Southwest Credit Card and Companion Pass
Everyone familiar with Southwest Airlines? If you're not, the next time you travel, look into booking with Southwest for a few reasons:
- They're a nice airline with nice employees - they're all about the love;
- You get to check two large suitcases for FREE (other airlines charge like $20+/bag);
- They offer complimentary beverages and snacks in flight; and
- Southwest has AWESOME incentives (including their credit card).
For example, if you purchase a Southwest flight for $100, you get 100 points, but because you purchased a Southwest flight, you also get 2X the points of what you spent (so now you're at 300 points) and depending on how far you travel with that flight (say it's 500 miles), you ALSO get those miles in points - so now you just got 800 points for a $100 flight.
Another way to build up points is using the credit card with Southwest's partners (there's a lot) who offer up 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X and 5X+ points for your purchase. So, if you spend $100 on Groupon (a Southwest partner) and they're offering 3X the points, you just got 400 points (100 for the basic purchase + the 3X the points (3x100=300)). Pretty neat, huh?
To sweeten the deal, Southwest gave me 60,000 point bonus for signing up for the card and spending at least $1,000 within the first three months. FYI - you can get a one-way flight for as little as 5,000 points, so you can do the math on how many free flights I could potentially take advantage of just with that bonus.
Now the best part - Southwest offers this wonderful and life-changing thing called a Companion Pass. A Companion Pass allows one person (and one person only) to travel with you for a whole calendar year (January 1 - December 31) for FREE. How do you obtain this shiny game changer, you ask? You have to obtain 110,000 Southwest points (i.e. purchasing a lot of shit on the credit card). Since I received the introductory 60,000 bonus points, I was already more than halfway to getting my hands on the Companion Pass, so I just needed to do some strategic spending to get to 110,000 points. I started paying all of my bills on the card and using it as my main form of payment. I also might have reached out to my grandma to see if she had any large purchases she wanted to make and she maybe kinda sorta let me purchase them for her on my card. And finally, I maximized points with those handy partners - stores and restaurants alike, including rental car companies and hotels. At the time, American Greetings was offering 16X points, so someone (not naming names) bought a whole lot of greeting cards last year...
Early December, 2017 rolled around and I got the notice I had been waiting for - I was now the owner of a Companion Pass! Step aside Starbucks gold card - psh! I was able to pick one person to travel with me for free for all of 2018 and, man, I took FULL advantage of that. Full advantage. You only have to pay the taxes on your companion's plane ticket which is $5 each way for domestic travel, so $10 round trip (I believe it's around $150 round trip for international travel).
If you're wondering if I spent $110,000 to get the Companion Pass, the answer is no. I just spent strategically on items I would normally buy, but making sure I was purchasing through Southwest partners to maximize my points (and utilizing grandma). Yes, it really is that easy, but does require a lot of forethought.
Reach out to me if you want more details/suggestions and Happy Spending!
P.S. I was not paid by Southwest to write this article (although I should have been).