In my opinion, this is the most amazing deal out there right now. The Southwest Companion Pass is the highest level of status you can get with Southwest. With the pass, your designated companion can fly with you – for free!
One of the incredible things about this offer 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 2013, it will be good for all of 2013 AND all of 2014!!!
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 4 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.
Note: you can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest or they won’t count towards the Companion Pass. A possible workaround is if you transfer 13,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt, then transfer 12,500 Hyatt points to Southwest. This will result in 6,000 Southwest points.
Another note: make sure that you don’t complete the spend on these cards until January of 2013, otherwise you will qualify for the pass in 2012 and only get the remainder of 2012 and all of 2013. What you want to do is qualify in January, then get 2013 and 2014 on the pass.
Yet another note: you can get the business card even if you don’t have a Business ID number – just use your social security number. And remember, a business can be as simple as selling items on ebay!
Last note/caveats: The $69 annual fee is not waived on each card. Also, in the past, credit card sign-up bonuses have always counted toward the Companion Pass…however there is a possibility that this generous practice has ended. Since this current offer is hot off the presses, we won’t know for sure for a few weeks. At worst, you would gain $1,700+ of free travel on Southwest (which I think could only be counted as a good thing).
Last tidbit: Not sure who to choose for your companion? According to the T&C, “Member may change his/her designated Companion and request issuance of a new Companion Pass up to three (3) times within the validity period of the Pass.”
I’m very excited about this offer! Josh and I are both planning to get the pass so that our entire family can fly for free (using points). Yahoo!
How about you?