Have you heard of Southwest’s Companion Pass? As the name implies, achieving this entitles a companion of your choice to fly with you for free on any Southwest flight you book. I know I’m not the only one who is somewhat obsessed with flying on Southwest. High five to their great staff, no baggage fees and the ability to pick your own seat.
The Companion Pass is definitely one of the most valuable airline awards available. For many years I thought it was impossible for someone to earn unless they traveled for business constantly or had a horrible shopping problem which would rack up the points for them. I’ve learned during a pretty expensive cross country move and some careful tracking, it’s surprisingly easy to earn.
How do you get The Companion Pass? You’ll need to complete 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year or earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. Unless you’re a constant traveler for work, you better get to earning those 110,000 points! Everyone’s situation is different but this is how we achieved this:
1. Sign Up Bonus
Your Rapid Rewards account gets credited 50,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. That is almost half the needed points given to you pretty easily! We use our Southwest Credit Card for every single purchase, big or small so spending the $2,000 came easy. Wait until you need to make a big purchase to sign up if you’re worried about hitting that number.
Oh, Rocketmiles. You are such a savior. As soon as we book any trip, we log onto Rocketmiles.com and search for available hotels. There are several hotels, in all price ranges and cities, that offer 1,000-20,000 points per night. We tend to search for hotels that give us 5,000 for a 2 night weekend stay. Once you check out, the points are usually in your Rapid Rewards account within a week. Not only are those points helping you reach the Companion Pass 110,000 point goal but you’re also able to spend those points on free flights.
3. Pay for flights
You will start racking up the points pretty quickly with these tips and will be tempted to cash in these points and fly for free. I would suggest to keep saving them. They don’t expire so unless you’re in a bind, keep them in your account. The more flights you pay for with $, the more points you receive. You also receive 2 points per dollar on all Southwest.com purchases which is double points. Save those points for the following year when you obtain the Companion Pass because guess what? You can fly for free using your hard earned points plus add your companion onto your already FREE flight. What?! Two flights for free? Yep!
4. Partnering Companies
Plan to send flowers for an upcoming birthday? Order them through your Rapid Rewards account and get a 1,000 point bonus. I’ve seen them give more points than that but that is the standard amount. Renting a car for an upcoming vacation? Again, book through your Rapid Rewards account. Several companies partner with Southwest and if you book with them, you’ll receive bonus points toward your free flights and Companion Pass. We even joined a wine club just to get the bonus points. Why not? We like wine and needed points. You were able to cancel anytime.
5. Rapid Rewards Dining
This isn’t a category we pay much attention to because we tend to mostly cook during the week and eat out on the weekends but if you’re always eating out, listen up! Spending money on your Southwest Credit Card at several partnering restaurants in your city will add 3 points per dollar spent to your point balance. Triple points! We usually find out we’ve gotten triple points randomly as they email you after you’ve paid your check to let you know.
6. Put Every Purchase On Your CC
I’m preface my final point by saying if you do not have the money to pay off your full credit card balance every couple of weeks, skip this paragraph. We put every single purchase on our Southwest Credit Card. Whether it be a $1,500 hotel stay, $150 cable bill, a $4 latte or a $1 pack of gum; we use our card. The points slowly but surely add up. If you have the means to pay it off quickly without accruing interest, this is a great way to rack up the points. If not, forget you read this.
I wish you the most success in 2016 at attempt to receive the Southwest Companion Pass.
Apply HERE and get to flying for free ASAP!