I described our plan to get the Southwest Companion Pass in my post, The Southwest Companion Pass: One of Churning’s Greatest Prizes, and our goal was completed a few weeks ago. By signing up for 2 credit cards and putting ~$8,000 of our regular spending on them along with booking a Southwest flight, we earned over 110,000 Rapid Rewards Points and the Southwest Companion Pass. Now that we have the pass, any time we book a flight on Southwest (with points or cash), the second person will fly for only the price of taxes ($5.60 each way). The 110,000 points earned along the way are good for 4-5 round-trip tickets, but with the companion pass we double the value! Check below for more detail on how we earned the 110,000 points and how we already used it to book a potential trip later this year.
How We Earned The Southwest Companion Pass
As I explained in a previous post, we decided Becky would be the best one to earn the companion pass because of the timing of the 50,ooo point offers and my recent applications with Chase. Our goal was to earn the pass early in the year, because it lasts for the rest of the year it is earned and the entire next year. Since we were able to earn the pass in March, we get to use the benefits for over 20 months! Once this pass expires, I can earn the companion pass myself and start the cycle over again and in theory we could repeat this indefinitely if the program terms remain the same.
The easiest way to earn most of the the 110,000 required for the companion pass is to utilize credit card signup bonuses. Southwest currently offers 3 different products that commonly have signup bonuses of up to 50,000 (the business card currently has a 60,000 bonus!). Becky signed up for the personal Plus and personal Premier cards about a week apart, each with a signup bonus of 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Any spending on the card earns 1 point per dollar spent, so after earning the signup bonuses, we already had 104,000 points. We earned another ~1,900 miles from a Southwest flight taken in February and earned the last 4,100 from simply putting our regular spending on the Southwest credit cards.
Once the points were earned, we filled out my information online to officially make me Becky’s companion (I’m so happy she picked me!). About a week later, we received a physical companion card in the mail along with a booklet explaining the benefits of the companion pass. While the documentation says we need to bring it with us, I’ve heard they don’t actually require it to check in. I’ll be sure to bring it with us anyway though, because avoiding any possible hassle at the airport is usually a good goal.
How We Plan To Use It
We already booked our first flight using the companion pass for an event we’ll possibly be going to in October. Since Southwest makes cancellations easy and free, if we change our minds between now and then, the points will simply be deposited back into Becky’s account. The flight itself was from SEA->LAS and only cost 16,917 points and $22.40 to get both of us there and back! The cash price of this particular ticket was $288 per person, so we saved over $500 on this trip by using points and the companion pass! The value per point on this trip comes in at just over 3.2 cents per point. At that value, the 110,000 points we earned total would be worth $3,520!
We don’t have plans for the rest of the points yet, but I’m sure we’ll use all of them up by the time the Companion Pass expires at the end of 2016. It’s hard to beat buy one get one free on airplane tickets, so any place we travel in the next 20 months that Southwest flies to, you can bet we’ll take advantage of it.