Very few topics get the attention afforded to the Southwest Companion Pass. You could spend a lifetime reading all the posts about it that are on the internet.
I used to read posts claiming that the Companion Pass offered the ultimate travel savings. With this pass, you can fly on Southwest for half the price, allowing you to take twice as many trips without spending more money. Alternatively, if you have Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you can pay for one ticket with points and receive the other one for free.
I fell for this and decided that I would do whatever I needed to get one of these passes. After six months of trying and some false starts, I finally had the pass and 14 months to use it.
While it did save me some points, I found out that I didn’t save all that much because we didn’t often fly with Southwest, even though I tried to use them for every trip.
My experience with the Southwest Companion Pass is actually one thing that convinced me to start writing Your Mileage May Vary. Although having the Southwest Companion Pass can potentially save you a lot of money, it’s also possible that you may not really save that much. It all depends on how frequently you fly with Southwest. For a moderate traveler, you may be looking at two or three trips per year, assuming that Southwest flies to your destination, with a convenient schedule.
In 2019, Chase did something that was thought to be impossible. They made the Companion Pass a reward for signing up for a Southwest co-brand credit card.
This tells me that Chase and Southwest knew that:
- The Companion Pass is a coveted item, and people will jump at the chance to get one.
- Most people overestimate how much value they’ll get from the pass.
- Chase and Southwest are going to come out ahead by giving a companion pass instead of extra points.
Current Offer For A Companion Pass
Since then Chase and Southwest have run several offers with the Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus for their line of personal co-brand credit cards. In fact, they just launched an offer for 2024:
If you sign up for one of their cards and spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, you’ll earn 30,000 Rapid Rewards points and a Companion Pass that’s good until 2/28/2025.
Let’s realize that the power Companion Pass users have already locked in their passes for all of 2024 and 2025. In order to be eligible for the Companion Pass sign-up bonus, you must not currently have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card and cannot have received a Southwest bonus in the last 24 months. Additionally, you must be under the Chase “5/24” rule.
This offer is intended for those who are aware of the Companion Pass but haven’t attempted to obtain one earlier due to the complexity involved. They may not even be aware of what the Companion Pass is. Such people are likely to use it only a few times in 2024, at best. However, for both Chase and Southwest, this promotion generates a lot of publicity for their credit cards. They may break even or even save some money if these new customers don’t use the pass as frequently as they had anticipated by the end of the year.
The Companion Pass offer is good for all three of the Southwest Rapid Rewards personal cards. If you want to sign up for one of the Southwest personal cards, we’d appreciate it if you use our referral link (for which we receive a bonus of Southwest points).
Should You Take Advantage Of This Offer?
Why do people want the Companion Pass so badly that they’re willing to waste a credit card approval to get one? I guess it’s because it has a certain mystique. After all, it’s not easy to get, and you can’t put a price on its value. You hear stories about how people save THOUSANDS of dollars a year with the Companion Pass. While I don’t doubt these stories are true, there are plenty more people out there who did the work to get a companion pass and ended up using it two or three times and saved maybe $400.
I never claimed that the Southwest Companion Pass is the holy grail of the travel universe. Its value depends on your personal travel habits and preferences. Even after getting the pass, you need to consider if flying with Southwest for all your trips is feasible. Will you pay more money for a flight on Southwest just because you’ll get a free companion ticket? How about taking a flight with inconvenient timings or a layover? Are you okay with flying on a less comfortable plane? These are choices you’ll have to make when using your pass, so be prepared
I hope this posting gives you some reason to pause whenever you come across an article proclaiming any “must-have” item. There is no such thing. Examine what is being discussed and see if it aligns with the way you enjoy traveling. If it makes sense, go for it. If not, let it go without any regrets.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary