TallGuy and I love to travel. Every opportunity we have to get away, we take it. When I heard about the Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines, I thought it was too good to be true. Companion Pass is the benefit that lets you choose one person to fly free* (not including $5.50 security fee each way) with you every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight. But after some research, I determined that it was legit and I applied for two Southwest credit cards. Within 2 months of receiving my cards, I had earned my Companion Pass, and now TallGuy can fly with me for free (seriously, FREE) on all Southwest flights until December 2018 - yes, you read that right. 21 months of FREE flights! Find out how I earned the Best Travel Reward out there.
Here's what you need to know:
To obtain your Companion Pass, simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you’ll earn Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it. This can be accomplished in a few ways. The most straightforward approach is to simply fly 100 segments - but that requires a lot of work and cash - to earn 110,000 qualifying points, you’d need to spend $18,333.33 on Wanna Get Away fares or $9,166.67 on Business Select fares. If you travel a lot for work, this is attainable - but I was able to earn mine using money I was already spending, acquiring no additional expenses.
How I Earned my Companion Pass in Under 2 Months
and no Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Southwest offers 2 personal credit cards and 2 business credit cards. I applied for both personal cards: the Plus and the Premier and got approved instantly! Since I had never had a Southwest credit card before, I was eligible for bonus points for each card for meeting the minimum spend requirement. When I signed up, each card was offering 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. Once I had completed my minimum spend on each card, 100,000 bonus points were added to my account. This was money that I was already planning on spending, so no additional out of pocket expense. I also received 1 mile for every dollar spent, so I had earned 104,000 points for purchases that I was already planning on making. To earn the remaining 6,000 points, I had a few options:
My remaining points were earned in a combination of Southwest flights and credit card purchases. I flew 4 Southwest segments, earning just under 4,000 points, and the rest was through additional credit card spend. I received an email less than 2 months after opening my cards to let me know that I had earned my Companion Pass! All it took was some strategic planning of money I was already going to spend. Now, I have over 110,000 Southwest points that I can use towards my trips with TallGuy!
To apply for the Southwest Premier Credit Card and be eligible for the 50,000 bonus points, click here.
To apply for the Southwest Plus Credit Card and be eligible for the 50,000 bonus points, click here.
Southwest also offers 60,000 bonus points for Business Cards, so if you are looking to open a credit card for your business, you should definitely check theirs out.
Additional Information and Tips:
- All points accumulated to earn the Companion Pass can be used - once you earn your Companion Pass, you'll have at least 110,000 points at your disposal
- The Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the calendar year it is earned and the full next calendar year - try to earn it as early in the year as possible so you can have it for longer
- You can change your designated companion up to 3 times, so be strategic about your planning
- Your first two checked bags fly free on Southwest, so you can save up to $75 each way on baggage fees