Southwest Companion Pass

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ever since I heard about the Southwest Companion Pass, I've been CONSUMED with getting it. I neeeeeeeeeeed it! Do you have it? If you do, I'm incredibly jealous.

Since I was in the dark about this, I thought some others might be, too! So I've done my research and found out HOW to get it, and WHY it's awesome!

FACTS ON THE SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS
The only way to get the Companion Pass is earning 110,000 Rapid Reward Points in one calendar year. This means January 1 - December 31. It's January 21, so let's hit the ground running with this New Year's Resolution :) 

The 110,000 RR points must be in one person's name. These points cannot be transferred from another Rapid Rewards account. You can't have 55,000 in your name and 55,000 in  your spouses name..... all 110,000 have to be in one name. No exceptions.

The Companion Pass is eligible for the rest of the calendar year (so, 2015) and the entirety of the following year. Which means as soon as you earn it this year, you're in the clear for the next year, too! Awesome.

The Companion Pass is only eligible for ONE person.... which you can change three times. So for example's sake, if I signed Matt up as my companion (duh!), I could switch it to my best friend, but still be able to switch back to Matt. It gives you one option, but just be careful you don't mess it up!

The Companion Pass is eligible for EVERY flight the holder books. SO, if I pay for my flight with money or miles, it doesn't matter - Matt comes with me for free. Please note that the "companion" must be with the holder of the pass, so he doesn't fly for free unless he's with me. 

110,000 points is enough for an average of 9 free flight segments. Reward flights start as low as 6,000 points (one way), and go up to about 18,000, depending on when/where you're flying (I looked at a bunch of different flights to get a sample). So even if you only earned the companion pass in December 2015, you have 110,000 free points to fly the next year - so you can pay for YOUR flights with points and your companion is still flying free. That's an incredible deal in itself.



There are several ways to earn points:
  • The largest (and easiest) is to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card with the current bonus offer of 50,000 RR points (if you spend $2,000 in the first three months of having the card)
  • You earn 2RR points / $1 spent directly with Southwest (a $200 flight = 400 RR points). Please note this needs to be purchased DIRECTLY with Southwest (on their website or phone)... not through a 3rd party website or travel agent.
  • You earn 1RR point/ $1 spent on the card on everyday purchases (a $35 tank of gas = 35 RR points)
  • You earn the RR points for every flight you take with Southwest (this is not dependent on having the Southwest Credit Card)
  • You earn RR points by shopping through the Southwest Shopping portal. You sign in & do your regular online shopping... but for extra points. Nordstrom is 5points/$1 right now, iTunes is 3p/$1, and Sephora is 4p/$1. 
  • Please note if you do your spending on the credit card, you'll also get 2points/$1. If you drop $50 at Nordstrom, you'll get 100points for the credit card and 250points for the shopping portal, making your $50 worth 350 points
Let's do a little math. 

If you sign up for the RR credit card and are approved, you'll start at 50,000 points. If you book 12 Southwest segments (6 round trip flights) this year ON the credit card, average $200 per segment, each and average 1,000 RR points (12 segments total), that's an extra 16,800 points. Putting you at 66,800! 

Now, if you do $50 a month of shopping through the Southwest portal on the credit card, even at only 3point/$1 offers, you still will earn an extra 250 points per month, or 3000 points for the year... putting you at almost 70,000 points!

Now all that's left is 40,000 points to earn. If you spend $40,000 a year then you're SET. You might not think you spend that much, but chances are you come pretty close! It comes to just over $3,000 a month on the Southwest Credit Card (I'm only into responsible credit card using.... only spend it if you can pay it off!)

A few notes:
  • If you're buying for 2 - which if you're not, the companion pass is a little useless anyway - you will get the double points for money spent, just not their actual flight points. So, buying 12 segments for 2 people, puts you up to 24 segments total at $200, making your points earned 9,600 points... or 21,600 points. The new average would be 71,600 before any portal shopping or regular spending on the credit card. 
  • If you're traveling for work, see if you can purchase your own flight and invoice the company. Every extra point counts!
  • This companion pass would work best for someone with a business parter (if you travel together often), a married couple/seriously dating couple or a family with kids. If you mostly travel alone or with a variety of different people, this wouldn't make much sense for you. 
  • Choose the person who will fly the most often - for example, I travel solo for work more often, so I in theory will earn more points in the calendar year.  
  • You can use up to $15,000 in balance transfers to the Southwest Card in the first three months that WILL gain you points. However, they're at a 3% rate, so I would not advise it.
You guys.... we can do this. With a little strategy, you can work your way to dozens of free flights! Who's with me?
xo

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