Using the Southwest Companion Pass on a FREE Ticket

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I’ve written about the Southwest Companion Pass quite a bit since I started this blog. It is by far my favorite benefit out of all the loyalty programs. I think it is AMAZING. I also do not mind flying Southwest. You can read all about the Southwest Companion Pass here. 

People are constantly asking me, “What flights are eligible for the companion pass?” And the quick short answer is “ALL FLIGHTS!”. There really is no limitation on the companion pass. Your companion can fly use the companion pass to fly for free in all of these scenarios:

  • If you pay for your ticket with a credit card
  • If you pay for your ticket with a Southwest gift card
  • If you pay for your ticket with a Southwest LUV voucher
  • If you use points from your account for a free ticket
  • If you use points from someone else’s account for a free ticket
  • If you use points from your companions account for a free ticket
  • If you use a standard award ticket from your account
  • If you use a standard award ticket from someone else’s account
  • If you use a standard award ticket from your companions account!

The ONLY thing that is not allowed (and I believe this should be a known assumption), is that you cannot add a companion to your reservation if you are already flying as a companion. So, if you are a companion pass holder and are flying as the companion for another companion pass holder, you cannot book a third person to fly as your companion.

If you use points or a standard award ticket, that means that both you and your companion are flying for free! The only thing you’ll need to pay out of pocket are the taxes/fees. For a domestic flight this is $5.60 per segment and for an international flight it can range anywhere between $50-$100ish. It does not matter how the first passenger pays for their ticket at all (as long as it is paid with some form of currency). They just need to have a confirmed reservation and then the companion can be added to the reservation. It is really the easiest and simplest process you’ll come across. There are no caveats or small print terms that will screw you over. I promise!

The one major thing to keep in mind though is the primary passenger MUST also be flying. Again, I am sure this is common sense, but if the first passenger gets sick, for example, and cannot fly, the second person will NOT be able to fly on the companion pass ticket. This could result in an expensive last minute ticket for the second passenger. But, if you need to cancel the companions ticket, you will get back the taxes and fees to the credit card on file – no fees or money lost! This is the exact same policy as any ticket booked with Southwest. 

As you probably already know, Southwest just came out with a publicly available 50,000 point offer on all of their three credit cards. The 50,000 points earned plus the 2,000 points from meeting the minimum spend requirements do count towards the 110,000 points required in a calendar year to earn the pass. You can learn more about the sign up bonus and how it counts towards the companion pass here.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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  1. Agree with your comments. On a separate note, a lot of people think the companion pass makes the points worth double. It does not – the companion pass is worth a certain amount, regardless of whether used with points or cash. The points are worth a certain amount whether used with a companion pass or not. They are totally separate benefits, but can be combined. With that said, it is a great benefit. I would also note I prefer to fly Southwest over the major airlines because of the large planes and consistency in service!

  2. Nothing… My wife has flow multiple flights with a Companion Ticket, which I (the primary ticket holder) did not fly.

    If I’m flying to a city to meet my wife for a weekend I’ll book her a Companion ticket from our home airport just in case things fall through with work & I need to fly to the vacation city from my home airport as well vs. my planned work airport. I lose the taxes if I don’t use it, but I can accept that.

  3. My CP expires 2015 end. If I make a reservation in December with travel date in January or so, can I still add my companion to the ticket? I guess no, but have no confirmation.

  4. @PhatMiles – no you can’t. I tried this a year or two ago and the system won’t let you. It “knows” the CP won’t be good for that travel date.

  5. My wife is getting the companion pass soon but I am wanting to book tickets as soon as possible. Is it possible to book the tickets now and use the companion pass later to refund the companion fare?

  6. I applied and got approved and recevied 3 cards in December. 2 personal and 1 business card. Do you think I will get the bonuses for all 3 cards

  7. @Patrick – I recall one instance where points were returned to my account, but the norm is that they are not.

    @Michael H= Yes, it is possible. Just book 1 ticket for yourself now. Once you’ve qualified for CP you then have the option to add a Companion to any of your ticket confirmations. No need to purchase a ticket for your Companion ahead of time.

  8. I just earned a companion pass and I’ve verified that it’s being mailed to me (so I should get it in a few days). I see that Southwest is having sale right now. Is there any way I can book my flight now (at the sale price) and add my companion on later? I’m not sure how that works.

    • @Brian – You can go ahead and book your flight now. Once the companion pass has hit your account, you can then go ahead and book your companions flight.

      Also, you do not actually need to receive the pass in the mail, just need it activated in your account.

      • Something I discovered accidentally concerning the use of the Companion Pass.

        I have a CP but not very many point. My wife has a bunch of points but no CP. I can get a flight using her points and then use my CP to bring her along. So I can use my CP while flying on someone else’s points. 🙂

        • @Patrick – That is correct. You can use points from anyones account and as long as the ticket is booked in your name, you can use the companion pass. It is great, isn’t it!

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