How to Get a Year (or More) of Free Flights on Southwest

What's Hot


Funny Money: Financial Wit and Wisdom From 50 Top ComediansCredit & Debt

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

6 Stores That Allow Coupon StackingSave

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

7 Foods That Can Lengthen Your LifeFamily

7 Government Freebies You Can Get TodayFamily

10 Ways to Pull Together the Down Payment for a HomeCredit & Debt

This frequent flier program offers one of the very best loyalty perks in existence. Find out if it makes sense for you.

Flying isn’t cheap. Even now, with jet fuel costs at near historic lows, travelers are still forking over big bucks for airfare. Now imagine if every time you boarded a plane for a year (or more), you could bring a companion along for free.

It sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not.

Southwest Airlines offers a companion pass to members of its Rapid Rewards frequent flier program. As the name implies, the pass allows you to book free tickets for your travel partner — though you’ll have to pay nominal taxes and fees — on an unlimited number of flights for at least a year, even if you paid for your ticket with points.

It’s arguably one of the greatest airline travel perks around.

“I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, because it’s such a lucrative benefit,” Matthew Goldman, chief executive of Wallaby Financial, which tracks credit card benefits, told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s by far one of the best loyalty perks available.”

Members of Southwest’s loyalty program can earn a companion pass by completing 100 one-way qualifying flights or by accumulating 110,000 qualifying points in one calendar year.

The companion pass is good for the year that you qualify, as well as the following year, so the earlier you earn the pass, the better. For example, if you qualify on March 15, 2016, the companion pass is good through Dec. 31, 2017.

“Points are compiled based on the price of Southwest flight purchases and [Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa] credit card spending,” explains Money. “For frequent traveling pairs, it’s more than worth it to go the extra length to qualify for a companion pass: The savings can add up to thousands of dollars every year.”

It’s surprisingly easy to earn Southwest’s companion pass, and you can do so rather quickly, according to travel expert The Points Guy. The current sign-up bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card is 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. The sign-up deal is the same with the Southwest premier business credit card. If you sign up for both cards, you could accumulate points on both toward the goal.

You can also earn points by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card to make purchases at Rapid Rewards partners, transferring points from hotel loyalty programs or using Southwest’s online shopping portal.

Check out “The 5 Best Frequent Flier Programs.”

What do you think of Southwest’s companion pass? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Before You Travel: What to Know About Protecting Yourself From Zika Virus

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,878 more deals!