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Getting your Companion Pass soon? Check out these amazing Southwest international destinations for travel inspiration

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Getting your Companion Pass soon? Check out these amazing Southwest international destinations for travel inspiration

Jasmin BaronGetting your Companion Pass soon? Check out these amazing Southwest international destinations for travel inspirationMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you’re not a frequent Southwest Airlines flyer, you might not know that they fly to a bunch of fun international destinations, along with extensive routes within the U.S., including Hawaii. If you’ve got the Companion Pass, that makes the following routes even more exciting.

the Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in travel. With it, you can bring a travel buddy with you — every single time you fly Southwest — for just the cost of taxes and fees. That could save you thousands, depending on how often you fly, and it effectively doubles your Southwest points value. To earn the Companion Pass, you must earn 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year. Fantastically, Southwest credit card welcome bonuses count toward that requirement! So you can apply for a couple Southwest cards and practically earn the Companion Pass straightaway:

CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Sign-Up Bonus Points40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open70,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
Spending• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X Southwest points with Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases
• 1X Southwest points on all other purchases
• 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases
• 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
• 3X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases
• 2X points per $1 on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
• 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
Anniversary Points6,0006,0003,0007,5009,000
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone3%NoneNone
ReviewChase Southwest Premier reviewChase Southwest Premier Business reviewChase Southwest Plus reviewChase Southwest Priority reviewChase Southwest Performance Business review

This makes the Southwest cards some of the best airline credit cards available. Just note that you can only hold one Southwest personal card at a time, so you’ll need to open one personal and one small business card. Also read this post on the Chase 5/24 rule before applying.

Once you earn the Companion Pass, you’ll probably be itching to make the most of it by adding a friend or family member to fly with you (on paid and award flights) for just the cost of taxes and fees. Here are a few international Southwest destinations you might consider for a quick getaway using your newly-minted Southwest Companion Pass.

Did You Know Belize Is a Southwest Destination? You Could Use Your New Companion Pass to Visit the Stunning Caracol Mayan Ruins (Photo by Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock)

Southwest international destinations

You can see where you can fly on Southwest by checking out their interactive route map. It’s easy to use by just clicking on your home airport, and you can even filter by non-stop flights if that’s what you prefer.

Hover over your home airport on the Southwest route map to see where you can go.

Here are the destinations on my top four list.

Costa Rica

Southwest flies to two cities in Costa Rica: San Jose (non-stop from Houston and Baltimore), and Liberia (non-stop from Houston, Baltimore, and Fort Lauderdale). But you can connect from dozens of other cities. Costa Rica is well-loved for its eco-tourism, volcanoes, and beaches. Friends of mine visited earlier this year with their kids and had an absolute blast zip-lining though the jungle and hanging out on the beach at a rustic hotel near Liberia.

Once you’re in Costa Rica, you can save more money by booking a hotel with points. Folks rave about the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, which as a Hyatt category 5 hotel costs only 20,000 Hyatt points per night. It’s simple to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardInk Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, all of which rank among the best credit cards for travel on the market.

Jamaica

Folks looking for a relaxing beach getaway can fly Southwest to Montego Bay, Jamaica non-stop from six cities – Chicago (Midway), St. Louis, Baltimore, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Houston (or connect from just about any other Southwest city in the U.S.).

The kids and I have never visited, but we’re considering a quick trip there to escape the winter cold in the Northeast. If we go, a must-see is Dunn’s River Falls for swimming and enjoying the scenic tiered waterfall there.

Doesn’t Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica look incredible? (Photo by Fedor Selivanov/Shutterstock)

I’ve got my eye on staying at the all-inclusive Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay for a truly stress-free getaway. And because I have Hilton elite status (which you can get automatically from cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardThe Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express), we’ll get our fifth night free on award stays.

Grand Cayman Island

If you’re a fan of snorkeling, diving or just enjoying swimming at the beach, Grand Cayman is a terrific pick. You can fly Southwest non-stop from Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, and Houston, or connect from tons of other U.S. cities. Kids and grownups alike will love checking out Stingray City, where you can get up close and personal with humongous stingrays.

Adventurous types can splash around with these creatures at Stingray City in Grand Cayman. (Photo by Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock)

One of the top rated resorts in Grand Cayman (in fact, in all of the Caribbean) is the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, where paid rates can be in excess of $1,000 per night. But you don’t have to pay top dollar for a luxury stay here, because you can redeem points from cards like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card instead.

Belize

Southwest flies to Belize City from Denver, Houston, and Fort Lauderdale (with connection options from other U.S. cities) – and it’s an incredible destination for any travel style. Whether you’re into ecotourism, historic sites or just flaking out on a beautiful beach, you can take your pick in Belize.

Meghan attended a friend’s wedding in Ambergris Caye, Belize, and has great things to say about it. She says it’s an ideal spot for divers, and enjoyed other fun activities like paddleboarding and ziplining while there.

Ambergris Caye is an excellent spot if you’re an avid diver — or just want to relax away from it all. (Photo by Martina Genis/Shutterstock)

There aren’t as many big chain hotel options in Belize compared to other destinations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t redeem points for a free stay here. For example, you can book boutique and independent hotels with points earned from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card at a rate of 1 cent per Capital One mile. You can read our full Capital One rewards review to see how unbelievably easy it is to receive free travel from those miles.

Bottom line

If you’ve got a stockpile of Southwest or the Southwest Companion Pass (or both!), you don’t have to limit your adventures to within the U.S. Southwest is certainly known for its domestic routes, but you can use Southwest points to fly to a number of awesome international destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America – all perfect for a relaxing vacation or quick getaway. My family is hoping to sneak off to a couple of these spots this year – and because with the Companion Pass, one of my kids will fly for just the cost of taxes and fees, we’ll do so at a huge savings.

Plus, if you collect points from the best hotel credit cards, you can stay for free as well – even if it’s not a chain hotel.

Which Southwest destinations are inspiring you to travel more this year? Let me know in the comments. And subscribe to our newsletter for more inspiration for using your miles and points.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

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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Readers might like to know that none of these destinations are bookable from the west coast, because Southwest won’t book an itinerary with an overnight stopover.

Mexico City being discontinued

Author

Hi John – Well, darn! So it is after March 30. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll make a note in the post.