Now that you know what the Southwest Companion Pass is/does (BOGO Southwest travel!), all you have to do is EARN IT! Easier said, than done?
NO! I will admit that it takes a little bit of planning, but earning this valuable travel tool is actually much easier than you may think…
Remember, the Companion Pass is earned through flying 100 Southwest flights in a calendar year OR through earning 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. So, while some very frequent travelers may be able to hit that 100 flight mark, most of us should focus our attention on earning 110,000 Rapid Reward points in a calendar year.
And let me focus on the “calendar year piece” – ALL 110,000 points must be earned in a calendar year! Earn 109,999 January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 and then 1 point on January 1, 2017, then NO Companion Pass for you! Make sure to really pay attention and track your points so you don’t lose out on this AMAZING opportunity for BOGO Southwest travel!
Without further ado…
How can I earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards Points?
- Sign-up for one (or two) Chase Southwest Credit Cards
There are 3 Chase Southwest credit cards – the Southwest Premier, the Southwest Plus, and the Southwest Premier Business – and each card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points following $2,000 spending in 3 months.
Opening one (or two) of these credit cards will afford you a significant boost towards the ultimate goal of 110,000 Rapid Rewards points. In his quest for the Companion Pass, my Dad was able to apply for the Premier personal and Premier Business in January 2016. The two applications occurred on the same day, though the second application (Business) required a call to Chase reconsideration to push the application to approval… If you want to avoid speaking with Chase, I would advise spacing out your applications a few (3) months.
While I was able to get approved for both of the personal cards (Premier and Plus) in one day, I think that the Personal card /Business card combo we utilized for my Dad provides a much better chance of approval.
Note: Chase has been strict regarding credit card applications and has been denying applicants who have opened more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months (this includes being added as an authorized user on a spouses account). In addition to the “5/24 rule”, if you have opened multiple Chase credit cards in the last 3 months I would advise you to hold off a little longer as Chase normally won’t approve more than one personal and one business card in a 3 month period.
Denied? Remember the Reconsideration Line!
What does Marriott have to do with the Companion Pass? Well, possibly EVERYTHING, if you have a stash of Marriott Rewards points! Marriott will allow you to exchange your points for either a week or 5 days’ worth of hotel accommodations AND, in addition, will provide you bonus airline miles… including Southwest Rapid Rewards points! Check out the redemption options:
7-Night Redemption Chart:
And the unadvertised 5-Night Redemption Chart:
Redeem 330,000 Marriott Rewards points for 7 Nights at a Category 7 Marriott – earning 120,000 Rapid Rewards points – more than enough needed for the Companion Pass!
Or, if you are short on Marriott Rewards points, you can go for a 5 Night Category 5 Marriott redemption – earning 50,000 Rapid Rewards, which you can combine with one of the 50,000 point credit card sign-ups to [almost] reach the 110,000 point threshold!
- Fly Southwest
Pretty simple here – fly Southwest and earn Rapid Rewards based on the paid fare! You can combine points earned from flying with any and all of the options above and below to reach that 110,000 Rapid Rewards point threshold!
- Spending on Southwest Credit Cards
Spending money with a Southwest credit card is a great way to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards that count towards the Companion Pass! All three of the Southwest Credit Cards – the Southwest Premier, the Southwest Plus and the Southwest Premier Business – offer the same earning structure:
2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Other options –
Shopping Portal – Shop through the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to earn bonus points on your purchases.
Dining Rewards – Sign-up for Rapid Rewards Dining Program and earn when you eat!
Concert Tickets – Shop concert and sports tickets through ScoreBig and earn bonus Rapid Rewards points!
Flower Purchases – Purchase Flowers for a special occasion and earn bonus Rapid Rewards in the process!
Choice Hotel Point Transfers – Redeem 6,000 Choice Hotel points for 1,800 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
Travel Partners – Travel with Southwest Travel Partners and earn bonus Rapid Rewards Points.
Surveys – Give your opinion, get Rapid Rewards!
HEADS UP! Points Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards are a great way to build your Rapid Rewards Balance, but the transfers DO NOT count towards the 110,000 Rapid Rewards point requirement to earn the Companion Pass!
110,000 Rapid Rewards is a large chunk of points to earn – BUT it is worth it to, given the Companion Pass can be worth thousands of dollars’ in Southwest travel! Study the list above, make a plan to hit that threshold, and then enjoy the Companion Pass for a year (or more)!
Have questions on the Companion Pass – How to earn it? How to use it? And is it right for your current travel situation? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment below, or comment on Facebook!
Happy (BOGO Southwest) Travels!