There’s no denying it. I’m a huge fan of Southwest Airlines. As a family of five, there’s almost no cheaper way to travel domestically.
On top of that, the Southwest Companion Pass is an extremely lucrative and lofty goal that you can reach with credit card bonuses.
Companion Pass 101
- To get the Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.
- Certain activity won’t count towards your 110,000 mark (like transferring points from your Ultimate Rewards account). However, other activity does count (like points earned through credit card spending and credit card sign up bonuses as well as points transferred into Southwest from your hotel points).
- Once you earn the Companion Pass, it will last until December 31st the year after you earn the pass. Thus, passes earned now would last until December 31st, 2015.
- You can take your companion with you anytime you fly on Southwest (award ticket or revenue ticket), and they only pay the taxes and fees.
- You can change the person you designate as your companion up to three times in the time you have the Companion Pass.
Imagine it. Every time you fly in the next 23 months you could take someone with you for free.
That must be really hard to accomplish, right?
Right now Southwest is currently offering up to 50,000 bonus points if you sign up for the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
- Get 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months of opening your account.
- Get 6,000 points every year after your Cardmember Anniversary.
Currently, those 50,000 miles are worth about $844 worth of flights. However, starting March 31st, you’ll only be able to get $720 worth of flights.
If a person were to get both the personal Southwest card and the Southwest business card with a 50,000 point sign up bonus, they’d only be short 10,000 Southwest points from getting a Companion Pass.
You can earn the remaining 10,000 points by transferring points from your least valuable credit card point program to a hotel partner program with Southwest.
Here are a couple of examples:
- You can transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,000 Choice Privileges points. From there, you can transfer 6,000 Choice Privileges points into 1,800 Rapid Rewards Points. It’s a pretty painful way to get your final 10,000 points, but you may want to do this to top up a few last points.
- 30,000 Marriott Rewards points will transfer to 10,000 Rapid Rewards points. Marriott is a transfer partner (1:1) of Ultimate Rewards.
You can also earn the 10,000 points by buying hotel points and then transferring them to Southwest.
You can buy 30,000 Marriott points for $375.
You can also earn the remaining points by manufacturing $10,000 worth of spending.
Buying Visa debit cards at your local grocery store or electronic store would cost $5.95 per $500. As such, you’d need to buy 20 cards (preferably not at once) and spend $119 in fees. From there, you could upload the cards to your BlueBird account.
This is the cheapest way, but also the most labor intensive.