So, let's talk...there's this thing & it's the most amazing thing of all things I've ever encountered (this may or may not be an exaggeration, I'm unsure as of this moment). The thing I'm talking about is the Southwest Companion Pass. Don't know what that is? Allow me to educate you: The Southwest Companion Pass is the level of frequent flyer for Southwest that allows you to bring along a companion on any trip for NOTHING. When I say nothing, I don't really mean nothing because you still have to pay taxes and fees, but generally that only amounts to $5.60 (basically nothing).
So the next logical question is "how do you garner this magical pass of amazement"? Well, allow me to educate you on this as well. To gain a Southwest Companion Pass you must have 110,000 frequent flyer miles. Sounds like a lot right? Wrong. See, Southwest allows you to attain frequent flyer
miles a number of ways - not just from flying. I pretty much utilized each way available, to get my Companion Pass. Before we get into how you obtain one of these passes without flying daily, let's go over some ground rules. Like, for instance, how the Companion Pass lasts until December of the NEXT YEAR. So, technically you could have that puppy for two years. That's a lot of flying. You can also switch your "companion" 3 times in 1 year, which leaves the availability to switch it from Bob to MaryAnn and then back to Bob again. If you & Bob break-up you could still switch it to Ruth, no problem - she would be your third switch! Then you could do it all over again in the next calendar year.
Okay, enough of that, let's get to why you're really here - HOW DO YOU GET A A SOUTHWEST COMPANION PASS!? Well, these are the steps that I took to get mine:
1 | Credit Cards
Southwest offers a few different credit cards a few times a year that allow you to gain 50,000 points just by spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Basically, you need to sign up for two 50,000 pointers at once. It's getting trickier to find, but still possible - sign up for 2 at once. Spend the $4,000 (in the first three months of attaining the cards) and you have 100,000 points. Now all you need is 10,000 points. Oh, you're wondering how to spend $4,000 that quickly without doing some insane shopping? Pay your bills with the cards, pay your home insurance, car insurance, boat insurance, & if you're J-Lo you can pay your butt insurance (though she did say in an interview she doesn't actually insure her butt...). Can't find credit card offers like I'm referring to above? Search Reddit or better yet, ask a friend with a Chase Southwest Card if they have a referral link/code/number for one. Both of mine came from Chase. Though, last time I helped someone attain one they had to call a shady phone number from Reddit & pray they were really talking to Chase (they were). Last resort, or maybe easiest resort if you fly a lot; in the Southwest terminal at the airport you will often find a Southwest employee standing behind a kiosk asking (more like begging) if you'd please allow them to explain how you can earn 50,000 frequent flyer miles. They will of course, sign you up for one of these Chase cards.
2 | Buy Flights & Shop
Cool, you now have 100,000 points (50,000 from one credit card + 50,000 from the other)! You still need 10,000 points. When 1 point = $1, that seems like a lot of money to have to spend. Again, wrong. If you've flown Southwest at all in the calendar year, frequent flyer miles you've obtained from those flights count towards your points. Yes, even if you've used the frequent flyer miles to fly somewhere else, as long as they were earned in the calendar year, they count. So maybe you haven't flown recently or maybe you haven't flown enough and you still need a significant amount of points. Any $$ you spend at Southwest on flights gets you 2 points per dollar. So if you have any upcoming vacations, book your flight now. Don't book for your (future) companion though, because once you have your Companion Pass you can simply click a link on your flight online that says, "Add Companion". Still, not enough right - you need more points! Any big purchases in your future? Check out Southwest's Rapid Rewards page. The last people I helped to get a Companion Pass just happened to be about to re-floor their house. It also just so happened that through Southwest's Earning Partners they could get double points on any money spent at Home Depot or Lowe's! Really, it just takes a little forethought and effort and you can make it happen.
3 | Wait.
You've done it, you reached the 110,000 point mile marker! Now you just sit and wait. Your billing cycle has to circulate before the points hit your account, but when they do you receive your pass almost immediately. The pass doesn't cost you points though, so you still have all of those points to spend on flights! Right?!?! Amazing. Don't stop shopping through Southwest or using your cards though, the points just keep rolling in and it makes your ability to Travel Part Time that much easier! Southwest even has this amazing Rapid Rewards Dining Program where you scan your credit card into their website and they scan it to see if you eat anywhere they are affiliated with. If you do, they give you points, you do zero work.
Now, where to fly first? Don't listen to those people that tell you Southwest doesn't fly outside of the United States, they're a bunch of goons. I'd make my first trip to Cancun for a long weekend if I were you! Make sure you check in on time though so you can board first and pick a good seat, preferably next to someone who shares the arm rest and smells delightful! I have a plethora of stories about having no choice over my seat on other airlines....
Note: If you're reading this & deciding whether you should do it, keep in mind that the pass expires, December of the next year. A little extra planning could give you more time with the pass. Give Southwest a call and find out when their calendar year starts - plan to start acquiring points the day of that calendar year so that you can make your Companion Pass last as long as possible.
I have seen people get all 110,000 points, but the points hit their account at the beginning of January. Well, Southwest's calendar year does not start on January 1. So they technically earned their pass the year before even though it was the beginning of January - this means they only got to keep their pass until December of that year (less than a year with the pass). Don't make that mistake, do your research & ask questions!
Disclaimer: No, no one paid me or sponsored me for this post. My disclaimer is just that this was my personal experience & yours may be different. Do your research and cover all your bases so that you can enjoy the luxury of a Southwest Companion Pass too. What you've just read is not set in stone. Southwest is their own entity & the way to attain a Pass could change over time.