Top 20 Questions for Southwest Companion Pass

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This is post #9 of my blog series on the Southwest Airlines Companion PassReminder.

Series includes:

Awhile back I posted a “Top 10 list” of questions and answers for the Southwest Airlines companion pass, but since then I’ve been asked many many more questions. So here is a top 20 list! I fully detailed the Companion Pass in this prior post, but to quickly recap: To earn this pass you need 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Once achieved you will earn the pass for the current calendar year plus the following calendar year. The Southwest Companion Pass allows a companion to travel with you for FREE (plus tax of $2.50 per segment).

So here are the top 20 Southwest Companion Pass questions. If you have anymore feel free to comment below and I will answer.

  1. Are there blackout dates with the companion pass? With the companion pass there are no black out dates or seat restrictions – if there is a seat available for purchase, it is available for your companion. The companion pass can even be used if points were redeemed for a free flight. This can result in both passengers going FREE (plus the ~$5 taxes/passenger)!
  2. How many times can the companion pass can be used? Unlimited! There is no cap on the number of times the pass can be used.
  3. Who can be a companion? Anyone can be your companion – friends, family, a complete stranger. However, the companion pass can only be switched up to three times during the validity of the pass. Since you need to allocate your companion when getting the pass, this allows you 4 people to use the pass (those people can be repeated and put back on as the companion as well but counts as one of your allowed changes).
  4. How quickly does my designated companion go into affect? Immediately. To change your companion pass, call Southwest Customer Service (1-800-IFLYSWA) and they will easily assist you on the spot. You can then book a flight for your companion right away.
  5. When does the companion pass expire? The companion pass is valid the remainder of the year it was earned plus the following calendar year. For example, if you earn the pass April 3013, you will have it for the rest of 2013, plus 2014. If you were to put it off and hopefully earn the pass in January 2014, you will have it for the rest of 2014, plus 2015 (read this post to learn more about getting the pass for the 2014 and 2015 calendar year).
  6. Customer service is telling me that if I get the companion pass next year, it is only valid for 2014, is that true? While I cannot be completely certain that the companion pass rules will not change, as mentioned above you currently will receive the companion pass for the year it was earned plus the following calendar year. This is not a limited time promo where if you earn the companion pass now you’ll also get it for 2014, that is always the case. I personally do not think that Southwest’s  reservation line is very helpful – I’ve gotten mixed answers MANY times before. The customer service number that is only open during the day are the ones who are really knowledgeable about the Rapid Rewards program and the companion pass. Reservations agents are best at just booking, canceling, and changing travel plans.
  7. Do you have to buy the companion pass with the points earned? No. Once you earn 110,000 points the pass is yours and you still have those points to use to redeem for a free flight. You do NOT need to “cash” in the 110,000 points to receive the companion pass. For instance, 110,000 Southwest Points is equivalent to $1,833 in free flights on a Southwest “Wanna Getaway Fare”, if you redeem all those points while having the companion pass status, you are essentially getting $3,666 worth in airfare on Southwest.
  8. Can I use the points I receive from the credit card before earning the companion pass? YES! Using points has no affect on earning your companion pass status. While many points that are earned count towards the companion pass status, points available for redemption are separate than points towards companion pass status.
  9. Can the points earned from the credit card sign up bonus be used for other passengers or do they solely have to be used by the person flying with the companion? The points can be used for anyone and is not limited to the person’s whose account they are in. Obviously, when you use the points for the primary person and add a companion to the reservation you are getting a free flight with your points for two people instead of one.
  10. The Southwest site states that the bonus points from the credit cards do not count towards the companion pass. Is this true? That is true for bonus offers once you have the card, not for the bonus points given from the sign up offer. The bonus points earned from the sign up offer do count towards companion pass status (at least at the time of writing this post). Bonus offers earned after you have the card, for example, spend $X on the card and receive X bonus points will not count towards the points needed to earn the companion pass.
  11. What if I need to change my reservation, will the companion still be able to fly without the primary person? No. If you need to cancel or change your flight, your companions flight will also be cancelled. I’ve actually screwed myself over before as I needed to change my flight last minute and my companion had to buy a new ticket (at a much higher price since it was only a few days in advance of the flight). You can always use your points to book your companion a flight ahead of time just in case a change in the primary persons travel plan. Just remember to cancel that flight prior to.
  12. If I already have a reservation for a companion, can I book a flight for another companion prior to the flight that is already booked? Let’s say you currently have a flight for Companion A in December, but want to travel with Companion B in September. Companion A’s flight is already booked. In this scenario, you will need to cancel Companion A’s flight in order to book a flight for another companion prior to. Changing your companion will cancel any itineraries associated with that companion. If it is a flight with many seats still available if shouldn’t be an issue, but if the flight is sold out you are taking a risk by canceling with the hopes to re-book.
  13. Do points transferred from other loyalty programs count towards the companion pass? Some do and some do not. For example, Chase Ultimate Reward points DO NOT count towards the companion pass. However, points transferred from Hyatt, Marriott, Wyndham, Club Carlson, and Choice Hotels DO count towards the companion pass.
  14. Can I use the companion pass on international flights? Absolutely!! You can currently use your companion pass on any route Southwest flies. Of course with international flights you are going to pay a little more in taxes/fees ($50-$100), but it is so worth it!
  15. Can I use the companion pass if I booked my flight using points for another account and not mine? Yes! It does not matter how you booked your flight or where the points for the free flight came from. You can even use points from your companions account and still book your companion as a free flight with the pass.
  16. Can I get both the personal premier and plus version of the credit card and have them both count towards the companion pass? I personally got one business card and one personal card, but many have confirmed that they’ve been able to get approved for both versions of the personal credit.
  17. Can the companion pass be used even on an awards ticket with points? Yes! The companion pass can be used on ANY ticket type, the primary person’s ticket does not have to be a paid ticket.
  18. Can I get the companion pass solely on converted hotel points or do I have to get the credit card? There are many other ways to earn the companion pass and you do not have to have the credit card. The credit card is just a quicker way to points if approved. So yes, you can get the companion pass on just transferring your hotel points.
  19. If I go standby at the airport can I apply the companion pass? Unfortunately no.
  20. When will the points from the credit card count towards the companion pass? Once you meet your minimum spend requirements for the credit card the bonus points will hit your account a few days after your statement closes when you go over your minimum spend.

Credit card to help earn the companion pass: You can apply for the Southwest card here and navigate through the page to apply for the specific offer you are interested in. There are four cards in total, two personal and two business versions, but remember, the cards have different annual fees and bonus points after each year. ALL of them have the same bonus offer after meeting the minimum spend requirements.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

Comments

  1. I cancelled my personal plus and business plus this year ($69 annual fee). Can I apply for a personal premier and a business premier ($99 annual fee) in late 2014 and get the 50,000 bonus for each card if it is available.

  2. You mentioned that you have had the Companion Pass for many years. What are the best ways to renew/continue to get the CP once the qualified period ends? Cancel & reapply for two cards! Etc?

  3. Can I book a flight before I get the companion pass, and then add the companion to that flight after I get the companion pass?

  4. In response to #11, why weren’t you able to rebook another flight and then add a companion in the days before your flight?

    • @Kevin – If the main passenger needs to cancel their flight and cannot fly, the companions flight will also be cancelled and they will need to purchase a new flight and will not be eligible for a “free” flight.

      Is your question in regards to question #12? If so, you can absolutely add the companion a few days prior to the flight, but just remember that there still needs to be availability.

  5. Am I able to book a flight on Southwest using Citi ThankYou points and then apply the Companion Pass to that reservation? Thanks for your time and assistance.

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