In the travel world, the ideal scenario is typically flying for free due to using hard earned points and miles. Of course earning miles is easier for some then others and credit card bonus offers help, but they can go quick and you might feel like you never have enough. But what if I told you that you could actually save your airline points and miles still fly for free. Yes, that is right — FREE.
Both Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines offer you the opportunity to fly two-for-one an unlimited number of times on eligible flights throughout the year. This means you can actually “purchase” the second passengers seat on the plane for free with both carrier. While both are great ways to save your cash and miles, there are big differences between the two programs. There are many factors that come into place and although both sound great on the surface, one might work better for you than the other. Or, take advantage of both!
Southwest Companion Pass
To earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Earning this number of points can definitely be challenging, although there are many ways to earn points towards the pass. One of the more common methods is through the Southwest Credit Cards. Fortunately, the bonus points you earn from the welcome offers still counts towards the pass. Right now, all four cards are offering an increased 60,000 point offer which will get you more than half of the points required (or apply for both the personal and business card and earn the pass right away).
Earn 60,000 points with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier Credit Card
Once you earn the pass, you can use it for any single route Southwest flies an unlimited number of times. There are absolutely no limitations, there just has to be at least one seat left for sale to add your companion onto your flight. This works for domestic and international flights and even the new Hawaii service. There are no date restrictions or blackout dates. Once you earn the pass, it is yours for the rest of the calendar year, plus the entire following year. Earn the pass today and have the pass through December 31, 2020.
One thing to know about using this pass is that the primary passenger can book their flight with points or as a revenue fare. Once the Companion Pass is added, the only cost associated with the second ticket is that you’ll have to pay for the taxes and fees. For domestic flights this is $5.60 one-way, but international fees can be significantly more.
Frontier Friends Fly Free
Frontier recently introduced its Friends Fly Free promotion which is open to all members who purchase a Discount Den membership. Unlike Southwest’s Companion Pass offer, you do not need to “earn” the pass and anyone can pay the $59.99 for the membership. While this two-for-one opportunity is easier to obtain, there are many more restrictions then Southwest.
For starters, this is a promotion that will come and go throughout the year. Although, it does seem like it will be more of a regular occurrence. There are date restrictions and blackout dates put in place. For example, for this summer travel, only Tuesday and Wednesday flights are eligible. There are also restricted routes and it only applies to domestic travel so this is by no means a free for all like Southwest.
You must book both passengers together using promotion code FLYFREE, which means the first passengers ticket but be a paid fare. Although, you can always use flexible points such as those earned with Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. Just pay for your flight with this card and then redeem your miles as a statement credit. Unfortunately, using traditional Frontier miles is not an option. On the plus side, when Frontier says free, they truly mean free. You will not be on the hook to pay any taxes or fees on the second passenger.
Now, if you are looking to fly with a child (14 years and younger), Frontier also has a similar promotion, but slightly more flexible. Their Kids Fly Free promotion is an ongoing offer, but still has similar restrictions with dates and routes. The difference is that the promotion can be used for flights booked through the end of the reservation schedule and is not an “on again, off again” offer.
Of course the Southwest Companion Pass two-for-one opportunity is significantly better, but it is definitely harder to obtain. Frontier, on the other hand, has way more restrictions, but is open to anyone at any point of time. The program that works best for you might also depend on where you live and the carrier that flies to more destinations. I’ve personally been a Southwest Companion Pass holder for 11 years now, although I am definitely liking the Frontier Fly Free opportunities as well.
While both programs have their pros and cons, at the end of the day, both allow you to save a significant amount of money (or points). Flying for free is definitely my No. 1 priority while traveling with my family!
Which program will you be flying two-for-one?