A few months ago, in my post Insane Deal Alert -How to Get the Southwest Companion Pass Without Leaving the Ground, I wrote about how (and why) to earn the Southwest Companion Pass at the very beginning of this year. Basically, the pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earn it, plus the entire next year. So if you earn the pass in January of 2013, you will have it until December of 2014. This is such an amazing deal that I have to keep wondering if I am missing something. But clearly I’m not, because half of the points I earned from my recent Southwest Visa signups posted today!
I applied for both the business and personal versions of the Premier card in November of 2012, when the sign-up bonus was 50,000 points per card. (The bonus on these cards is back down to 25,000 points per card, but the Plus versions of the card are still at 50,000 points each. I feature each of these cards in the “Top Deals” section at the top of my blog). The bonuses from these two cards would give me 100,000 points towards the 110,000 points necessary to earn the Companion Pass. Since I applied for both cards in one day, the two credit inquiries were merged into one on my credit report, so it barely impacted my credit score at all.
Once I got the cards, I made sure not to reach minimum spend until January 1, 2013. That way, I was certain that the bonus points would not post until 2013, which would ensure that they all counted towards Companion Pass status for this year. (Remember, the pass is good for the remainder of the current year, in addition to all of the following year, so if my qualifying points all posted in 2012, I would have earned the pass for the month of December 2012 plus this current year of 2013…definitely not the desired outcome of this transaction). I completed minimum spend on each card within the first 24 hours of 2013 (I felt like I was counting down the seconds until I could slap down that plastic and say “charge it!”). So far, the 50,000 points have posted from one of the accounts but not from the other.
These sign-up bonuses made up 100,000 of the points I needed to earn a Companion Pass. Here is how I earned the remaining 10,000 points:
- The minimum spend I made on the cards ($2,000 per card) also counted towards the total
- I transferred 1,000 points from my e-rewards account
- I converted 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points –> 10,000 Hyatt points –>4,800 Southwest points. (You cannot convert points directly from Ultimate Rewards to Southwest because the do not count towards the pass. I have no idea why).
Once you have the pass, your companion flies free whenever you fly – even if you are flying for free yourself using points. Since you’ll have 110,000 points, that is a whole lot of free travel.
You can change your designated companion three times during the life of the pass. I love this feature because I am planning to dangle it over several friends’ and family members’ heads for the next two years. Just kidding. Sort of.
To sum up: earning the Southwest Companion Pass during the first few months of 2013 is an amazing deal if you have domestic travel plans in the next 2 years. I’d love to hear if people are planning to go for it or not!
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