Scrounging for the Southwest Companion Pass Last Minute? There are Still Ways!

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2017 is almost over and that means you only have a limited amount of time to earn the number of points required for the Southwest Companion Pass. With this pass you need 110,000 eligible points and points earned DO NOT carry over to 2018. So if you are a few points shy of earning the points, you’ll want to earn them in the next few weeks. While you are definitely pressed against the clock, there are still some ways! If you earn the 110,000 points by December 31, 2017 that means you’ll have the pass until December 31, 2018. If you want to earn the pass for 2018 and 2019, you want to make sure the points do not hit your account until January 1, 2018.

Last Minute Ways Ways to Earn Points for the Southwest Companion Pass

1. Spend money on your Southwest Credit cards

All spend put on your Southwest credit cards count towards the Companion Pass. However, this will only work for those with a December statement close date that has not yet hit. Remember, points post a few days after your statement close date, so if your statement close date is December 4, 2017 for example, points that you earn from credit card spend will not hit your account until your January 4, 2018 statement closes, thus posting in 2018 and not 2017. If you have a December 20, 2017 close date, for example, you still have time. Now if you have a December 26-28 close date, be cautious that the points may or may not post in 2017. While they only take a few days, there is a chance they might not post till January 1st or after.

2. Use the Southwest online shopping portal

Southwest has their own shopping portal where if you go through the site first, you’ll earn bonus points for your every day online shopping. While I do not find the Southwest portal as competitive as some of the other points, miles, and cash back shopping portal sites, all points earned DO count towards the companion pass. If you are going this route, keep in mind that points can take some time to appear and I would make those shopping purchases ASAP. Or, if you do not have any shopping in the immediate future that you are looking to do, you can always buy and re-sell and maybe take a slight loss.

I know that both Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s post relatively fast, based on experience just last month. I made a purchase on November 21 and November 22 and even though the shopping portal says that the posted the next day, they didn’t actually post to my Southwest account until November 29th. And the amount of points earned was combined which makes me believe that Southwest does a periodic swoop of points earned and posts them together.

 

3. Fly Southwest

If you are looking to take any flights over the next few weeks, try to fly Southwest. Points do not post until after you take your flight, so this is only for flights taken in 2017, not flights booked now but for travel next year. Points earned (on paid fares only) count towards the Companion Pass and the amount you earn depends on the fare class.

  • Wanna Get Away Fare: 6 points per dollar spent
  • Anytime Fare: 10 points per dollar spent
  • Business Select Fare: 12 points per dollar spent

So if you are just shy of earning the pass, make sure to pay for your upcoming ticket instead of using points since reservations using points will not earn points.

4. Book hotel stays through Rocketmiles

Rocketmiles is a third-party booking system which means you will not earn hotel points for the hotel you are staying. Instead, you’ll earn airline miles of your choice and the number of miles earns depends on the specific hotel usually tied to the price of the stay. You can earn anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 airline miles per stay, and Southwest is one of the partners. All regular points earned through Rocketmiles that are credited towards Southwest DO count towards the companion pass. However, any bonus points earned do NOT count. In November 2016 I booked a hotel stay through Rocketmiles and Southwest was my airline of choice. I had a stay November 5-6 and the points were posted on November 8, so it only took 2 days to see the points in my Southwest account. This is a GREAT option for those looking to earn some points in the next few weeks, especially if you have a hotel stay you need to book anyways or if you can find a cheap stay. I have shared my experience with what counts/does not count here.

 

5. Credit your hotel stays to Southwest

You will earn 600 Southwest Rapid Reward points per stay (NOT per night) with the following hotel chains: Best Western, Club Carlson, Choice Hotels, Hyatt, La Quinta, Marriott, MLife, and Starwood. Keep in mind that typically earning the hotel points is a much better option, but for a really inexpensive one night stay, you might find that earning partner miles is better. If you have any chain hotel stays coming up and you are just a few points shy of the Companion Pass, this could be a good option. Points should also post relatively quick, although I do not have any recent experience.

6. Credit your car rentals to Southwest

You will earn 600 Southwest Rapid Reward points per rental with the following car rental companies: Alamo, Avis*, Budget*, Dollar, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty. With Avis and Budget, only participating locations allow you to earn partner miles/points, which is typically just onsite airport locations. If you can find a cheap one way car rental this could be a good option. But I am not 100% sure how fast the points post. I personally do not have any experience with this.

Note: Applying for the credit card will not help you for 2017. The points do not hit your account till a few days after your statement close date. At this point, your statement will not close in January, so even if you meet the minimum spend in December the points will not be posted until 2017.

Overall…

While you definitely do not have much time, if you move fast and are strategic, there are still ways to earn the pass this year! The above methods are probably best for those that have at least 90,000+ points accrued and looking to earn a minimal amount to meet the 110,000 point threshold.

How many points do you currently have? And how will you go about earning the remaining points required within the next few weeks?! If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to comment below!

Comments

  1. I think #5 above is no longer correct … Southwest points earned on hotel stays no longer count toward the companion pass. I think that ended in March 2017.

    • @Bill B – Points earned from staying at a partner hotel are Companion Pass points eligible. Points transferred are not – that was the change from earlier this year.

  2. HELLO
    How does having your points post Jan 1st 2018 get you 2 years of companion pass? Can you tell me where I would find detailed information about that?

    • @Jean – Once you earn the Companion Pass it is valid for the rest of the calendar year plus the entire next year. So if you earn it December 1, 2017, for example, it is valid until December 31, 2018. If you earn it January 1, 2018, it then doesn’t expire until December 31, 2019. So the best is when you can earn the pass as early in the year as possible to fully maximize the amount of time you have the pass.

      • deals we like:

        Thank you for your response. I currently have my SW cc account to close out so points post before the end of the year. That was the impression I was under. So I think it’s too late to change my statement closing date now. I also earn, or attempt to earn A list status since that is earned only thru flights. But that is not as important since I have discovered that if you are not A list and purchase a get-away fare your can just upgrade at the gate for $35.00 to $40.00 and you will get assigned more near the beginning of the A list group. Whereas, with A list peeps SW seems to start backwards and assign boarding numbers going forward. So why even strive for A list unless a person travels a ton with SW which makes it easier I’m beginning to think.

        • @Jean – I am not 100% clear what you mean “I currently have my SW cc account to close out so points post before the end of the year.” When is your statement close date? If it towards the end of the month, then you are still good, if it has already passed for the month of December they will not post and count until 2018.

          • Hello:
            My statement close date is the 23rd of the month. I know from past years my points will post before the end of the year. Usually in about 5 days. I intentionally set it up that way because A list tier points need to post by the end of 2017. But I’m still surprised I was not aware of the posting for the 2 year long companion pass!

          • @Jean – Yes, if your statement closes on the 23rd, all points should post by the end of the year. You earn the Companion Pass for the rest of the calendar year you earn it plus the entire following year. So if you earn it now, it will go good through December 31, 2018.

          • Hello:
            Thank you for your response Jen. It will allow me to change my closing date to a future date but that would not go into effect till the end of January since my payment due date is now Dec 23rd.
            Best regards

  3. Hi, thanks for the post. I have question and appreciate your response. I’ve applied for SW Premier n Business Cards on Oct 3rd, with a thought process of meeting the required spend on the cards progressively and earn points in Oct/Nov/Dec. Thus far, I have spent 1600 on personal and about 500 on Business card. My goal is to earn Companion pass for 2018 and 2019. My statement date is 3rd of every month.

    Question – do I need to complete min spend of $2K each yet this month and earn 110K points, or wait until Jan 1st and spend the 2K each?

    • @Ram – When is your exact date when you need to meet the minimum spend? Since you applied on October 3rd, it isn’t till at least January 1, although probably later. I suggest just waiting until January to meet the $2,000 spend. While it should not post until your January statement date if you spend the money now, you are better off waiting just in case.

      • Thanks for the immediate response. Yes, I have time until Jan 2nd to spend 2K, before they close the statement for the month. My question was I can still continue to spend until my last buck or do I need to spend all 2K on Jan 1st n 2nd?

        If I read your post correctly any points I have earned in Nov/Dec will expire on 31st Dec – did I understand that correctly?

        • @Ram – Yes, you can continue to spend, you just do not want to cross that $2,000 spend until January 1. So you can spend $1,999 now and then another $1 on January 1. Just be careful not to cross it now.

          And Companion Pass points earned expire on December 31st, this is not the same as the points you earn that you can redeem on free flights. Though points DO NOT expire at the end of the year. But they do expire if you do not have activity within 24 months.

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