Wow! For Southwest fliers — or just those looking to travel in the next two months — Southwest just launched a pretty amazing promotion to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. This pass allows another person to fly with you for free (plus taxes/fees) an unlimited number of times for the life of the pass. It is my absolute favorite travel benefit in the entire airline industry and I’ve personally been a Companion Pass holder for the past 13 years.
With this promotion, all you have to do is book a flight between now and Sept 9th (TOMORROW) for travel through Nov. 18th. If you meet the terms of this promotion, you’ll then earn the Southwest Companion Pass for a limited time between Jan. 6 and Feb. 28, 2022. Typically, you need to earn 125,000 qualifying points to earn the pass (although this year it is just 100,000 points if you were a Southwest loyalty member by Jan. 1, 2021), so earning it by taking just one flight (or two one-ways) is pretty big. With that being said, typically, you earn the companion pass for the entire year it is earned, plus the entire following year, where with this promotional offer you’ll only earn it for about 7 weeks — quite a difference, but it can still be worth it for some.
Similar to all Southwest promotions, only new flights booked after registration will count. This means if you have an existing flight already booked, you’ll need to cancel and re-book (but register first). Also, only paid flights will count, not those booked with Southwest Rapid Reward points. If you are using travel credits, those are considered paid flights.
Fortunately, there is no minimum requirement to the cost of the flight. So just a simple $49 flight could earn you the pass. If you have some flexibility in your schedule and are looking to get away next January and February, this could save you a ton of money.
For those not familiar with the Southwest Companion Pass, it truly is a no-strings attached pass. As long as there is one seat available, you can book your companion onto the flight and just pay taxes/fees. For domestic travel, this is a minimal $5.60 per flight. International travel depends on the exact location, but can range anywhere between $5.60 and $120ish. You can even use Southwest Rapid Reward points to book your flight, so you and your companion can truly be flying for almost free. You can also change your companion three different times during the life of the pass.
Personally, I will not be taking advantage of this promotion for two reasons. First of all, I am hoping to earn the Companion Pass through the traditional method — and then have the pass through all of 2022 and 2023. Typically in October, Southwest ups its credit card sign up offers and if you apply then, but don’t meet the minimum spend until Jan. 2022, the points count towards the 2022 year. If you earn the pass in Jan. 2022, the pass then won’t expire until Dec. 31, 2023 — this is much more desirable to me.
I still haven’t been on an airplane in 18-months and know if I am back to traveling in Jan. and Feb., it will be minimum where the companion pass won’t be as valuable — and definitely not worth getting on an airplane right now for the sole purpose of earning the pass.
If you live near a Southwest hub and travel was already on your radar, this might be a great promotion for you.