For the next 16 months, my little family of three is going to be flying on Southwest for the cost of one ticket every single time we fly, no matter where we fly! As of yesterday we’ve officially earned Companion Pass status, and I am pumped to share how easy it is for you to earn it too.
Back in March, my sorority sister Catherine shared a post about how she and her husband frequently fly for free. The portion of her post that caught my attention the most discussed how they have the Southwest Companion Pass, which is essential a “buy one ticket, get one free” deal (kind of). She continued to detail how she earned the pass and following her actions definitely paid off for us!
This pass allows the pass holder (me) to bring a companion along on the same trip for free. In our situation, I’ve named my husband as my companion, but I can change my companion up to three times while I have the pass. For example, if I want to bring my sister along on a trip to New York, I just simply book my ticket and name her as my companion. If a few months later I want to bring Jamie with me to Alabama, I’ll switch the companion name back to him. After that, I can only change the name one more time. Get it?
This pass is good until the end of the following calendar year. Since I earned the pass this month (July 2014), it’s good until December 31, 2015.
The pass is earned one of two ways. Flyers must either (1) earn 110,000 points between January 1st and December 31st or (2) complete 100 one-way flights (or 50 round-trip flights) between January 1st and December 31st. We earned this pass by earning 110,000 points in one year (*ahem* in six months!).
There’s a bunch of different ways that a flyer can earn 110,000 points. Here’s how we did it.
1.) In January 2014 we applied and were approved for the Southwest Premier card. The key is to apply when they are offering 50,000 bonus points instead of their usual 25,000. This card rewards a spender with two points for every $1 spent.
2.) Once we received our card, we had to spend and pay off a certain dollar amount in three months (I believe it was $2000) in order to receive the 50,000 bonus points. If you read my post about how we almost always fly for free from a few months ago, you remember that we put every single purchase that we can on our cards. This includes our cell phone, cable, internet, power, water, tithe, groceries, gas, and all of the little expenses in between. Our car payments, TN mortgage, AZ rent, insurances, yadda yadda unfortunately can’t be paid with a credit card without a big fee (no thanks). Twice a month we pay off the card in full. Within a few days of the card being paid off, the points should be in one’s account.
3.) In May 2014 we applied and were approved for the Southwest Plus card. We also waited to apply when the 50,000 bonus points were being offered. This card rewards a spender with one point for every $1 spent.
4.) Once we received the card, we had to do the same thing as step #2. Badda bing badda boom! Between the two bonus opportunities, we earned 100,000 points!
5.) In order to earn the other 10,000 points, we just had to spend $5,000 on the Premier card ($2,000 of which we’d already spent trying to earn the bonus!).
In a nutshell, we earned the Companion Pass doing what we already do – paying our bills.
Note – We each have a Premier card and a Plus card. During the application processes, we requested a card for both of us so that we could each spend money towards the bonus.
You may remember from my previous flight-related post that we also have the CapitalOne Venture card. We still have it, but we only put a tiny bit on it each month just to keep it active and in good standing.
Now that we’ve reached our goal of obtaining the Companion Pass, we’re back to regularly using the Premier card since we get the most rewards points per dollar spent.
You may be wondering if we have totally screwed up our credit. Legit question, but definitely not. We use creditkarma.com to keep tabs on our credit (it’s free!), and it’s still sitting pretty. I’ve heard that getting a credit card and then quickly canceling it is a fast way to mess up your credit, so that’s why we’re just holding on to all three cards for the time being. We plan to cancel the Venture card and Plus card by the end of next year.
1.) Apply for Premier card during 50,000 bonus time
2.) Earn bonus
3.) Apply for Plus card during 50,000 bonus time
4.) Earn bonus
5.) Charge and pay off a couple thousand extra bucks
6.) Fly for free! Easy peasy.
I mentioned earlier that all three of us will fly for the price/point value of one ticket. To clarify, flyers only get one companion pass. Hadley flies for free anyway until she’s two.
If you have additional questions, give Southwest a call! Also, I encourage you to do your own research before you start this process. I’ve called them three times since starting this process to make sure that this wasn’t all too good to be true (sounds like it, doesn’t it?) and that we were on track for the pass.
Hope to hear about some of you earning the Companion Pass soon!
Read even more here.