By John Chavez
By now, most of you have heard about one of air travel’s greatest deals: the Southwest Companion Pass.
The pass lets you bring 1 person with you to fly free for up to 2 years, and it’s key to Lyn’s recommended path to fly free.
So if getting a Southwest Companion Pass is on your radar, I’ve come up with a few fun ways to use your pass that you might not have thought of…
5 Creative Ways to Use the Southwest Companion Pass
1. Play Ball!
Baseball fan? Why not use it to see your favorite team play or even catch them during spring training?
One year, my wife and I attended my favorite team, the Dodgers’, Phoenix site using our Southwest Companion Pass. Yes, we got to see the Dodgers in March, cheering them on, and helping them ease the pain from their World Series loss to the Astros in 2017. (Of course, only to witness them lose their second consecutive World Series against the Red Sox in October. Oh well, we’ll get ‘em next time!)
A trip to Florida or Arizona for Grapefruit and Cactus League games is the cure for the cold weather blahs or head to a big city to see your team play throughout the year.
2. Let’s Go to Europe…
With the Southwest Companion Pass, my wife and I can fly to a major city city, like Boston or New York, and get a much cheaper airfare than from LA (where we live) to fly to Ireland, Iceland or continental Europe.
Lyn’s favorite way to fly to Europe on miles is on Aer Lingus for only 26,000 miles round-trip per person (here’s how to do that), but you have to fly from a major city like New York, Chicago or Boston to take advantage. Companion Pass to the rescue!
Since most of my family is on the West Coast, this is also a good opportunity to visit East Coast cities on a one- or two-day layover before crossing the pond. My wife really wants to visit Boston (on principle, as a Dodger and Rams fan, I have some problems with this, however ;-)), and Lyn did this on her way to Rome (via Dublin) on Aer Lingus this year, spending a few days in New York City on the front end and Brooklyn on the back end.
Either way, you can use your Companion Pass to leverage cheap flights to Europe. As they say in Reykjavik, when describing a pleasant surprise — like using your Companion Pass for creative travel — Rúsínan í Pylsuendanumor, or “it’s the raisin at the end of the hot dog” (I guess this is the Icelandic version of “icing on the cake.” ;-)).
3. Fly to Latin America or the Caribbean
For those of you who want to fly direct, the Companion Pass will take you directly to other exotic — and warm — locales. Who wouldn’t want to go to Mexico, Aruba, Nassau or Jamaica, to name a few, especially when we’ve had enough winter weather?
Last February, my wife and I flew from LAX to sunny Cabo San Lucas (read my tips for the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas) for $250 total using the Pass. I know, I’m supposed to say the highlights were walking the beautiful beaches at sunset, taking a boat ride to the stone formation known as Los Arcos (The Arches) or strolling the picturesque downtown. But I really loved the tacos at Tacos Gardenias. Dos mas, por favor!
4. Visit Your (Expensive) Kids in College
Ok, real talk: college is expensive. We try to save as much money as we can to put our daughter through university. So, I’m very familiar with black bean soup, roasted potatoes (ping me for a foolproof recipe) and reading newspapers in the library. Yup, I’m living the life.
But… a fun way to save, win Parent of the Year AND benefit from spending all that $$$$ on your kid, is to use your Companion Pass to visit the kids in school!
My wife and I have visited our daughter for the last two years in the Big Apple during parents’ weekend. We get to stroll by ivy-covered buildings, tailgate before the big game, have the rain dump on us in the grandstands — and then do some sightseeing.
We look forward to this every year, when we can visit the Guggenheim Museum and listen to Jazz at Lincoln Center. If we have time, we’ll visit ground zero for hipsters: the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn. I can almost taste that organic kambucha now…
5. What Else? Visit Hawaii!
Our family was waffling about getting the Companion Pass until we remembered that Southwest now finally flies to Hawaii. Living on the West Coast, I imagine us taking long weekends to the Aloha State. Diamond Head, loco mocos and our favorite diner, Eggs ‘n Things in Waikiki, are now a flight away.
Using the Southwest Companion Pass for this tropical vacation has to be one of the best values in travel!
So, how will you creatively use your Southwest Companion Pass?
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