If you travel regularly with your spouse, friend or other special person in your life (or want to travel more), the Southwest Companion Pass can be a great way to save on flights within the U.S., Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It has easily doubled our travel in the last year and saved us a ton of money. Many people assume it will be too expensive or time consuming to get one of their own, but it is actually much easier than you would expect – just another reason why we love the Southwest Companion Pass!
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass allows a designated person to add a companion to any flight that they book with Southwest for free. The pass is a bonus reward for earning 110,000 points with Southwest. It is automatically added to your account once you meet that requirement within one calendar year. The pass is good for the year you earn it and the year after. So ideally, you want to get one at the beginning of the year rather than towards the end. However, even if it takes you an entire year to earn it, you will still get a lot of use out of it the next year!
Why We Love It
1. It allows us to travel WAY more often.
After earning the points needed for the companion pass, you get to keep all of them – that’s 110,000 points! Our goal is to get the most trips possible out of our pass, so we usually try to find dates and locations that are under 10,000 points round trip to visit. The easiest way we have found to do this is by using the map search and flexible dates features on the Southwest Airline’s website and choosing points rather than dollars for the currency when searching. Since we get one of our flights for free, that’s about 11 trips that we only have to pay taxes and fees for (usually about $11 per person).
2. Southwest flies domestic and international.
In addition to the U.S., Southwest also flies to destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the map search mentioned above is not available for international flights, but Southwest provides a list of other countries they fly to on their international page. (Note: taxes and fees for international flights are significantly more).
3. Bags fly free with Southwest (and other perks).
This is another great way to save – not having to pay to check your bags! With Southwest, you get up to two bags for free, plus a carry-on and a “personal item.” You also get a free alcoholic drink on certain holidays. And, you are able to cancel or reschedule your flight with no fee and use those points toward future travel, “as long as reservations are canceled at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure.” Plus, the Southwest team members always seem to be the happiest people at the airport and try to make your flight fun!
4. It is surprisingly easy to get a companion pass!
The Chase Southwest Credit Cards often have bonuses of 40,000 points or more – we got 50,000 for each of our cards! So, if you are able to qualify for two (either the Premier, Plus, Business Premier or Business Plus), you are already very close to your goal!
For more detailed, step-by-step instructions, DOWNLOAD OUR FREE PDF: How to Get a Southwest Companion Pass in 5 Easy Steps (just click the link!)
Using Your Southwest Companion Pass
When you meet the 110,000 point mark, Southwest will let you know that you have earned a companion pass. You may then choose your companion (you can change this up to three times per calendar year).
When you are ready to use your companion pass, book your flight first using points. Then, go to the “my travel” tab and click “add a companion” to book the companion flight. It is important to note that your flights will not be 100% free. There are taxes and fees that you will have to pay that are usually about $11 per person for a round-trip domestic flight. And international flights are significantly more. But, obviously you will still be saving a whole lot using the companion pass even with the taxes and fees!
Once your flights are booked, pat yourself on the back for saving a ton of moolah and set a reminder to check in to your flight 24 hours before your departure, so you get good seats too (Southwest does not have assigned seating).
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And don’t forget to DOWNLOAD OUR FREE PDF: How to Get a Southwest Companion Pass in 5 Easy Steps for more detailed, step-by-step instructions on getting your own pass. And to have more tips and travel inspiration sent directly to your inbox, don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE.