Last Day for Southwest Airlines Gift Card Giveaway

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UPDATE: The BoardingArea.com site was having some issues over the weekend and today, so I am extending the giveaway until tomorrow night, Tuesday January 21 at 11:59pm EST. If you haven’t entered yet, go ahead and enter!

As you are all probably aware, the Southwest Airlines 50,000 point credit card offer after meeting the minimum spend requirement is back – THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED. By now, you are also probably well aware that the 50,000 points earned counts towards the 110,000 points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. I personally went the credit card route to get the companion pass for 2012 and 2013, but a more non-conventional method for 2014 and 2015 (which I describe here).

Last week I listed some ways to earn the companion pass in addition to the credit card route. While I listed out a bunch of ways, I thought it would be fun to see how my readers have gone about earning the Southwest Companion Pass. This will also help other readers who are thinking about their strategy for getting the companion pass.

How to enter the giveaway:

Comment on THIS BLOG POST by end of day Sunday, January 19 at 11:59pm EST with the most creative way you earned the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. I will give away two $100 Southwest Airlines gift cards to a randomly selected winner to use on a future flight.

Comment away!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!

Comments

  1. I applied for the Personal Southwest card for myself, and the Business as well. The total Rapid Rewards points provided were 100,000. Additional spending provided all I needed to get the companion pass. While not that creative, it was very effective and easy. Thanks to your blog for the instructions!

  2. I just earned the companion pass last week and now I can use it for the rest of of 2014 and all of 2015. 23.5 months. How’s that for timing?

  3. I got both of personal SW cards. I was able to hit the 10k spend on work travel and an unexpected hip replacement for my dog. Now I’m just waiting on my miles to post so I can collect my companion pass. Thanks for the advice! I’m looking forward to some weekend trips with my wife.

  4. I will officially earn my pass next week and I did so by sending $4000 in Amazon Payments ($2000 end of Dec, $2000 beg of Jan), $2500 in Vanilla Reloads, 1800 by Transfering Choice Hotel Points, and the remaining by paying all of my families and my own Monthly Bills.

  5. My husband earned his by applying for 2 cc and then buying marriott rewards points and transferring them. Since we have a family of four that almost always travels together, we would pay for my husbands ticket, book myself as the companion, and put both boys on award tickets. My husband continued to earn points and this allowed us to stretch our points out to cover the two years worth of flights. Paying for one ticket to fly four people was great!

  6. After applying for two Southwest credit cards in 2012 and received 100,000 points, I needed the extra 10,000 points for the companion pass.

    I bought Wyndham points through the US Travel Association Daily Getaway deal that year and then transferred them to Southwest. Ended up getting the pass for around $250.

  7. I’m close to 110k this year. My first SW CC! I’m using a mix of a 50K sign-up, transferring some hotel points and a bit of wash-rinse-repeat with the SW shopping portal.

  8. Signed up for 2 credit cards (1 biz, 1 personal). Bought lots almost 3k worth of gift cards and the rest was from regular spending just put on the card.
    Took 2 months and got 110k points.
    Good for almost 2 years! Wish they would expand to Hawaii!

  9. I signed my wife up for 2x 50k offer credit cards, spent a lot of money on them, and got to fly for free everywhere afterwards for 2 years!

  10. One personal card, one business card, a little spend and the rest a transfer from Club Carlson which I got most of my points through their huge promos a couple years ago.

  11. I prepaid as much as I could for the new year, like camps & after school classes, as well as health insurance premiums. Made up the rest with a combination of Vanilla Reloads & Amazon Payments.

  12. I got one personal and one business card for 106k after spending then transferred some Marriott points in to get me the last bit.

  13. Paid for expenses related to our wedding, and then used the earned Companion Pass to save on our travel costs for the honeymoon!

  14. I applied for both versions of the card, then elected to have Southwest as my airline of choice for my Amex Platinum card for more free flying and mileage accrual!

  15. Nothing fancy here. I just fly SWA tons and spend some on the credit card. I’ve had a companion pass every year for years. Now for a companion!

  16. This is my first travel hack! I got the personal and biz SW cards; got another 5k by upgrading a computer, signing up for e-rewards, and going wild at a grocery store closing, everything 50% off sale; applied for the Marriott rewards card to get a bonus to transfer over to SW which will put me over the top! *Mic Drop*

  17. To round out my 110k (I had ~104k from 2 cards + spending), I transferred some UR to Hyatt and then on to Southwest. Plus some eMiles and eRewards and now me and my gf are flying super cheap all over the US.

  18. My wife got the 50K personal and business card combo. For the last 6K or so (after required spend), I saved up redemptions from both of us in e-miles, e-rewards, The Whiteboard, etc., and managed to get all of those posted by about January 15th to give us two full years of the CP.

  19. Bonus + spend from two personal cards, plus some flying… though I did get a merchant to refund a (large) prior purchase and then charge it onto a SW card to ensure that I made the minimum spend in time for miles to post in 2013.

  20. Applied for both personal cards in November, hit the $2k mark on Jan 4 🙂 Finished off the remaining 6000 pts with a transfer from Choice Hotels, and now my wife and I will be American Travelers for the next 2 years!

  21. I took the easy way out and got the two credit cards, and hit the threshold with $10k in spending. Nothing too creative, but it got the job done 🙂

  22. I got the 2 credit cards, hit the spending threshold plus a little extra. For the remaining ~5000, I transfered in 8750 Hyatt points (which become 4200 RR credits) and have a business trip planned at the end of the month for the remaining 1000ish points

  23. 2x Southwest credit cards (50000 bonus + 1000 required spend + 50000 bonus + 2000 required spend) + Southwest shopping mall when they offered 12x points at Sears: bought $500 in gift cards = 6000 points + 1000 Amazon Payment spend/points = 110000 points = companion pass!

  24. Great contest! I’ve never had one, but it sounds awesome. I would go the credit card route for my first time I think. It seems nice and uncomplicated.

  25. I’ll earn the companion pass this year in about a month from signing up for both personal cards (one back in Oct – hit the min spend in Jan, and the other in Jan, hit the min spend in Jan) and a few flights.

  26. Got our CP in 2013 with two credit card for my wife. Unfortunetly I had one SW card in 2012 before I got in the miles game, so signed up for my second one in 2014 and will be using spend, UR transfers, and vanilla reloads to get my 2014-2015 pass.

  27. CC + spending. I don’t recall whether the big Energy Plus signup bonus counted toward Companion Pass or not. They have 15K sign up (for CC holders). It required 2 months of service with 3x points for billed energy. My gas & electric are high. So, I got a few thousand extra points this way. It was good price first month, then worse than usual carrier. Relatively easy to cut off and worth it for the extra RR points.

  28. As part of a churn, I got the southwest premier personal and business cards on November of 2011. I did my 3K min spend in Jan 2012 and used best western point transfer to southwest for the rest but then I fell a little short of 110000k so i purchased a pair of sneakers at Shoebuy at 10x southwest points per dollar to get me over the hump! Now My wife is sitting on 2 brand new SW cards. !She will do the same!!! I have not used my SW cards since and I just cancelled them both so I can reapply at the end of this year!!Thanks!!!

  29. Will earn in the next 3 weeks. Opened just one of the Southwest credit accounts for the 50k (~55k total with spending minimum and a few other purchases), and the other 60k were transferred indirectly from Chase UR points via partner hotel rewards program. A bit devalued in the process, but worth it in the end. The Companion Pass enables our weekend escapes like never before. Not the most lucrative or innovative, but it sure did confuse most of my non-points-earning pals at work.

  30. The 50K signup bonus is a great place to start. That’s a pretty good bonus these days. Then……..Add in daily spending with the card and I am on my way!!

  31. CC signup bonus and spend. I already earned my companion pass for 2014 and 2015 by completing my spend and scheduling my statement closing date in the first few days of the year.

  32. In addition to signing up for both cards which gave me 100k, I still needed 10k. I bought 6 bouquets(way overpriced if you asked me) of flowers earning 1750 points per 29.99 order =10500 points just enough to meet minimum . I used them to smooth things over with the mother in law and a preggers sister in law. If it wasnt for those points, I wouldnt have even bothered to patch things up. lol. Yes it’s that bad with the in laws.

      • Yes it worked. I saw the in laws this weekend and was greeted with hugs. In 7 years I’ve known them this is the second time I’ve gotten hugs besides my wedding day this past July. People should try it lol especially if you get points for doing a good gesture

  33. Didn’t do anything very creative…just got the personal and business versions of the card and made a combined spend of $10,000. I have the pass through the end of this year!

  34. I scrounged for points: Personal and Business for 100k, then transferred some orphaned Best Western points, transferred some expiring Choice Rewards points, bought some more Choice Rewards points and transferred them, received points for a Comfort Inn stay, and met some more spend with Vanilla Reloads, Greed Dot cards, purchase of a Southwest flight, points from a SW flight, and general spend. For some of us, it takes a village to build a Companion Pass!

  35. My wife and I both applied for the business and personal SW cards. We will be cycling some large medical bills through these cards to get the 110K points each. We will then be using the points and passes to take our two girls to Disney World. A great way to make lemonade from lemons!

  36. I signed up for both the personal and business card and paid my MIL’s nursing home bill to get the rest of the points.

  37. Few Innovative Ideas

    1)Car Rental Bonuses which provide SW as earning partner …Can help in earning points which count towards companion pass

    2)Hotel points that transfer to Southwest reward points

    3)Credit Card sign up bonus afcorse but I want to emphasize that timing is critical when you apply and when you meet your spend requirement .

  38. 50k SW Per Card + 50k SW Bus Card + 4k Min Spend + 2300 (SW Rew Shopping Portal, Apple MBP Retina + iPhone) + 350 (SW Dining Portal Bonus) + 225 (SW Dining Portal) + 164(SW Partner Hotel Dining @Hyatt) + 1200 (SW Partner Car Rental Award Alamo, Hertz) + 1800 (6K Choice Transfer to SW = SW Companion Pass till 2015. Not bad, huh?

  39. I realize it wasn’t that creative, but I got it. Two Cards and all my regular spending to get it. Now on to my wife’s…

  40. I signed up for both credit cards and then transferred over Choice Hotel Points I had purchased during the AMEX daily getaways.

  41. Just like everybody else. One personal card. One business card. The minimum spend. A transfer in from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Done and done.

  42. SW Personal Premier and Business Plus! Finished it off with some VR and usual spending! Can’t wait to tour the US with my girlfriend!

  43. SW Companion ticket recipe:
    1. get both the premier and plus cards
    2. spend $2K on each card by buying on each: two $500 grocery gift cards ($2K), $250 worth of coffee shop, restaurant, and local B&B gift cards, and $250 of everyday expenses
    3. send flowers to 4 lucky people (7K pts) on one card
    4. pay for home renovation with other card (6K pts)

  44. I combined the credit card bonus with points transferred from Marriott! Was able to use the pass the same day the points posted.

  45. 1 biz, 1 personal card… Paid last months (overdue on purpose) cell phone bill & internet bill along with this months plus the next 2 months (so 4 months total). Took advantage of Menard’s (home improvement store) promo where they offer EVERYTHING in the store at 11% rebate (in store credit … not cash back) INCLUDING their gift cards with a 11% rebate. Bought gift cards with 11% rebate then went back thru the store & purchased remodeling items for rental house and used my newly purchased gift cards and STILL rec’d another 11% rebate off the product purchases. SWEET – 22% rebate netted! Plus pushed me over what I need for companion pass.

  46. Well we got our free last time we went for it. My wife bought the 7K in Sears gift cards with the 15x points bonus they had. After some reading it looked like the shopping portal points might not count so when Sears called to ask if the order was real I got nervous and we cancelled the order. We did plan on selling them on gift card jungle and taking the loss. Seemed like it would be worth it for roughly 1,700 in points and a companion pass. Well guess what? 45 days later 110K points showed up in her account anyway, Got it for FREE

  47. Got both the business and personal cards, then wound up flying like a fiend for work last year, I could have just gotten one card and still made it. Ah well…

  48. My companion pass is in progress. Just received the personal card bonus and will use a mix of VR, Rapid Reward shopping portal, and everyday spend for the rest of the points.

  49. I would love to fly Southwest and learn more about this program cause I can be pretty creative hope I win this one sure could use this bad boy!

  50. Bought puddi…I mean, used credit cards to pay for dollar coi…I mean, used Vanilla Reloads to fund Bluebir….I mean, just got the credit cards and put some spending on them

  51. I don’t have a CP and never have, and right now it’s not something that makes sense for me given my travel patterns. I could definitely see a use for it in the future though!

  52. Sign up for 2 cards. Hit the min spending $2000 for each card and then put an extra spending for $6000 for either card. Then here you go for the Southwest Companion!!!

  53. Havent gotten the companion pass yet, but the plan is to sign up for 2 credit cards and use it for tuition payment and travel to earn the points.

  54. I just earned my Companion Pass this week, and immediately booked three trips! This is how I did it as someone without a small business.

    First, I started with 60k Marriott Rewards points (from stays) and 8000 Wyndham points (from one of their previous promos advertised on this blog) in my accounts, and then:

    1) In October 2013, I applied for a the Southwest Plus Personal (with 50k sign-up bonus) and Marriott Premier Personal (with 70k sign-up bonus) on the same day — approved for both, with only one credit inquiry!

    2) On the same day, my husband applied for the Marriott Premier Personal (with 70k sign-up bonus).

    3) In January 2014, my husband and I combined our Marriott points for a 200k “Travel Package” that provided 50k Southwest miles for my account and a 7-night hotel certificate for a Marriott category 1-5 hotel. I also transferred 8000 Wyndham points to 2400 SW miles. Finally, I met the minimum spend on my Southwest card for another 50k Southwest miles and put enough spend on the card between regular spend, reloads, and taxes to make it to 110k and earn my Companion Pass!

  55. Both wife and I applied for regular and preferred cards and then transferred in points from hotel to finish it off. Not too creative but netted us 2 companion passes for the family of 4.

  56. Probably not news to anyone. I go thru shopping on SW’s website, go to gift card website: giftcertificates.com and buy what I need.

  57. I plan to get one southwest personal credit card with a sign up bonus of 50,000 RR points, earn some more points from cr card spend, and then use orphan and expiring miles to make it to the necessary 110,000. For example, I have 75,000 Choice Privileges points expiring in December 2014 that I will use, and 10,000 Best Western Rewards points that I have very little use for that I can convert to SW RR. I will join the Southwest’s dining program, and I have already started redeeming e-rewards $$ for SW RR @ $25 for 500 points.

  58. The SW cards (personal premiere, business plus) were my first two CC’s I signed up to in October 2013 after beginning a non-stop reading spree for any and all miles/points blogs I could find, including this one! Within 19 days of receiving both cards I had $11.5k spent with $9.5k of that in MS using the well oiled method of a national drugstore chain and reload cards with a little bit of AP in there. I have learned a lot in the past 3-4 months and wish I had been in this game for many years. I never even got a single sign up bonus from any of my three prior cards I used over 8 years! Oh well, you live and you learn. Now I’ve got my wife and I working on 3 more sign up bonuses for CSP, IHG, and Chase Freedom (with 2014-Q1 category bonuses).

    As for the most creative way of spending the money, I did ask around to a bunch of family and friends if anyone would let me pay a large purchase/bill they had coming up with my card and have them pay me back. My dad took me up on it for a car repair bill of $5.5k and I went to the repair shop with him to find out they did not accept CC! Not cool. lol

  59. Signed up for personal and business card and of course manufactured spend. 4 tickets booked so far this year. Plus got $400 in vouchers from our last flight that was cancelled due to mechanical issues. Stayed an extra day in Florida and missed the Polar Vertex in the the north. Love having the CP.

  60. Two cards Business and premier , 4000 in spending and 5000 from big crumbs American Express cards. Hit my spending fee on January 9, but only one card was issued 50,000 sign on points. Call Chase and they said it would take 4-6 weeks or by Feb 9 closing. Had another friend who got his all 100,000 points on January 10 on two cards. Just my bad luck I have to wait until the next billing.

  61. I bought my engagement ring from BlueNile and used the rapid rewards shopping portal and earned 14,000 points — also I subscribed to NYT (1000) and got the dish network deal + free iPad 2 which earned me another 12,500. So far still not quite there yet, but the key I think is to make sure to remember to use the shopping portal whenever you’re making a big purchase 🙂

  62. We don’t do enough flying on SW to make companion pass worthwhile but if we did, I would most likely go the credit card route. Also would explore Amazon payments.

  63. My husband and I each earned a companion pass so our kids can fly for free with us. We each opened a personal and business card. We put all our purchases on the cards and also purchased vanilla reloads to reach the $20k spend that we needed for four cards. Applied the vanilla reloads to our Bluebird account to pay the mortgage, taxes, etc. Transferred points from Marriott to reach the 110k points and voila! two companion passes and two years of free flights for our kids!

  64. God two CCS, then signed up for a choice hotel credit card for the 8K bonus and will transfer those points to SW. Looking at the comments here is giving me lots of ideas.

  65. We have set aside a very small fund of cash so that we can “invest” in manufactured spend the next time a major opportunity presents itself. That way we can be aggressive with no risk to our finances. Three cheers for companion pass!

  66. I signed up for one personal and one biz tradelines, upped my everyday spending and paid cash for round-trip airfare to visit relative completed the last day of 2013!

  67. 2 SW credit cards = 100,000 points. Add minimum spend + a transfer of Wyndham hotel points and wala… 110,000 points.

  68. I should earn my first companion pass soon after January 22nd, when my other SW Visa statement closes for the month! I am very excited. I earned the points by two 50k signups, and by transferring points from Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt, then to Southwest. I helped myself meet the minimum spend by investing some money in stocks at Loyal3.

  69. Will start with one CC and mix personal spending with points transfers from Hotel programs. Slow go but I am fairly new to this game.

  70. By transferring the Wyndham Rewards points to Southwest Account.

    By staying at a hotel and setting the preference to earn Southwest miles.
    Thank you for the giveaway! 🙂

  71. A friend told me about the offers as I was going to New York by myself (I’m 19) for the sake of traveling. I manufactured spent and asked my parents to help me out until I hit the pass! I’m so happy now because I can now visit my friends all over the states now with my best friend.

  72. Like most, I got the business and personal cards then went on a shopping spree for some beans with a bit of gas and groceries tossed in so as not to raise any flags.

  73. Approved for 2 Southwest credit cards which got me 100k once I met spending requirements (which got me another 4000 points). That left me just 6000 short of my goal. From there, found nice deals on the SW shopping mall where I was able to snag the remaining 6000 points with minimal more $$. That equals free companion flying for nearly two years. Sweet.

  74. Working on it now! Signed up for both the SW personal and business cards around the middle of November. I actually got declined at first for the business card but called the reconsideration line and got approved! Just met my minimum spend for both this month. I’ll be transferring Amex points to Choice Hotels then to SW for the remainder.

  75. So far a 1 in 169 chance…

    I got both the personal & business cards. I purchased the remaining in vanilla reloads from CVS when purchasing toiletries I donated to the food pantry in my town.

  76. We paid for all our guests hotel rooms for our wedding in India and they reimbursed us! Two years of flying with my wife for free was a pretty great present 🙂

  77. Did a ton of flower purchases for my boss for Valentine’s day – he couldn’t care less about the miles, so we got about 10K of CP qualifying miles that way!

  78. personal and biz. Then I am going to win this gift card, liquidate it then cycle it through my perpetual points machine 60 times to get the extra 6000 miles

  79. Personal plus biz cc, membership rewards to choice hotel to SW points transfer, VR, and spending – voila the lovely cp! And we love it!

  80. thanks to your wonderful advice I got 2 credit cards late October during the last 50k award promo. I held off spending my $2k per card until January when I had several large purchases to make (insurance, oil, etc)so now I have 105k points toward the 110k. I will move 10k in Hyatt points to Southwest to get to 110k. I am using Hyatt points as they seem to have the best ratio for points conversion compared to all the other hotels.

  81. 1 Personal, 1 Biz. Transferred points from Chase to Hyatt to Southwest. Called Chase to move my statement date up as soon as possible. Just entered year 2!

  82. I earned it in 2012 by getting 2 of the credit cards and I had enough points from hotel stays to get to the extra 10,000 points.

  83. Just with the credit card bonuses and some VR. Not super clever, but in a way – free travel is always clever! 🙂

  84. I got the personal card last year and waited until Jan 2 to complete spend and then added a few thousand in Vanillas plus a bunch of old Wyndham and Choice hotel points from some very lucrative deals about a year ago. I will complete the spend this week and should get the pass in Feb.

  85. Earned by business and personal sign ups and the rest spend. We loved the companion pass and been using it the past year. Thanks for the advice!

  86. Using your link and apply 2 SW cards. Go to CVS and buy 20 Vanilla reloadable cards for AMEX bluebird ==> You got the companion pass 🙂

  87. I was approved for the both the personal and business(that one after a very long grilling session) in November. Put a small charge on both in December. This month – charging like crazy – buying Visa GC(no VR’s near me). Also cashed in e-rewards for 2,000 SW RR points – these posted in less than 2 weeks.

  88. I earned thanks to Chase as well as lots and lots of spend. Too bad Southwest is leaving our home airport in a few months!

  89. I had already received the Personal Card with 50,000 point bonus. Then added some flights points but then made up the difference with Rapid Rewards Shopping purchases from Sears when they had an 18x bonus. Bought a bunch of physical Sears gift cards and then had to do creative buying and selling of goods to break even. But made the Companion Pass mark!

  90. Applied for the card and thinking of getting a second one..should get the pass this year with all the trips my husband flies between Chicago and California ..

  91. Well, I have yet to earn one, but just had the hubby apply for both credit cards, so we should receive it shortly after a bit of manufactured spend!

  92. In the process of earning one now (hopefully)…personal card + business card + spend. Can’t wait to earn the companion pass!!!

  93. We applied for 2 cc (1 business plus and 1 personal plus) but made a rookie mistake. We met the $2k spent requirement too early and were credited with the 50k points in December (sigh..). We had to apply for another personal card. On the bright side, we are family of 4 so the points are being put to good use.

  94. I haven’t earned one yet since I haven’t flow very much with Southwest, but this year and next I’m hoping to fly and earn one! Such a FUN giveaway, thanks! 🙂

  95. I’m new to all this points earning, so I don’t have any creative ways of earning a companion pass yet. But I’m anxious to get started this year 🙂

  96. Just the Premier card. New to the points/rewards game. Will be smarter next time in hopes of getting the companion pass. Most of my spending was through shopping portals.

  97. Sign up bonus for two cards — personal and business since I have not had the card before. Plus vanilla reloads to top it off. All earned with no flying!!! I’ll be flying now. Ha. Thanks for the great blog. Love your tips and check blog daily. Also got some credit cards thru your links. You earned it!!!

  98. My husband got the CP last year but now he does not want to go anywhere. What a waste! So now I am trying to get one for me so I can at least travel with some girlfriend . My daughter is getting married so I will be putting those expenses on the card. Wish me luck!

  99. Had to fly a ton for ailing family – bummer. Use card for everything + car rental – companion status for the next two years…may be a consolation trip happening soon.

  100. I got the companion pass benefits by marrying someone who earned the companion pass the hardway! She opened up one credit card and the rest of the points were earned by flying on southwest. She travels a bunch for work.

  101. Still haven’t done the card yet. But I was thinking one for me and one for my husband. I guess that would add up to 100K and be doable. Thanks!

  102. My husband and I each earned our first companion passes about a year ago in the traditional way, with credit card sign ups and spend….now, I am starting to plan for our next passes after these expire at the end of 2014!

  103. Spent some money on a cash Southwest ticket I needed – you get double points! – to get over the 110,000 mile hump by statement closing date.

  104. Southwest Personal Plus, canceled it, Southwest Personal Premier, then topped off with Ultimate Rewards –> Hyatt –> Southwest.

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