This Southwest Companion Pass Strategy for Families Can Save Thousands

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The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most powerful money-saving benefits in the travel world.

This golden travel ticket can help you achieve goals you’ve already considered unrealistic, and it’s now more useful than it’s been in years. Disney World is dropping mask mandates for vaccinated travelers; coronavirus restrictions are disappearing from fun and popular areas (like Hawaii!); spring break impends.

The Companion Pass hasn’t been this easy to earn in more than a year, thanks to current Southwest credit card bonuses (ending March 14, 2022):

From tropical getaways to Thanksgiving with faraway relatives, the Companion Pass can help you achieve nearly any bucket-list travel domestically and throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

And if you’re a family of four or more, the Companion Pass has the potential to save you many thousands of dollars, depending on how often you use it. Here’s how to do it.

Big families can save thousands with the Southwest Companion Pass

Regular APP

15.99% – 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APP

15.99% – 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® through 2/28/23 plus 30,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • With Companion Pass®, every time you fly, your friend can too.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • New! Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • New! Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming.
  • New! 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

You’ve probably heard mention of airline credit cards that offer companion passes, such as the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. These card benefits can be extremely valuable, as they allow you to bring a travel buddy for cheap (usually just the cost of taxes and fees). But in every case, these companion passes are single-use. Once you redeem it, it’s gone.

Read more: 10 airline credit cards that offer companion deals so you can bring along a friend for only taxes and fees

The Southwest Companion Pass is refreshingly different. Once you earn it, you’ve got a specific amount of time to use it (between one and two years, depending on when you earn it), and you can use it as many times as you want.

For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card comes with a Companion Pass® through 2/28/23 plus 30,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. From when you earn the pass until February 28, 2023, you could fly 100 times and bring a companion with you for just the cost of taxes and fees. The more you fly, the more you save.

If you and your partner are flying with two or more children, you could save a bundle by both opening a Southwest credit card to earn the Companion Pass. You can each designate a child as your companion and you’ll have nearly a year of super cheap travel for spring break, summer and winter vacation, and all the holidays in between.

Read more: The Southwest Companion Pass get you nearly free travel with a buddy — here’s how to earn this valuable perk

Plus, you and your partner will each earn 30,000 Southwest points after meeting the spending requirements. Insider estimates Southwest points value to be 1.4 cents each, making 30,000 points worth around $420 in flights. Combined, your family could book $1,680 in Southwest airfare before you’d have to begin paying for flights again:

  • Your family would have 60,000 points ($840 in flights)
  • Your family would have two Companion Passes, effectively doubling the value of your points (another $840 in flights)

Of course, you’d still have to pay taxes and fees for each flight, but those are only $5.60 one-way when flying domestically.

Earn a more valuable Southwest Companion Pass the “hard” way

Regular APP

15.99%–22.99% variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Regular APP

15.99%–22.99% variable APR

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • NEW! Earn 4X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners.
  • NEW! Earn 2X points on rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit.

Instead of earning the promotional pass through these credit card sign-up bonuses, you can instead earn a Companion Pass by earning 125,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year. The benefit of earning it this way is that your pass will be valid through the year in which you earn it as well as the entire following calendar year.

Read more: The best Southwest credit cards of 2022

In other words, you’d receive a Companion Pass valid through December 31, 2023, instead of one that expires February 28, 2023.

The easiest way to do this is by earning the bonus on two Southwest credit cards. Unfortunately, you can only have one personal Southwest credit card at a time, and you won’t qualify if you’ve earned the bonus from one in the past 24 months.

There are a couple of ways to go about opening two Southwest cards.

Option 1. Open two small-business Southwest cards

There are two Southwest small-business cards:

By earning both card bonuses, you’ll be swimming in 140,000 Southwest points. Not only will you earn a longer-lasting Companion Pass, but you’ll have $1,960 worth of Southwest points.

Option 2. Open one personal and one small-business Southwest card

You could instead open one personal Southwest card and the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card.

Again, the Performance Business Card comes with 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. After earning both bonuses, you’d have 110,000 points, plus at least 10,000 points from spending on the card to reach the minimum spending requirement — just 5,000 points shy of a Companion Pass. But you’d also have earned a promotional Companion Pass from opening a personal Southwest card, so you could enjoy its until you managed to earn the remaining 5,000 qualifying points in 2022.

Bottom line

Whether you’ve been itching to complete that trip to Costa Rica, plan to visit grandma for the holidays, or simply want to shake off the cobwebs with an indiscriminate travel spree, the Southwest Companion Pass can be a huge help in cutting costs toward an inexpensive getaway.

Currently, all three Southwest personal credit cards are offering a Companion Pass® through 2/28/23 plus 30,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. If you travel with a family of four or more, this can translate to literally thousands in savings, depending on how frequently you fly Southwest.

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Regular APP

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