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Unlocking Savings with the Southwest Companion Pass

Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass is more than just a ticket; it’s a gateway to significant savings on travel. If you know the right steps to earn and leverage it effectively, you can enjoy substantial benefits. By flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or accumulating 125,000 points in a calendar year, you can access this pass. This allows you to choose a companion to fly with you for free (excluding taxes and fees) for the duration of the pass. The challenge lies in strategically earning points and managing your bookings to maximize value.

Understanding the Companion Pass

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass lets you select one person to fly with you at minimal cost on any Southwest flight. The pass is valid from the moment you earn it through the end of the following calendar year, potentially offering nearly two years of reduced-cost travel.

To earn this benefit, you need to accumulate 125,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards points or fly 100 qualifying one-way revenue flights in a calendar year. While it might seem daunting, frequent flyers and those who leverage Southwest’s partner programs and credit card bonuses can achieve it.

An added flexibility is the ability to change your designated companion up to three times each year. This means if your travel buddy changes, your pass adapts with you. Plan these changes carefully to make the most of this benefit.

Earning the Companion Pass

To secure the Companion Pass, you must fly 100 one-way qualifying flights or accumulate 125,000 qualifying points within a calendar year. Here are strategies to help you accumulate those points:

Maximizing Credit Card Bonuses

Using Southwest credit cards strategically can help you accumulate points quickly. Here are a few tactics:

  1. Sign Up for High-Bonus Credit Cards: Look for cards offering large welcome bonuses. For instance, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card sometimes offers up to 120,000 bonus points.
  2. Leverage Business Expenses: If you own a business, use a Southwest business credit card for expenses. These cards offer substantial welcome bonuses and allow you to earn more points per dollar spent on business categories.
  3. Take Advantage of Annual Bonus Points: Some Southwest credit cards offer additional annual bonus points, adding up to 10,000 points each year.
  4. Optimize Spending on Bonus Categories: Utilize cards that offer multiple points per dollar on categories like travel, dining, or Southwest purchases to accelerate your progress.

Booking Flights With Points

Booking flights with points maximizes the value of your Companion Pass and offers unparalleled travel flexibility. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into Your Southwest Account: Search for desired flights and select the option to pay with points.
  2. Plan Ahead: Secure award seats during peak travel periods by planning in advance.
  3. Manage Availability: Keep an eye on the availability of award seats to ensure you and your companion can travel together.

Designating Your Companion

Once you’ve earned your Companion Pass, designate your travel companion through these steps:

  1. Log In to Your Account: Visit and sign into your Rapid Rewards account.
  2. Navigate to the Snapshot Tab: Find the “Choose Your Companion” option.
  3. Enter Companion Details: Provide the necessary details about your companion and confirm the information.

Managing Companion Bookings

Efficiently handle your Companion Pass bookings by logging into your Rapid Rewards account and following these steps:

  1. Navigate to Upcoming Trips: Select the “Add Companion” option.
  2. Verify Trip Details: Confirm the details match up.
  3. Enter Payment Information: Pay only for the taxes and fees for your companion’s ticket.

Tips for Companion Travel

To make the most of your Companion Pass, consider these tips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Book reservations early to secure preferred seats.
  2. Use Online Tools: Utilize the “My Trips” section on Southwest’s website for easy management.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep updated on policy changes to avoid surprises.

Final Thoughts

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can enjoy numerous travel opportunities and significant savings. By strategically earning points, booking flights smartly, and managing your companion bookings, you can maximize the benefits and create memorable travel experiences.

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