I travel a lot + my family frequently travels with me + I’ve got a Southwest Companion Pass.
In theory, this should add up to huge savings for us. When you’ve got a Companion Pass, your designated companion can accompany you for free on any flight, even when you are flying on points.
This is an incredible deal, and my original plan was to really rock it – as a family of four, if Josh and I both got a Companion Pass and each named one of our kids as our companion, we could potentially save thousands of dollars each year.
In practice, however, it hasn’t been that lucrative.
Currently, my daughter is my companion. As all of our family travel this year is planned on other airlines, my Companion Pass benefit is currently worth zero dollars. Luckily, there is an easy way to change that, because your designated Companion can be changed up to three times during the validity period.
For me, my friend Hottie was the clear choice. We travel together frequently – especially since she got into collecting points and miles. 😉 It was easy to make the switch. I simply called Southwest at 1-800-435-9792 and gave the Customer Representative Hottie’s information. (Tip: make sure you have your companion’s Rapid Rewards number handy because you will need it to complete the process).
Once your companion is designated, you can book travel immediately over the phone, or you can wait for your companion to show up in your online account if you would prefer to book online (it only took 20 minutes for Hottie to appear in my account). You’ll receive your new Companion Pass card in the mail within ten business days.
Even though I haven’t rocked this, I still think it’s the best deal in town. Normally, you would have to fly 100 qualifying 1-way flights to earn the pass. However, with the current sign-up bonus of 50,000 points for the Chase Southwest Visa, you can get both the personal and business versions of the card and earn 100,000 points. You need to meet the minimum spend requirement on each card ($2,000/card within the first 3 months = $4,000). Then you can either spend another $6,000, fly Southwest flights, or transfer points from a qualifying program into your Southwest account to make up the difference.
Another one of the incredible things about this deal is that the benefit is good for the remainder of the current calendar year in addition to all of the next calendar year. What this means is that if you qualify for the pass in January of 2014, it will be good for all of 2014 AND all of 2015!
The 50,000 sign-up bonus points are currently worth over $835 in “Wanna Get Away” fares. (After March 31st, they will be worth $710 because the points value is changing from 60 points per dollar to 70 points per dollar, but this is still a ton of bang for your buck.) In other words, if you earn the Companion Pass right now, you can leverage the $1,670 worth of bonus points/free travel to $3,340 in free travel if you use the points to fly with your companion!
This is a huge value for two sign-up bonuses…and it’s especially valuable if you strategically change your companion to align with your travel plans.
Do you have a Companion Pass strategy? How much have you saved by using it?