Back in January, Southwest offered possibly one of the best credit card offers I’ve seen yet. While the offer is now no longer available, it ultimately allowed to you to earn the amazing Southwest Airlines Companion Pass with just one credit card sign up. I am a huge fan of the companion pass as I’ve had it for the past 11 years and it has offered a family member (and even friends) to fly with me for free an unlimited number of times. As you can image, this has saved me an ton amount of money on travel!
Typically when you earn the Companion Pass the traditional method, the pass does not expire until December 31st of the following year it was earned. With the previous credit card offer, the pass is actually set to expire December 31, 2019—only giving you one year with the pass not two. But, fortunately, there are still ways to extend the pass another full year and instead have it until December 31, 2020! If you previously took advantage of this offer, here are some ways to extend your pass and continue to fly for free into 2020
Earning the Companion Pass For 2020
Getting the Companion Pass requires you to earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. If you signed up through the previous offer, not only did it grant you the Companion Pass through the end of the year, but also 30,000 bonus Rapid Reward points after you spend $4,000 on the card. Fortunately, both the 30,000 bonus points plus the 4,000 points from regular spent to earn the offer count as qualifying points. This means you just need to earn 76,000 points in 2019. And since you are currently a Companion Pass holder, you have the entire year to earn the points—no need to rush now to earn them.
1. Apply for the Southwest Business Card Credit
One of the best ways to earn a massive amount of points quickly is to apply for the Southwest Business Credit Card. Right now, the card is offering 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card—giving you another 63,000 qualifying points! This means you only need 13,000 more points and the pass is yours! There is currently no expiration date with this offer, so if right now is not the right time to apply for another card, you do have some time.
- Key Link: Southwest Business Credit Card — Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card.
TIP: Make sure the points earned from the credit card sign up posts in 2019. If anything posts in 2020 it will not be added to your current 2019 qualifying point counter.
2. Spend more money on your Southwest credit card!
All spend put on your new or existing Southwest credit card counts towards the Companion Pass. While the Southwest credit card is not one that would be my typical go-to card since there are no category bonuses (except for purchasing a Southwest flight), if your goal is to earn the companion pass, then this could be a good option. Remember, every dollar spent earns 1 Southwest point, so this is decent amount of spend on the card to earn the pass. I personally have been able to use the bill pay system Plastiq to pay some bills on my credit card – while there is a fee associated with it, it can be worth it to earn the Companion Pass!
TIP: Points earned from credit card spend will not hit your Southwest point until 2-3 business days after your statement close date. This means only spend made up until your December statement close date will count towards this years qualifying point progress. And if your statement happens to close towards the end of the month, you might want to make sure all spend is complete by your November statement close date instead.
3. Refer your friends to the Southwest credit card
Many times throughout the year, Southwest will give existing card members a bonus for referring the card to friends and family members. You’ll have to check to see if your Southwest credit card account is offering this promotion. If you are eligible to refer a friend and the person you refer applies, gets approved, and meets the minimum spend requirement, you will typically receive a 10,000 point bonus, which is amazing! Although Southwest does cap the number of points you can earn at 50,000 points.
TIP: Make sure the offer for your friend through the referral link is the best available offers. Sometimes the refer-a-friend link offers different promotions than what is publicly available—sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse, and sometimes it is the exact same offer.
4. Use the Southwest online shopping portal
Southwest has their own Rapid Rewards shopping portal, where if you go through the site first, you’ll earn bonus points for your every day online shopping. While I do not find the Southwest portal as competitive as some of the other points, miles, and cash back shopping portal sites, all points earned DO count towards the companion pass. If you do a ton of shopping online, the points definitely add up! Keep in mind that some stores take about 8-10 weeks to report the sales, while others might only take a week or two. I personally have been making a lot of purchases recently at Bloomingdales and the points have posted within just 2 weeks.
TIP: Shopping portal bonuses, such as spend X amount and earn Y bonus points are not qualifying points and do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.
5. Fly Southwest
When you fly Southwest on paid fares, the points earned will count towards the Companion Pass. You might want to consider actually paying for your flights for this year (instead of using points) and waiting to use your points next or until you secure the Companion Pass. This is one of the few scenarios on when I’d actually suggest paying instead of flying for free on points. You’ll earn the following number of points per flight:
- Wanna Get Away Fare: 6 points per dollar spent
- Anytime Fare: 10 points per dollar spent
- Business Select Fare: 12 points per dollar spent
6. Partner promotions
Southwest has many partners where you can actually earn Southwest Rapid Reward points for hotel stays, car rentals, and even purchasing flowers!
- Rocketmiles — Rocketmiles is a third-party booking system which means you will not earn hotel points for the hotel where you are staying. Instead, you’ll earn airline miles of your choice and the number of miles earned depends on the specific hotel usually tied to the price of the stay. You can earn anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points per stay. One thing to note is that bonus points earned do NOT count as qualifying points, just the regular points earned. I have shared my experience with what counts/does not count here. If you have an upcoming hotel stay, booking your hotel through Rocketmiles and forgoing any benefits by booking through the hotel itself might be beneficial.
- Chain Hotels — You will earn 600 Southwest Rapid Reward points per stay (NOT per night) with the following hotel chains: Best Western, Club Carlson, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, La Quinta, Marriott, MLife, and Starwood. Keep in mind that typically earning the hotel points is a much better option, but for a really inexpensive one night stay, you might find that earning partner miles is better.
- Car Rentals — You will earn 600 Southwest Rapid Reward points per rental with the following car rental companies: Alamo, Avis*, Budget*, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty. With Avis and Budget, only participating locations allow you to earn partner miles/points, which is typically just onsite airport locations. If you are very close to earning the pass, find a few cheap one day rentals and call it a day!
- Flowers — Use 1-800-FLOWERS and earn 1,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points on every purchase over $29.99. Just make sure to use promotion code RR22.
With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to extend the pass an additional year! If you are already one-third there, it could definitely be worthwhile! This could save your family a ton of money in 2020 as well, which is great. And remember, once Southwest starts flying to Hawaii, you’ll be able to use the Companion Pass on those routes as well!
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