It was the end of December, and my husband and I made a discovery - he hadn't earned his 2022 companion pass through Southwest yet! He flies so much that we have had no problem earning it the past couple years, but with the pandemic he has been flying less. But the pass was super close in reach, less than 1000 points away!
We have a Southwest credit card that also earns us points towards the companion pass, but unfortunately for us the last statement had already closed so we couldn't make any more purchases that would count towards this year. So, we did what any other sane person would do - we bought a $300 ticket for Bjorn to fly up to Oakland and then fly directly back home so we could earn enough points. He didn't check a bag or leave the airport - he didn't even leave the terminal. It was a pain in the butt but it will only take one roundtrip flight with the companion pass to pay off.
What is the companion pass?
The companion pass allows you to travel with one designated person every time you fly for free (aside from fees which are around $12 bucks). You can even switch the designated person a couple times throughout the year. There are no limits or black out dates, no locations that Southwest flies you can't go. You still get two free checked bags, and the check in process is the exact same. If you are familiar with how Southwest does their ticket tiers, there are three different levels of tickets you can buy depending on what kind of refund you want, and if you want to board earlier. There are only a certain number of each type of ticket. "Wanna Get Away" is the cheapest ticket type, but you can still book a ticket with your companion pass even if the "Wanna Get Away" tickets are all booked out. You have to earn 125,000 points in one calendar year to qualify for the companion pass, but there are other ways to get it which I will take about more down below.
My Experience With Companion Pass
I've been flying with the companion pass for years, and honestly it hasn't been any different than flying with a ticket you paid for. I've never been denied a flight, or taken off a flight to allow for a paying customer. When I check in for my flight 24 hours ahead of time (if you are not familiar with Southwest, this is how you get your boarding position since you don't pick a seat ahead of time) I still get great numbers with my husband. Now that we have a baby, I can even add Stella as a lap child with my companion pass ticket. It is such an amazing perk that we have totally taken advantage of, so that is why it was so important for us to get it again in 2022!
How To Get The Companion Pass
Earn 125,000 Points In One Calendar Year By Flying
When you are a part of Southwest's rewards program, you get points for each flight you book directly through Southwest. The amount of points you earn depends on the price, so if you book a more expensive ticket tier you will get more points for the same flight.
Fly 100 One Way Flights In One Calendar Year
Pretty self explanatory - for every one way flight you book you can work your way up to 100 and get your companion pass.
Earn Points Through Purchases On The Southwest Credit Card
If you link a Southwest Chase credit card to your rewards account, you earn points with your purchases that go directly to your rewards points amount. You get 1 point for most purchases, but for special purchases, like Southwest tickets, you get bonus points.
Southwest Credit Card Promotions
One of the years we had the companion pass, we weren't going to earn it through points or flights. At the time, when you open a Southwest credit card and spend a certain amount of money within a certain time frame, you will automatically earn the companion pass for the year. We used the credit card to pay for things we already needed anyway so it worked out great!
Southwest Rapid Rewards Promotions
Keep an eye on promotions available on your account! Once we received a promotion where if we flew 5 one way flights (2.5 round trips) through the rest of the year we would earn the companion pass for the next year. I believe at the time we received this promotion it was October so it was pretty easy for my husband to earn it through flying for work. 5 is a lot less flights than 100! More recently, last year Southwest had a promotion where if you booked a flight and flew before mid November, you would earn the companion pass for two months.
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