My path to a Southwest companion pass

Southwest is one of my favorite airlines.  I love that they don’t charge cancellation or change fees, they don’t charge for bags, and their flight attendants are one of the friendliest in the sky.  So when I had the opportunity to jump on a free two-year companion pass, I pulled the trigger on both the Southwest VISA signature (personal) and the Southwest Business VISA cards at the same time. Here’s how the process works:

  • You get a companion pass after you earn 110,000 miles in any given year
  • Each card awards you 50,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in 3 months
  • With $2,000 in spending on each card and each bonus, that is 104,000 Southwest miles, which means I only need to spend an additional $6,000 at any point during 2013 and I will then hit 110,000 miles, at which point I will earn a companion pass
  • A companion pass is good for the year in which you earn it, PLUS the following year
  • By hitting all the required spending in early 2013, I will then have the pass for the rest of 2013 and the entire 2014 year!!!
  • A companion pass is also good when you fly on award tickets

Earning a companion pass so easily is as good as it gets.  For instance, a roundtrip ticket from Ft. Lauderdale to Las Vegas will cost you 23,760 points and $7.50 in fees, and you can bring a companion who flies for free.  With free checked bags and no cancellation fees, you can really stretch 110,000 Southwest points into a lot of free flights for two.  The companion pass is good for both rewards and paid tickets.  Here’s a sample itinerary (without the free companion pass):

Southwest reward

Disclaimer: Technically and according to Southwest rules, bonus points do not actually count towards a companion pass.  However, this offer has been available on and off for several years, with everyone who has taken it reporting that the bonus points have worked just fine and the companion pass has been issued to the account. I’m happy to report that as of today both bonuses have already posted to my account and they show as counting, so this is a pretty safe bet.

The 50,000 offer per card is not currently available, but it comes and goes, so it is expected that Chase will release the offer again at some point in the future. We will keep you posted when it comes out again.


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