By Nancy McLaughlin

Have you applied for the INCREDIBLE Southwest Companion Pass deal yet? If not, you still have time, but the deal ENDS February 11, 2019!

This easiest-ever offer lets you earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one person fly FREE with you through Dec. 31, 2019, after you are approved for any of Southwest’s personal credit cards and spend $4,000 in the first three months. In addition, they’re throwing in another 30,000 Southwest points that you can use to book FREE flights for you AND your companion. Here are the full details on this unprecedented offer!

Plus, Lyn has ONE BIG TIP you need to know that can help you extend that same pass through the end of 2020.

7 Clever Tips to Get the Most Out of the Southwest Companion Pass

Here are some of my tips, after holding the Southwest Companion Pass for three years, to maximize your own pass as soon as you earn it!

1. Meet the Minimum Spend Quickly

If you’re taking advantage of the current offer to get a Companion Pass, you can get that Southwest Companion Pass in hand as soon as possible by meeting the minimum spend quickly. Then, you can start using it to bring your Companion with you FREE! But how to do that?

Plan to pay for any big expenses using the card right after you receive it, but always be sure you have money in the bank to pay the balance quickly. You don’t want to incur interest on these cards, as they carry a high interest rate, which suddenly makes this offer not such a good deal.

Do you have any large home improvement projects or medical expenses coming up? Paying college or private school tuition? Pay for it with the card! You can also use a service called Plastiq (this is an affiliate link) to pay expenses you can’t ordinarily pay with a credit card like rent, health insurance and car payments, though you cannot pay a mortgage with a Visa or American Express card using the service.

Don’t forget to check out the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal to shop online and earn Southwest points at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Here are more tips to help you quickly meet the minimum spend!

2. Book Tickets in Advance

I always book my tickets as soon as I think I might take a trip, since the price could, and often does, increase on Southwest. You can change or cancel your ticket at any time without a penalty, so you might as well lock in that price as soon as you can. 

If you paid with points and need to cancel and rebook a flight that has dropped in price, the points go right back into your Rapid Rewards account.

If you paid with cash or credit, Southwest will give you a refund in the form of a credit to be used within one year of the original purchase date. The credit must also be used by the person to whom it was originally associated.

3. Enjoy a Quick Trip

My son at LEGOLAND

Do your kids a have a random long weekends during the school year like on Presidents’ Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend?

You might want to consider taking them out of school when they are young for a quick trip to LEGOLAND or Disney. During the off season, lines are shorter and crowds are fewer than during the holidays, spring break or summer vacation. Hotels also tend to be more affordable during the off season.

I’ve traveled with my son to San Diego, Orlando, Las Vegas and New York City for short trips. Or maybe pop out to visit family for a long weekend. Don’t feel guilty about only visiting for a few days, because you can take many of these trips for the price of just one plane ticket with your Companion Pass in hand!

4. Travel to a Special Event

Is your favorite band touring, but not coming to your city? Why not grab a family member and fly to a city where they will be playing and make it a long weekend!

Some Go to Travel Gal readers are even using their pass to travel around the country visiting Major League Baseball and NFL stadiums.

Or use it to attend a family event you’d otherwise miss like a wedding, baby shower or reunion.

5. Treat a Friend to a Free Flight

Have a friend who’s always doing nice things for you? Repay the favor by treating them to a free flight.

Maybe you can visit another friend who lives far away or, better yet, meet them somewhere warm in the Caribbean. In addition to Mexico, Southwest flies to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba and Belize.

Here are more amazing destinations where you can use your Southwest Companion Pass.

6. Bring a Companion on a Business Trip

If your company is paying for you to travel on business, consider adding your spouse, significant other or child as your companion to your flight.

It’s more fun to have someone to explore the sights and sounds of a big city during your off time from work. It’s a growing trend to mix business and leisure (called “bleisure) by bringing family along on a work outing. They can enjoy exploring while you’re working, and then everyone comes together at night. Or perhaps you can extend your trip by a few days before or after to turn it into a vacation with your family.

7. Take a Last-Minute Trip

Do you suddenly have a desire to get away or have you been meaning to visit that high school buddy you promised to connect with during your 30-year reunion? Bring a fellow classmate as your companion and visit them this year! You can search Southwest’s Low Fare Finder for last-minute deals.

Did you apply up for the AWESOME Southwest Companion Pass deal? Share with us how YOU are going to maximize your Southwest Companion Pass!

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