Reader Request: Help us Get Southwest Companion Pass

At longtime reader by the name of Don sent me a request:

My wife has 70,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.  She has the Southwest Personal Premier credit card.  We want the companion pass.  Have to get 40k points by December.  How would you do it?

Thanks for reading, Don.  I’m happy to answer your question!

Southwest Plane 320
Don is looking to help his wife earn a Southwest Companion Pass so that he can fly free with her on any Southwest flight she takes.

It seems that Don is familiar with Southwest’s Companion Pass, but some readers may not be, so let me start with a couple background notes.

I haven’t written about the Companion Pass in the past because it’s more of a general perk versus being honeymoon-specific.  It’s actually an excellent travel perk for newlyweds to pursue as many couples like to travel extensively the first few years of marriage, perhaps before kids might enter the picture.  With Southwest’s recent and ongoing expansion into the Caribbean the Companion Pass’ value has increased in my opinion.

Don’s request has prompted me to write two posts on this topic: An overview of the Companion Pass and this post, which is a specific response to Don’s question.

Be sure to check out my Companion Pass overview post to learn how the Companion Pass works, various ways to earn the necessary points and how to maximize use of it.

My Advice for Don and His Wife

Don, my first piece of advice is to double-check that the 70,000 points you mentioned were all earned this calendar year.  Unfortunately a lot of folks get snookered by this element of the program and think that they’re about to earn Companion Pass when in reality a good number of the points in their account are from previous years.  Southwest’s account SNAPSHOT screen presents status in a nice, concise display.

Summary Screen
First step for Don and his wife: Check the account summary screen on Southwest.com to verify how many Companion Pass-qualifying points she’s earned. Some folks get confused and look at total points in their Southwest account but points earned before the current calendar year are ineligible.

If your wife has earned all 70,000 points this year, then she’s well on her way to Companion Pass!

My next bit of advice is to list out upcoming Southwest flights your wife plans to take.  Price them out, with a close eye on the different fare options.  Wanna Get Away fares are cheapest so the natural inclination of most folks is to simply book the Wanna Get Away fare without even looking at the Anytime or Business Select fares.  However, in certain cases that can be the wrong move.  Because you earn Rapid Rewards points at a rate of 6 per base fare dollar on Wanna Get Away, 10 per base fare dollar on Anytime and 12 per base fare dollar on Business Select fares, it makes sense to book the Anytime or Business Select fare if the price of them is close to or just slightly more than the Wanna Get Away fare.  In this example, the Anytime fare costs $53 more than the Wanna Get Away fare but earns more than double the points.

Fare Example
For some flights the difference in price between a Wanna Get Away fare and an Anytime fare may be small enough that it’s worthwhile booking the slightly higher priced Anytime fare to get the significantly higher number of Rapid Rewards points.

If your wife has quite a few flights slated for the remainder of this year it might be possible to cross that threshold with points earned from flights alone.

For most folks though that sort of flight frequency/magnitude would be unlikely so getting to that level will require other approaches.

The simplest and fastest way to get a large number of Southwest points is through a credit card signup bonus.  You mentioned that your wife has the Southwest Personal Premier card but since you didn’t mention her having other Southwest credit cards I presume she doesn’t have the Personal Plus or a business Southwest credit card.  It is very much possible to hold both the Premier and the Plus and even a business Southwest card as well.  (At the moment I have both personal cards.)

Southwest Personal Cards Side by Side
Chase offers two Southwest personal credit cards: Premier and Plus. It is possible to hold both simultaneously. If you apply for both during the same calendar year, and when 50k point signup bonuses are in effect, you will be well on your way to the 110k point threshold for Companion Pass.

The Southwest Personal Plus card has been offered with a public 50k point signup bonus in the past but at the moment it is not.  However, some holders of that card do have a referral option.  The holder can refer new applicants who simply have to call Chase at a special phone number to apply.  The referrer gets a small number of Rapid Rewards points and the referred person gets a signup bonus offer which includes 50k Rapid Rewards points after spending $2,000 within 3 months of account opening.  Don, I do not currently have such a referral offer myself but I reached out to a contact on FlyerTalk and received a referral offer from a poster there.  I’ve sent you that info via email.

If/when your wife applies she may be asked by the phone rep why she wants/needs another Southwest card, given that she currently has the Personal Premier card.  One reasonable answer is that she is looking to use different cards to separate/track different expenses.  She may want to give some thought to that question before calling.

If your wife is approved for the Personal Plus card, the rest is simple – meet the minimum spending requirements for the signup offer and with the 50k bonus points (and another 2k+ points earned from the spending to meet the minimum spend requirement), your wife will have over 122k points even if she doesn’t take another Southwest flight all year!  She’ll earn companion pass for the remainder of this year and all of next year, essentially doubling the value of those points.

As I wrote about in the Companion Pass overview post, there are other means to earn Rapid Rewards points as well.  However the appeal of those methods isn’t high for a situation such as this where your wife is 40k points short of the Companion Pass threshold with less than 5 months to earn them.  Those methods are excellent for someone who is only a few thousand points short of a threshold.

Secure that Companion Pass and Start Planning Some Getaways

I hope the advice here pays off for you and your wife, Don.  As you near the acquisition of Companion Pass, take a look at the Southwest route map and start planning some trips.  If you book far in advance you can get some incredible value out of Rapid Rewards points and of course with a companion flying for free, the value doubles!  Good luck!

SW Route Map
With the Companion Pass in hand you can start planning some trips and Southwest’s route map is looking even more appealing these days with quite a few Caribbean destinations now included.

Do you have other advice for Don and his wife?  Other stories about acquiring the Companion Pass?  Share with us in the comments below!

 

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