N and I are, in all fairness, travel eccentrics. We will jump at all possibilities to take a break from our compulsively monotonous routine life to hit the road, air, water – whatever. N is, appallingly, always on top of things when it comes to everything regarding acquiring travel points, making extra airline miles, choosing airlines that will reap us said benefits and the list goes on – I am not bragging, I am genuinely shooketh at his up-to-dateness! During one of our mindless games of verbally throwing the dart at the next vacation spot, we stumbled upon an offer that eased out our planning for the years of 2018-2019.
Southwest Companion Pass
south·west com·pan·ion1 pass1
/ˌsouTHˈwest/ /kəmˈpanyən /pas/
1. An authorization that allows you to bring along an additional person of choice for (almost) free on any Southwest flight (Internationally, too!).
The pass allows the travel of two passengers at the cost of one. All you need to pay are the taxes and fees and you are good to fly. Especially, when you are looking to travel using Rapid Rewards Points, you are in all intents and purposes, travelling for free with a companion. But this is the denouement, the curtain close, the conclusion to our story. Getting to this finale took us 2 credit cards, 6 months, and 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points. Fasten your seatbelts because we are ready to take off into the journey to the pass.
To obtain a Companion Pass, one of the methods was to accumulate 110,000 Rapid Rewards points within a calendar year. Let me elaborate with my bookkeeping.
I apply for a Chase-Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card in October. It has an annual fee of $69 and offers a whopping 60,000 points for a spending amount of $2000, in a span of 3 months.
In January, after acquiring my 60,000 points, I apply for a Chase-Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card. This also offered a bonus of 60,000 points for going through $2000 in 3 months. I have to stress on the fact that it fell in place for me with the general rule of only one credit card every 90 days and the infamous 5/24 rule.
By March of 2018, I had in my Rapid Rewards portal, a total of 120,000 points. Cha-ching! Southwest sent me an email asking me to nominate my companion and sent me the pass by mail. This pass was valid for me from the beginning of 2018 until the end of 2019.
Southwest Airlines Photography by @manualoverauto
Let’s do the Math
The pass requires a total of 110,000 Rapid Rewards points or 50 round-trip flights or 100 one-way flights with Southwest. Assuming the lowest one-way fare for a flight is $49, the total amounts to $4900 which is $900 more than the amount spent on both the cards put together. That was my first profit. Additionally, I get to travel with a partner of choice for the year in which I earned my pass AND the following year – two years for two passengers at the cost of one.
Sum and Substance
In a nutshell, the Companion Pass was highly remunerative for us. The Pass was not obtained in exchange for the accumulated 120,000 points but as an incentive for doing so. Timing was key in this case which helped me earn my rewards earlier in the year. Unfortunately, Chase has revised its sign-up bonus rules. So, this exact process is not an option anymore to obtain a Companion Pass. For further details regarding this, I highly recommend The Points Guy – my go-to website for all things travel and points when N is busy. This was definitely lighter on our wallets and heavier on our experiences!