Southwest Companion Pass: How to Earn Free Flights on Southwest

Southwest Companion Pass: How to Earn Free Travel on Southwest Airlines

Are you ready to fly free around the U.S with your family, best friend, spouse or any person of your choice? Enter the Southwest Companion Pass!

Flying free is incredibly easy and my goal here at Go to Travel Gal is to show my readers the simplest ways to travel nearly free or save significantly. I want to open the doors of travel to you — whether what’s holding you back is money, time or something else.

One of the EASIEST WAYS to get started flying — and traveling free — is to earn the amazing Southwest Companion Pass, which offers a huge return in the form of travel for just a small investment in time and effort.

In just a few steps, you can be on your way to free flights across the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean!

Southwest Companion Pass

Our family in Beaver Creek, Colorado, after flying free to Denver using the Southwest Companion Pass

How My Family Travels FREE With the Southwest Companion Pass


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Read my article:

How My Family of Four Traveled Nearly Free on Southwest for a Year Using the Southwest Companion Pass 

My family of four flew to 6 destinations with 1 year all for less than $100 per flight for all of us — and you can do it even more cheaply — by using the Southwest Companion Pass.

Over a period of one year we traveled to San Diego; Marco Island, Florida; Anaheim, California; Denver, Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; New York City and Orlando — and we’re still going strong, rarely ever paying for a flight FOR FOUR PEOPLE.

I’ve figured it all out for you, so you don’t have to do any of the legwork. You simply need to download my free guide in the box above, which takes about an hour to read — perfect for your next flight! — to learn the exact process to earn the pass and start seeing all that our great country has to offer.

Southwest Companion Pass

I’ll show you step-by-step how to earn the pass, pick your Companion, accumulate tons of Southwest points and stretch those points as far as possible to extend your travels.

But, before you start reading, I’ve put together an overview of the Pass along with some commonly-asked questions to get you started.

Top Questions About the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Companion Pass 2017

The Southwest Companion Pass has changed my life!

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in travel and one of the easiest ways to begin traveling nearly free. Southwest Airlines allows travelers to bring along one Companion of their choice for up to two years once they have earned 110,000 qualifying Southwest Rapid Rewards points in ONE CALENDAR YEAR (that’s January 1-December 31, folks :)). Rapid Rewards are the loyalty currency for Southwest Airlines.

The trick is earning those 110,000 points. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

It’s actually quite simple to quickly accumulate these points and it can be done in literally TWO STEPS. I’ll show you exactly how in my free guide.

It’s almost too good to be true and that’s why I’ve made it my mission to let as many people know about it as possible!

The Companion Pass is valid from the time you earn it until THE END of the FOLLOWING YEAR. If you earn the pass in 2018, it’s good until the end of 2019. So the earlier in the calendar year you earn it, the longer you will be able to use it. If you earn it in February 2018, it’s good until December 2019, which is almost TWO FULL YEARS. Yes, please!

Please note that while the pass does not require you to pay any money or use any points for your companion, you will have to pay a mandatory $5.60 government security fee per way. That’s the “nearly” free part of it ;-).

Why Should I Earn the Pass?

Southwest Companion Pass

Our family has flown to more than 6 destinations, including San Diego, nearly free using the Southwest Companion Pass!

You should earn the pass if you want to travel more — especially in the U.S. (Southwest only flies internationally to Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean, though with plans for Hawaii!) — but don’t have the money to do it.

Before my family discovered the pass, we took one car trip and maybe one plane trip every couple years. In the first two years we held the pass, we flew to 12 destinations!! Read more about How the Companion Pass Changed My Life.

The other reason I advise earning the pass is because it’s really easy to do! Here at Go to Travel Gal I don’t recommend complicated miles and points scenarios that require you to be a mathematician or spend hours checking for award flight availability.

I look for the simplest and easiest ways to get you and your favorite peeps traveling more. The Southwest Companion Pass is tops on that list for me.

All you have to do is download my free guide, follow the steps and bada bing, bada boom, you’ll have a Southwest Companion Pass in hand, 110,000 Southwest points to spend on free flights and one person who flies free with you, no points or cash needed. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

What Will I Learn in Your Free Guide?

In “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning the Southwest Companion Pass and Flying Free Around the U.S.” I’ll take away all the guesswork and research needed to earn the pass. I’ll show you:

  • The Benefits of Flying Southwest (no change fees, no checked bag fees, anytime award availability)
  • Different Ways to Use the Pass (Retirees, Families, Couples and Singles)
  • A Step-by-Step Walk Through of Exactly What to Do to Get Your Pass
  • How to Book a Flight With Your Companion
  • Planning How You Will Use the Pass (multiple small trips or one big trip)
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Pass
  • A Timeline for Which Steps to Take When
  • Additional Resources Once You Have Earned the Pass

How Exactly Do I Earn the Companion Pass?

Southwest Companion Pass credit cards

While I’ll carefully walk you through the process in my free guide, the basics include applying for 2 of Southwest’s Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards when they have high sign-up bonuses.

Just by signing up for 2 cards, you can quickly net between 90,000 and 110,000 points. That’s either ALL the points you need, automatically qualifying you for the Companion Pass, or between 10,000 and 20,000 points shy of what you need.

There are easy ways to earn those additional points through everyday spending on the Southwest credit cards, starting all shopping at the online Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal, earning points automatically when dining out through Rapid Rewards Dining and even by easy tasks like subscribing to the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s for 3 months for $12 to earn up to 1400 points!

A Note About Credit Cards

To fully take advantage of the ability to travel nearly free, you’re going to have to adopt a positive attitude about credit cards. While most of us have had it drilled into our heads that credit cards are BAD (and, of course, they can be!!), turn your thinking upside down and realize that YOU can leverage credit to YOUR ADVANTAGE.

By properly and responsibly using travel credit cards, you can earn a return on the money you would be spending anyway in the form of free travel. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?! It doesn’t cost you any more and you end up with free trips.

I never advocate getting into debt or spending more on the cards than you have in the bank to cover the charges. I always advise paying your cards off AT LEAST every 30 days, if not every couple days, to keep yourself on top of the spending and OUT of debt.

When Should I Start Earning the Southwest Companion Pass?

Best time to apply for the Southwest Companion Pass

As early in a calendar year as possible is the ideal time to start earning a Companion Pass as it will allow you to use it the longest (through the end of the following year). But so long as you earn your 110,000 points, and thus your Pass, before the END of a calendar year, it will be good for the following year.

I don’t advise starting to collect your 110,000 points anytime after October, because if you DO NOT have all points earned by Dec. 31 AND credited to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account, you’ll have to start all over.

You also want to make sure your credit is at least in the high 600s before trying to earn the pass. If you need to improve your credit, the quickest method I have found to increase your score is to get all balances down to one-third of the credit extended to you. So if you have a card with $1000 credit, get your balance owed down below $333.

It’s also not a great time to earn the Pass if you’re applying for a major loan soon like a mortgage, home equity line or car loan. While inquiries to your credit when applying for credit cards only result in a minor drop of your credit score, you still want to get the best interest rate possible for these loans, which will be affected by your score. So it’s best to wait until after any major loans are approved.

How Long Does It Take to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass?

The process could go as quickly as 2-3 months if you earn the majority of your points through two Southwest credit card sign-ups. Even if you are unable to earn all 110,000 points via credit card bonus points, you can start earning additional qualifying points as mentioned above, such as everyday spending on the cards, which earn 1 point per dollar; the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal; etc.

How Will I Know I’ve Officially Earned the Southwest Companion Pass?

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest will send you an email as soon as you have completed earning 110,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards points. You can then go into your Rapid Rewards account and add your companion, which I show you how to do in my free guide.

You can even change companions up to three times in one calendar year!

After you get your email, Southwest will mail you a plastic card, the size of a credit card, that shows you are a Companion Pass holder and designates your companion. You will need to carry this with you on any flights where your companion is flying with you in case a Southwest employee asks to see it.

Is the Pass Easy to Use?

The Companion Pass is extremely easy to use! Book your Southwest flight online at, ideally using your 110,000 points you have accumulated for free flights.

Within 24 hours, you can log back in, find your scheduled flight and click on the option to “Add a Companion.”

Simply fill out your companion’s info, then pay $5.60 per direction for the government’s mandatory security fee and the Companion is added with no additional point redemption or money required.

Support Go to Travel Gal as Thanks for the Free Guide

Southwest Companion Pass Go to Travel Gal

Thank you for supporting Go to Travel Gal and helping me continue to bring you free content on how to travel nearly free!

I have decided to make this incredibly useful guide — that takes all the research and guesswork out of earning the Southwest Companion Pass — entirely free, because I want as many people to learn about this as possible.

All I ask in return is if you do decide to apply for any travel credit cards after reading the guide that you kindly start at the TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS link in my main menu above. This allows me to earn a commission, at NO COST TO YOU, which helps me pay the blogging bills and continue to provide you with free information.

I sincerely appreciate you taking this step!

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