Family Travel Hacking: How to earn Southwest Airline Companion Pass.
Southwest Companion Pass is based on the calendar year and is good for the year you earn it and the following calendar year. Make sure you do not earn your credit card sign-on bonuses till AFTER January 1! All points toward Southwest Companion Pass reset JANUARY 1!!!!
Current Offer as of October 2022
For those who already know what Southwest Companion Pass is and how to earn it, Here’s the current offers and recommendations. The current offer for Southwest credit cards you can earn as a sign on bonus 80,000 rapid reward points for the Southwest Business credit card and 75,000 rapid reward for any of the southwest personal credit cards. This will give you more than the 135,000 rapid reward points is required but you will also earn 10,000 rapid reward points for holding any Chase Southwest Rapid Reward Credit Cards each calendar year.
Be careful because you will earn the first 75,000 points after only $3000 in spending on the personal credit card and Chase sometimes give you the bonus even if you are under but close. So you want to make sure that spending isn’t completed till after January 1. The Business credit card will earn you the bonus after spending $5,000. I recommend getting this card first as you can spend a good portion of the spending minimum this year, saving $1,000 for after your December Statement close date, will help you get closer to earning the pass in January with out having to spend a significant portion in one month. I recommend the last $1,000 be spend after your statement period that ends in December.
I recommend getting the Southwest Airline personal credit card at the end of November or even early December. You can pick whichever suits your needs best as they have the same bonus. It can take up to a couple weeks to get the credit card and usually the statement close day is more than a month from the date of application. I would spend a $10 or so on the card but I would hold off on major spending till you see your statement close date and know if it will close in December or January. If the statement close date is in December keep the spend below $400 or $500 to make sure they don’t award you the sign on bonus early.
How Southwest Airline Companion Pass can Create Travel Opportunities for your Family
Southwest Airline Credit Card Application (any card)
What is the Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Airline Companion pass is a pass that allows someone to fly with you for free (fees additional) every time you fly for the year you earn it and the following calendar year. In other words, you get a free flight every time you fly. Southwest Airline Companion pass is one of the best Family Travel Hacking Deals because it can cover a family of 4 flights for 6 or more flights over a possible 2 year period for free. Once you have your flights covered it’s easy to book a cheap family vacation to any destination Southwest Airline flights. Family Travel Hacking can also help you cover your accommodations at some amazing places.
The companion pass can even be used on award fare so you can book your flight with miles and add your companion essentially booking (2) flights for only the cost of fees for almost 2 years!
You can earn the Southwest Airline companion pass by flying 100 one-way segments in a calendar year or 110,000 qualifying miles on your Southwest Rapid Reward Account in one calendar year. The pass allows a companion to fly for free (fees are additional) whenever the pass holder flies southwest on the same itinerary. When you earn 135,000 miles you keep them. the Companion pass is a bonus. This means you have 135,000 miles to use toward your flights and your companion flights are free. For families of 4 or more with 2 adults, if both earn a companion pass (2) kids can be companions and the remaining family members can share the pool of 270,000 miles to book flights.
- Do you have a credit score of 730 or above?
- Have you taken out less than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months (this includes store cards).
- You need to earn 135,000 qualifying miles in the same calendar year. There are 2 options to get there:
- Take out Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card currently has an 80,000 rapid reward sign-on bonus. Minimum spending is $5,000 which would earn you a total of 85,000 points. Southwest offered anyone with a rapid account 25,000 rapid reward points this year which would take you to 110,000 so you would only need 15,000 more points which you can earn by spending or through friend referrals.
- Take out Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card for 80,000 and Southwest Airlines’ personal credit card for a 75,000 bonus. Meet min spending after January first. This will earn more than the 135,000 points needed to earn the pass.
- if you need more points to earn a companion pass. Options can be a combination of to earn the pts
- All pts earned from min spending will count if spent during the same calendar year. the personal card is currently offering 3x on restaurant purchases.
- fly southwest and earn miles.
- using their hotel or restaurant portals to earn points (Be careful hotels are sometimes priced higher in here)
- use Southwest Airline’s shopping portal- similar to Rakuten to earn miles.
- refer 3 friends if they apply and are approved you earn 10,000 miles per person.
How the Southwest Companion Pass will Create Travel Opportunities You?
Southwest Airline Companion Pass is good wherever southwest flies (99 destinations in 40 States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America and Caribbean). Have you ever wanted to visit all 50 States? This is a good way to work toward that goal. Have you always wished you could get away for cold winters for even just a long weekend? Have you found an amazing deal on a hotel or all-inclusive, but flights were just too much. Ever wanted to visit friend or family in another state but flights were too expensive. For us the Southwest Airline Companion pass provided opportunities to travel we would not have otherwise done. We were able to book 7.5 trips in the 18 months that we have southwest airline companion pass and helped us travel on over 12 trips in 12 months! Here’s my trip report from these trips.
- Orlando (twice): Universal studios and WDW And Legoland
- Jamaica (twice)
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Atlantis, The Bahamas (Twice)
- LAX 1 Way for Disneyland
Not sure if you’re ready to take out multiple credit cards?
I was hesitant as many are to dive into the world of travel hacking (obtaining credit card miles and points obtained largely from credit card sign on bonuses to travel for cheap or free). I decided to commit to it for one year as sort of an investment and it has made a very positive impact on my families lives. We have traveled so much more, and experiences places we may not have otherwise prioritized. Of what I have obtained so far through credit card travel rewards the Southwest Airline Companion Pass is by far the most beneficial.
It only required you to take out (2) credit cards with relatively low annual fees. Before the 1-year mark you can cancel the credit cards and keep the Companion pass and all your miles till the companion pass expires, though you may decide to keep the credit card to continue to earn miles on purchases, miles you can use toward your travel. Believe it or not taking out credit cards can increase your credit score as it has with mine.
What’s the Catch?
The Catch is you need to earn 135,000 miles to earn the companion pass. But there are things to consider which will be discussed in the next section.
How can I earn a Southwest Airline Companion Pass?
The easiest way to earn Companion pass is through applying for the Southwest Airline Business credit card (cc) and a southwest airline personal credit card, meeting min spend, possibly earning some additional miles as needed to earn 135,000 miles in the same calendar year.
Some things to consider:
Obtaining the cards
- You must qualify for both cards
Chase has specific rules. You must be under 5/24 which means you cannot have taken out 5 or more credit cards (by any bank) in the last 24 months.
- Chase only allows 2 cc applications in 30 days
- Chase also can be stricter than other cards and require a higher credit score. I think 750+ is ideal.
- It is not recommended you take out credit cards if planning to apply for a large loan or mortgage in the upcoming 6 months.
Costs Associated with the card.
- Annual fees for (2) personal credit cards are $69 and $99. For the Business card it is $199.
- You must meet minimum spending for both cards within the spending period. The current spending minimums to earn the sign on bonus is a total of $6,000 between the 2 cards ($5k business and $1k personal and this would need to happen in 3 month period with $2,000 saved for after the December statement close if you plan on earning it in early January.
- Depending on the current offer you may have to spend more than just the minimum spending to earn the companion pass. Current offer gives you 75000 miles for personal Southwest Airline cc when you hit min spending with the Business card bonus at 80,000 miles that means you won’t have to spend more at this time.
- If you do need more points You can do this by simply refer someone people if a referral bonus is available, spending another $10,000 on the Southwest Airline credit cards, using the shopping portal, flying southwest on a paid fare or any combination. Or wait for enhanced bonuses like for the performance business cc which sometimes offers an 80,000 mile bonus if you meet min spending.
- You pay fees for all passengers whether using points or companion pass you pay airport fees. In the US this is $11 round trip ($5.50 one way). In the Caribbean, central America and Mexico the fees are higher ranging from $80-$120 per person. Puerto Rico is only $11 since it is a US territory. If traveling outside the US, you will need a passport. If you don’t have one you have to consider the investment especially for an entire family it can be a large cost.
What if I don’t Quality for a Business Credit Card?
Most people assume they do not qualify for a business credit card, but Many can apply as a sole proprietor. If you tutor, sell crafts, sell on resell sites there’s many things people do every day that constitute a business. If you do not qualify for a business card, maybe consider starting a small side business or you can consider earning the 40,000 miles to put toward your travels, however in this case you would be better offer earning Chase ultimate reward points which can be transferred to many different partners including southwest.
You can also keep your eyes peeled for a companion pass offer which is occasionally offered through the southwest credit card for one year as a sign on bonus.
Is it worth $268 in annual fees?
If you use the passes and miles, it is. We used miles and companion passes to cover over $5,000 in flights in less than a years’ time. This was for 2 companion passes so we invested $536 in annual fees. In addition the cards now provide early bird and A boarding benefits that are wonderful for families who no longer qualify for family boarding.
If you have Questions head to the AffordableFamilyTravel.com Crew on Facebook we are happy to answer any questions you may have or help clarify the process.
How do I apply:
You can apply for the Southwest credit cards using my referral link here.
I do not receive any compensation for sharing this information with you. However, I may receive a referral bonus for those approved for credit cards using my referral link. Please help support my blog by using my credit card referral links when applying for credit cards. These referral points allow us to continue to travel and share our experiences with everyone.
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