Very Best Things About The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

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The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is arguably the best deal in all of travel. After earning 125,000 eligible points from qualifying sources in a normal calendar year you can bring a companion along on your Southwest Airlines travels usually for just taxes.

The three Southwest Airlines personal credit cards all have offers, though, that allow you to earn a Companion Pass as part of their initial bonus. Specifically new cardmembers are eligible to receive a companion pass and 30,000 points after $5000 in purchases on the card within 3 months of account opening.

Meet the spending requirement and you’ll have a minimum of 35,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points and a companion pass valid through February 28, 2022.

Here are things I love about Southwest’s companion pass:

  • You can add a companion to already-booked tickets. Most any Southwest Airlines flight you’re on is eligible. If your company booked your ticket you can add a companion. If you booked your ticket with points you can add a companion. (The ticket doesn’t even need to have been purchased using your points.)

  • You can add a companion even if the cheap tickets on your flight are sold out. It doesn’t even matter if the fare you purchased is still available or if the price of travel has gone up. As long as there is still a seat for sale on your flights you can add a companion.

  • Doubles the value of Chase points. Points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® transfer to Southwest. If you have a Companion Pass you can book yourself travel using these points, and then add your companion to the flights. That effectively doubles the value of the Rapid Rewards points you’ve just transferred in.

  • You can add a companion online or by phone. When you have a companion pass your reservations will have a link underneath them called “Add Companion.” It’s right under the flight itinerary. Click the link, add the passenger information, and confirm. You’re all set. You can also call Southwest Airlines reservations and ask the phone agent to add your companion. This can be accomplished any time as long as Southwest Airlines is still selling tickets for your flights.

  • You can make changes to a companion itinerary for free. You can cancel or make changes to bookings with a companion. And Southwest Airlines does not have change fees, so the full value of your ticket gets applied to the new itinerary you want to book.

    First cancel your companion’s reservation since they cannot fly without you. Then change your ticket. Once that’s complete you can add your companion to your new booking.

  • Change your companion up to 3 times a year You can designate one person at a time to be your companion, and you can make a change to that designation up to 3 times per year. That means you can have up to four different companions over the course of a year. (Although if you pick the same person twice that still counts as one of your changes.)

    You can choose your initial companion online, just ‘enter companion info’ in your profile. You’re then able to make bookings for your companion when you travel. If you want to change your companion you need to make sure your existing companion doesn’t have any companion pass flights booked. If they do, the companion bookings need to be cancelled. Then just ring up Southwest and ask them to change your companion.

  • This stacks with a free lap infant. I earned my companion pass before my daughter turned two, which meant I could redeem a ticket for myself, have my wife as my companion, and still bring our daughter free.

  • There’s a Southwest card bonus right now that gets you a companion pass — plus over $750 in travel. The value of a Southwest point is effectively doubled when using those points and traveling with a companion on a companion pass, letting you net about $750 in value after earning the bonus on a new card.

  • Use your companion ticket to Hawaii or to Mexico or the Caribbean, Southwest isn’t just a domestic airline operating in the lower 48 states anymore!

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card has the lowest annual fee ($69) and is the one to get if you’re not a regular flyer. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the best card if you’re a regular Southwest flyer — its $149 annual fee brings a $75 travel credit with Southwest and 4 A1-15 upgraded boarding reimbursements per year.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. … and if you have 0 SWA points but you have a CP, you can use you companions points to book yourself a ticket and then bring your companion along with you.

  2. There appears to have another great improvement. I just noticed this on an upcoming trip. A-listers were able to board with the other members on the same reservation (introduced a year ago) but a companion pass booking was treated as a separate reservation and thus didn’t get the A-boarding. Seems like southwest quietly fixed this. Have a flight tomorrow, wife and I plus both kids on companion passes and we all got A16-A19 in order. Amazing. Thank you Southwest.

  3. I just got the card specifically for the companion pass but when I received my welcome packet it didn’t list it as a benefit. Does anyone have any info on exactly when the CP kicks in after the 5K spend?? TIA.

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