Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Southwest Airlines has made its famous Companion Pass more obtainable than ever! It’s now possible to earn the most coveted perk in the travel industry—buy-one-get-one-free flights—with just one credit-card sign-up bonus. How? Let’s look at the special offer from Southwest that’s available until Feb. 11.
Earn Southwest Companion Pass with One Credit Card
Typically, earning the Southwest Companion Pass requires either flying 100 segments or earning 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year. In the past, signing up for multiple co-branded credit cards did the trick for many travelers. However, it’s now possible to earn the ability to bring your significant other on an unlimited number of trips by signing up for a single Southwest credit card.
Personally, I received an email urging me to apply for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card, but all co-branded credit cards offer the Companion Pass to those who get approved and spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months since opening the account. Additionally, 30,000 Rapid Rewards points come on top of the Companion Pass.
“Wow, that’s it?” you might be thinking. “All I have to do is open one card, meet the spending requirement and start taking free flights with my bae?” Yes, that’s literally it. However, this too-good-to-be-true offer comes with one big condition. Unlike in the past, when the Companion Pass was valid for the year in which it’s earned plus the following calendar year, the benefit will be valid through the end of 2019. You won’t be receiving BOGO flights in 2020 by earning the Pass this way.
For this reason, the new Companion Pass offer won’t favor all of you equally. Let’s look at some scenarios, and you can decide whether it’s right for you.
The New Companion Pass Offer Will Benefit Those Who:
Have a companion who’s able to take time off often: Obviously, not having a travel companion to share the pass with defeats the purpose of earning one. Buying two-for-one flights, by definition, requires, two travelers. Additionally, it has to be someone with flexible schedule so you can maximize the perk to the full capacity.
Can’t open two credit cards: This includes those who don’t have side hustles and don’t qualify for business cards. As a reminder, Chase limits applying for Southwest-branded personal cards to once per 24 months, leaving no other option than applying for one personal and one business card to earn enough points for the Companion Pass. However, you want to be truthful on your card applications, which means not everyone qualifies for business cards.
Those who will travel to Southwest destinations: Although Southwest operates to some international destinations, including Central American and the Caribbean, its reach isn’t that wide. Because you can use the Companion Pass on Southwest-operated flights only, you’ll have to travel to the cities the airline services, which limits your global presence significantly. However, if your goal is to explore your own backyard with your honey, this could be a good option for you.
The New Companion Pass Offer Won’t Benefit Those Who:
Want to Pay Less for Flights Out of Pocket: By applying for one Southwest card, you will earn 30,000 Rapid Rewards points, which isn’t the highest offer we’ve seen in the past. Earning Companion Pass the old and trusted way and racking up 110,000 points gives you an opportunity to take more free flights. Why? Because award tickets qualify for the benefit as well, which lets you take fly more on points and save more cash as a couple.
Want to maximize the perk to the fullest: Let’s get real. Taking two-for-one flights for almost two years is better than taking two-for-one flights for almost one year. If you’re under 5/24 and can qualify for two Southwest credit cards, why not go for the better offer? The problem is you have to wait for the old offers to return now that all cards offer the same 30,000 points.
Don’t live near a Southwest airport: As obvious as it sounds, you can’t take advantage of BOGO flights on the airline you don’t have immediate access to. Additionally, if another airline flies nonstop to many destinations from your airport and Southwest requires a layover or two every time you travel, you might trade having the Companion Pass for convenience. It’s hard to beat direct flights because they save lots of time, and, as we all know, time is money.
What do you think of the new offer on the co-branded Southwest credit cards? Will you be earning a Companion Pass this way?