What is a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass?

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This is post #1 of my blog series on the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass.

Series includes:

To start off this series, this one is going to be short and sweet. If you are already knowledgeable of the companion pass this post probably will not be helpful. But to the newbie out here, make sure to read this to fully understand exactly what this companion pass is that many of the travel, points, and miles blog speak about.

For starters, the companion pass is a pass that is given to a Southwest Rapid Rewards member that qualifies by earning a certain number of points. You can read the “How to Earn a Southwest Companion Pass” post to learn more. The owner of this companion pass can then have a companion fly with them FOR FREE on EVERY flight they take – it is UNLIMITED! Once you earn the companion pass you will immediately designate your companion and you can then switch your companion up to three times for the lifetime of the companion pass. The only fee the companion needs to pay is the $2.50 tax per segment.

Once earned, the companion pass is valid for that calendar year plus the entire next calendar year. So if you were to earn the companion pass today, you’d be able to use it for the rest of 2013, plus all of 2014, and it would expire December 31, 2014. This means that the last day you can fly with the companion pass is December 31, 2014, this is not the last day to book your flight/companion’s flight.

When you designate your companion you will receive a blue “Companion Pass” card in the mail. I have NEVER had to show this card at the airport, so if you forget it do not worry. This also means that you can take a flight before you actually receive the physical pass in the mail.

The best part of the companion pass is that there are NO BLACKOUT dates for your companion to fly with you. As long as there is one or more seats left on the plane for sale, you can book a reservation for your companion. The only time you cannot book a companion ticket is when the flight is sold out. If you know your companion will be flying with you book them right after you make your reservation.

Now remember, your companion MUST travel on the same itinerary as you. You will need to first book your reservation and then add on your companion. You can do this by either calling Southwest (1-800-I-FLY-SWA) or on your online Southwest.com account. On Southwest.com you will go into your account and click the “Add Companion” button to make a reservation for your companion with that itinerary. The process is really easy and all of your companion information will already be populated in the reservation form. Put in your form of payment for the taxes/fees and you are good to go. If you need to cancel your reservation, you must cancel your companion reservation first then the primary persons reservation. If you need to just cancel your companions reservation you can do that and will get back the taxes/fees paid. I’ll go through the process in full in a future blog post.

Credit card to help earn the companion pass:  As mentioned previously, there are three different Southwest cards – ALL of them have the same bonus offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements, but different annual fees and annual bonuses. You can view all three cards and the differences in this prior blog postYou can learn more about all Airline credit card offers here.

Disclosure: These post contains affiliate links. While my goal for you is to travel on a deal, this is one I highly support as I’ve had the companion pass for many years! 

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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4 years ago

I’ve had the Companion Pass for one year now and am working on earning the proper amount to qualify again this year ( by flying and applying for and obtaining the Chase SWS Business Card with its bonus of 60K points).
My question is this: how did you earn the 110K miles to qualify for 10 years of Companion Pass?
Chase limits your ability to apply for the cards and subsequent bonuses to once every 24 months so I’m curious about how you qualify continuously for 10 years?
Thanks very much!


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