The most exciting deal in travel, in my opinion, is the Southwest Companion Pass! And the most exciting thing about the Companion Pass is that it is very easy to earn for up to two years if you use the carding method!
What is the Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass means a companion (Alexis is mine) can fly free with you any time you fly on Southwest — whether you purchased your ticket with money or used points for the flight! It’s truly amazing!!
When you get the Companion Pass, you have it for the rest of the calendar year you earned it in and the rest of the next calendar year! If you time it right, you can have it for two years!
How do I get it?
The Companion Pass is awarded after 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points are earned in a calendar year. You then have the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year, as well as the entire next calendar year! My favorite thing is that with this two for one pass, these 110,000 points are effectively 220,000!!! (to put this in perspective, you can get some one way tickets for ~4,000 points)
This can be done the hard way (fly a lot!) or by opening multiple cards — Alexis and I are in our fourth year of having the Companion Pass and we’ve always done it by using cards!
You usually need to open two cards — one of the “personal cards” (Plus, Premier, or Priority) and also a Business card. When you spend a minimum amount of money after opening the card, you will get a huge bonus of 40,000 - 60,000! Currently, the personal cards are offering 40,000 and the Business card is offering 60,000. So you’ll have to earn the 10,000 points another, “harder way,” but these cards will get you very close to the way there!
How should I approach the Carding method?
The first step is to choose which cards you want to sign up for. Southwest allows you to earn a sign up bonus on only one personal card every 24 months, which means that you will need to sign up for one personal card and one business card. My recommendation is below:
Southwest Plus — this is the cheapest of the personal cards ($69 annual fee) and will give you 40,000 points after spending $1,000 on the card; so it’s pretty easy to get!
Southwest Business — this card gives you 60,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card. One thing to note is that you can have a "sole proprietorship” and get this card and don’t need much earnings to qualify. So if you ever have done any freelance / contract work, have sold things, hosted someone at an Airbnb, drove Uber, you name it, you’re going to qualify for this card very easily.
Once you sign up for the cards, you need to hit the minimum spend. My advice for this is to just use the card on things you are already going to buy — don’t go buy things you don’t need or that kind of defeats the purpose of getting all the benefit for free! Here are some good ideas:
Use your new card for everything! Never use another card until you hit that minimum spend! When I’m with other friends that are into carding also, if someone needs to hit this minimum spend, we will let them pay for everyone’s dinner and then Venmo them back.
Pre-purchase things that you would buy soon. Are you getting low on garbage bags or laundry detergent? Can you prepay a few months of your utilities bill (usually yes you can) or your internet? Go for it if that will help you hit your minimum spend!
Pay for rent with your card (a lot of places are free — I wish ours was! Occasionally this will make sense to pay a small fee if you weren’t going to hit the minimum spend on the card to unlock the bonus though)
I have lots of other ideas too — if you want to schedule a consultation with me, I would be happy to help you plan this out!
After hitting your minimum spend, you’ll have 104,000 points — 100,000 from the bonuses and 4,000 from spending the combined $4,000 on the card. This means you only need to earn 6,000 more points and then you’ll have the companion pass!
The fastest way to earn this is flying — you can really rack up those points!
Another fast way is to use Southwest’s hotel booking!
The simplest way is to just continue using your card and earn your points from that. In 2019, it’s unfortunately pretty easy to earn those 6,000 points pretty soon.
How do I use my companion pass?
Using the Companion Pass is really easy! Just book a flight on Southwest for yourself (you can even have someone else book it for you, which I think is really cool).
Once your flight is booked, head to the Upcoming Trips section on Southwest.com and you’ll see my favorite part of the page, the “Add Companion” button.
Press the button and ENJOY YOUR FREE FLIGHT!!!!!! :)