If you are unfamiliar with Southwest’s Companion Pass then you need to get antiquated! I found out about it late last year, did research and jumped on the bandwagon to curve our Wanderlust all the while saving tons of money. Now to get to Companion Pass status can be a little intimidating. One must gain 110,000 miles in a calendar year or fly 100 one-way flights! Want to know how I got mine? You definitely have to be disciplined. The absolute quickest way to gain those miles are to apply for Southwest credit cards (unless you have A LOT of flying to do, then by all means). They have a great offer going on with their Premier Card where you can gain a bonus 50,000 points by spending $2000 within the first 3 months. This offer seems to be offered all the time from what I can tell. They also have a Plus Card that can occasionally offer the same bonus deal, but not always. Lucky for you they have the 50,000 bonus point deal going on right now (as of 8/2016). If you notice that the deal is over, you can find a friend with a Southwest Plus Credit Card who can send you the deal that Southwest occasionally sends card members to share with friends and family. With that, your friend will also get points for referring you, 5,000 to be exact, and they only get those points if you earn the minimum $2,000 in the first 3 months. Mind you, there are some cost involved with the cards, a yearly fee of $99 for the Premier and $69 for the Plus. Pictured below are screenshots of the perks you can with each card.
Premier Card: $99 annual fee
Plus Card: $69 annual fee
So let’s get to business and break all this down. First, if I was you I would apply for the Plus card first if they are offering the 50k bonus, as this deal in this specific cards is known drop down to 25k. Trying to spend $2000 in the first three months can be tricky, but if you use the card to pay for everyday items such as gas, food and then pay your bills using the card then it can add up quick. I think of the card as my debit card; if I used it, then at the end of the day I would add up my transactions and pay the card. This worked very well for me and I was able to apply for the second card within a few months. I did the same thing with the next card, which brought my Rapid Rewards just over 106k. In addition to the card, I gained miles other ways; you can look at Southwest to see the different ways to gain more points, which are awesome seeing as you don’t need to spend any money to gain some of these points. However, be sure to read the fine print on which points will count towards the Companion Pass as some of these points will not. The three that I know that specifically go towards the Companion Pass are; e-Rewards, e-Miles (my personal favorite), and Valued Opinion. Again, e-Miles is my favorite and I had the most success with it. Other ways that you can gain points quickly are flying, of course. As noted in the photo’s above, you gain 2 points/$ you spend on a Southwest flight! In addition, you gain points for just flying; see photo below.
It took 2 months longer than I expected to gain the remainder of the points I need to hit 110k, but on August 4th it happened! I was over the moon! And now my son flies with me for FREE until December 31, 2017, well, all for under $200 (I’m factoring the annual fee’s). I’m not counting the money that I charged to my card as I pay my bill before it is due, thus eliminating any interest rates. Within your time of travels with your companion, you will have to pay the 9/11 security fee, which is about $11.20 RT. But really, don’t let that stop you. 😉See how you can have someone fly with you for FREEClick To Tweet
When I first heard about this I was extremely scared to take it on thinking that I was just going to put myself in a financial bind. But I am so happy that I did as it will now open up a door for us to explore more out of our typical element. And I’m still looking into other airline deals if it means I can fly cheap. Just like my post about getting cheaper tickets through Spirit Airlines. If I can get tickets for under $40 round trip then I’m all about it! To get the most out of the points that I have earned, I will aim for getting flights that are around 2k-5k points one-way, if at all possible. So needless to say, be on the lookout for more adventures in new places from me!