I’ve been receiving many emails recently on how to earn points towards the Southwest Companion Pass since the end of the calendar year is quickly approaching. Well… I was just going through the Southwest website and saw a great promotion for renting Thrifty and Dollar rental cars.
With both car rental companies, you can get 1,200 Southwest points for a rental as long as it is a mid-size, full-size, or SUV. While these type of bonuses with car rental companies is quite common, they typically requires a few night minimum rental. With this promotion there is no minimum! So a one day rental will earn you 1,200 Southwest points which is worth approximately $17 towards Southwest travel. And the best part about this is the points earned count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.
While I did not go ahead and search every airport location and date, my first search at Charlotte Airport for a random Saturday gave me a rate of $20.08 total for the day (for a mid-size car). So if you have an actual need for a car rental, this will cost you $20.08, but give you back $17 in Southwest travel, so costing you only about $3!! Of course, some airports will be more expensive so your cost will be more, but this is just one example. For those that have a multi-day rental, if it is not too out of the way, booking multiple one-day back to back rentals will allow you to maximize those Southwest points!
Now, if you do not actually have a need for a car rental, but are in desperate need for qualifying points towards the Southwest Companion Pass, it might be worthwhile to just rent the car and immediately return it just to get the points. Per the example above, your out of pocket expenses will be $3, but that is a cheap cost for those qualifying points. Liquidating Visa or MasterCard gift cards will cost you much more!
While this is not realistic, it would take you 91 rentals to earn the 110,000 points needed to earn the Southwest Companion Pass from scratch. In theory this would cost you $273 to earn the companion pass which is great!!! Even if you were physically capable of renting every day and you were able to find such a cheap every time, the promotion ends December 31, 2014, thus not giving you 91 days total to do this. Also, the companion pass runs on a calendar year and the points that are included are the ones that are POSTED for that calendar year regardless when the activity actually took place. So a rental for December 31, 2014, will most likely post in 2015. Points can actually take up to eight weeks to post.
You can book a rental here through the Southwest site using code WN69.