OK.. before we get going: I want to preface this post by mentioning I know how much trouble people can get into with credit cards, so I am ONLY recommending using a credit card if you are repsonsible enough to pay it off every month. There are absolute perks to take advantage of out there with various cards, BUT make sure you’re making smart money decisions and not racking up debt. Trust me, I did that in my early 20s and it was definitely a huge mistake that I had to learn from!
Sounds like I am getting on my soapbox a bit, but just trying to be upfront and honest with you… I’m not a financial guru, but my husband is [he double majored in accounting and finance in college], and for as long as we’ve been married we have paid our card balance off every month and it has served us well, so this is just MY experience and I hope this helps for any of you out there considering a Southwest Rapid Rewards Card.
I mentioned in late December how both Jeff and I had earned enough points on our two Southwest cards to get Southwest Airlines Companion Pass for both Caroline and Carson during the 2022 calendar year which means this entire year, they will fly for free on Southwest flights… sounds too good to be true, but it’s legit and a “perk” totally worth it for us. To keep this straightforward and simple, I’m sharing my tips + tricks for earning your very own Southwest Companion Pass:
The Companion Pass is a benefit offered by Southwest that allows you to bring one person to fly with you free of charge for an entire year [excluding taxes and fees which start at just $5.60 per flight].
There are so many frequent flyer programs out there so it can be overwhelming to see which would be most beneficial… since we travel a good bit for work and personal, it made the most sense to sign up with Southwest since they fly to so many destinations from Nashville AND also fly to Hawaii, Mexico and other Caribbean islands which has a nice ring to it as well!
The bottom line: you’ll need to earn 125,000 qualifying points throughout the year OR take 100 qualifying one-way flights to earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.
There are a number of ways to make it happen, but here is how it worked for us. We have one joint account for our family and then I opened up a separate account for my business, which is how we both earned a free flyer for 2022.
Pro Tip: Throughout the year, Southwest offers sign-up bonus offers where you can earn a ton of free points, so be sure to check out current promotions before you sign on the dotted line.
You can earn points in a few ways: including booking flights, using a Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card, receiving qualifying points through car rentals and hotel bookings, and purchasing through rapid rewards dining and shopping partners = another huge win that helped me cross that threshold late last year.
You can also earn points every day just by utilizing Rapid Reward Shopping Online. I downloaded the shopping extension so I get a pop-up reminder when I visit certain websites I shop at regularly, including Target, Lululemon, Amazon and more. All the points get added to your account within a few days and sometimes double and triple points are activated so another easy way to grab additional points!
You can enroll in Southwest’s Basic Rapid Rewards Program on their website. This is super easy, too. All you have to do is fill out their required forms for creating an account, and it’s completely free. In addition, to sign up for the Rapid Rewards Credit Card, you can apply on their website. I’ll be honest: unless you fly Southwest on a weekly basis, getting the Rapid Rewards Card is going to make racking up those points a lot easier to get you to the 125,000 tier, too.
a. Remember that your credit card points won’t appear in your account until a few days after your monthly statement closes, and any points from flying won’t post until a few days after you take the trip. Again, timing is everything to earn the Companion Pass and utilize it for as long as possible.
b. Flights: When you use your southwest card to buy a Southwest flight, you will earn 2 points per dollar which adds up quickly, so if possible try to book all flights within a given year on Southwest to score more points!
c. Hotels/Rental Cars… you will also earn extra points when you use your card to book hotels rental cars through Rapid Rewards partners = I always check the Southwest app and/or website for the brands with the highest points.
d. Bonuses: One thing is to look out for is a sign up bonus. This is when you automatically get a certain amount of points just for signing up for the credit card and/or activating certain promotions [accessible through your Southwest dashboard].
e. Timing is everything! Once you reach the requirements to earn the Companion Pass, you get it for the remainder of that calendar year plus the entire following year. If you can time it to where you qualify around the beginning of the year, you will be getting the maximum amount of time to enjoy the benefits of the pass = almost two years in total!
a. Transferring Points… this is an important one! Points earned from other credit cards are not eligible for the Companion Passs, so while some other cards will give you the option to transfer to your Rapid Rewards account, they will not count towards your 125,000.
b. Multiple Southwest Cards: If you already have a Southwest consumer card, you are not able to qualify for another one. You are required to wait at least 24 months before you will be approved for another Southwest Credit Card due to the sign-up bonus perk program.
c. Buying Points: Yes, you can purchase points, but these will not be eligible for the companion pass, so don’t waste your money!
I know, it’s A LOT of information, but I hope this proves to be helpful for anyone out there who loves to travel and wants to bring their bestie, significant other or family member with them on all their adventures for free. Life is meant to experience the fun with those you love and the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is already helping us plan for one jam-packed 2022 full of fun and lots of travel! I think it’s time you start collecting memories, not things ;).