earn the remaining 60,000 points needed for the Companion Pass this year instead of in next year.

I wouldn’t have earned the Companion Pass if 50,000 points had posted in 2011 and the remaining 60,000 points had posted in 2012.

So I applied for the business Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card for another 50,000 points, and  I transferred Wyndham and Choice hotel points to Southwest, and credited a few car rentals to Southwest to get the 10,000 points I needed to get the Companion Pass.

So will this work in 2012?

I don’t know.  As I wrote in an earlier post, Chase and Southwest could have fixed this glitch and the sign-up bonus from the credit card may not count towards the Companion Pass in 2012.

Another cloud on the horizon is that effective January 5, 2012, you’ll be able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points (Ultimate Rewards is the loyalty program for Chase’s credit cards) from your Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold accounts to Southwest in 1:1 ratio.

I eventually expect Chase to allow us to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to all the hotel and airlines for which Chase issues credit cards.  This is just another sign of how aggressively Chase is competing with American Express and how determined Chase is to make sure that their Ultimate Rewards point currency is preferred over American Express Membership Rewards.  Personally, I think Chase has already won!

However, the terms and conditions say that points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest won’t count towards Companion Pass status.

I wonder if this is a sign that Chase and Southwest are aware that transferred points and credit card sign-up bonuses currently count toward the Companion Pass status?

Southwest prides itself on being a low cost airline, and I’m sure they never expected to give away 1 to 2 years of free flying just by signing up for 2 credit cards!

We won’t know until someone reports back.  Hopefully it will still count and everyone will get their Companion Pass and close to 2 years of free flying!

Bottom Line:  I wasn’t expecting the Southwest credit card bonus to count towards Companion Pass status, but I got lucky when it did.

$3,666 worth of free travel for 2 credit card sign-up bonuses +  a few transferred hotel points is definitely one of the best ways I’ve had Big Travel with Small Money this 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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Daraius, can you confirm one way or the other as to whether a person really can receive the 50,000 mile bonus for a second Personal (Premier and Plus) or second Business (Premier and Plus) Southwest credit card from Chase? I already have a Personal Premier card and a Business Premier card. When I called the Chase application department, they said I would not earn bonus points from a Plus card, but their stated reason was both are linked to my same Southwest Rapid Rewards account. That’s not an accurate reason because I did earn 50,000 miles from each of the Premier cards I have and both are linked to my same RR account.

Unfortunately, a purchase I made in December was reflected a couple of days before my December statement close period and caused that card to post the bonus points at the very end of 2014 while my other card’s bonus posted in early 2015, so I am still looking for 50,000 more points in 2015 to earn my companion pass.

I am asking because the verbiage on the Personal Plus card application says “This bonus offer is available to you as long as you have not received a new cardmember bonus for THIS PRODUCT in the past 24 months.”. The link for the Offer Details says this: “This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of THIS CONSUMER CREDIT CARD, or (ii) previous cardmembers of THIS CONSUMER CREDIT CARD who received a new cardmember bonus for THIS CONSUMER CREDIT CARD within the last 24 months.” It seems that the Personal Plus is a different product and different “consumer credit card” because it has different price and terms than the Personal Premier. Therefore, it can’t be the same product, right? Do we have any official record of someone earning the bonus points for both the Premier and Plus cards in the same category (Personal or Business)?

My wife and I followed this blog post almost two years ago and have saved thousands of dollars on SWA flights. Sad to say that my companion pass is expiring at the end of 2014.

I earned the companion pass by signing up for the personal and business SWA card; both of which I added my wife to as an additional card holder. Now I’m wondering if I could take my wife off my card, and have her sign up for the two card promotion to earn 100k RR points. Has anyone had any success with this?



Do you have to pick the same person as your “companion” for every flight? I was wondering since I have different girlfriends that might want to travel for fun with me.



Million Mile Secrets

@Gretchen – You are allowed only 3 changes to the companion over the life of the companion pass, so choose wisely!

Can i combine points and cash to buy southwest ticket?

“Purchased points and points earned from program enrollment, Tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and Partner bonuses do not count toward Companion Pass status.”

points earned from program enrollment – does this mean the 50k bonus points?

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