By now you know that I’m a huge fan of the Southwest Companion Pass. If you missed my intro to the Companion Pass, check it out here.
Today I want to share with you how to optimize the timing of receiving the Companion Pass so that you can take advantage of it for two full years!
How the Companion Pass works is that once you hit the required threshold of 110,000 miles in one calendar year (see how to do that here & this post is helpful too), you receive the pass and it is valid for the remainder of that calendar year PLUS the entire next calendar year.
So I’ll use my experience as an example. What’s the saying? Do as I say, not as I do. Yep, I learned a few things along the way so keep reading past the example to see how you can do a MUCH better job at optimizing the timing of the Companion Pass.
I accumulated the 110,000 required points for 2015 in November, so I was able to use the pass for November 2015, December 2015 + ALL of 2016.
I bet you can see where this is going …
If I had known what I know now, I wouldn’t have tried for the Companion Pass in 2015 since I was a little late to the game.
What I should have done is wait until January 2016 to start accumulating the 110,000 points.
Ideally, you need to start accumulating in January (keep in mind that all of the 110,000 points have to be earned in the same calendar year). Let’s use the upcoming 2017 as an example:
- January 2017 – Clock starts running on the 2017 year, the time in which you need to accumulate 110,000 miles to earn the Companion Pass for 2018.
- I would apply for the Southwest Personal Rapid Rewards credit card and the Southwest Business Rapid Rewards credit card in November or December of 2016. (Remember, only do this if you can financially afford to meet the spend requirements and pay off the ENTIRE bill when it becomes due). To compare these cards with other travel credit cards to see how they stack up, check out this site!
- For both of these cards, you will receive a sign-up bonus (usually around 50,000 points) when you meet the minimum spend requirements (usually $2,000 in the first 3 months of being approved for the card).
- ***Make sure you DO NOT hit the $2,000 spend in 2016. You want those 50,000 sign-up bonus points to hit your account early in 2017, so plan accordingly depending on your spending habits.***
- The sign up bonus points will hit your account as soon as you pay your last statement balance required to hit the $2,000. (EX: Your first statement is $2,100, due January 22. As soon as you pay that bill (pay it in full!), the points will hit your account).
If you apply for both the personal and business credit card and receive the sign up bonuses, you’ll have 100,000 point in your account in January (ideally) or February!
Compare the Southwest personal card to other travel credit cards via CardRatings here!
Now you just need to accumulate 10,000 more points (and not to rush you, but the sooner, the better). You can accumulate the points by making purchases with your card(s) or flying (they add up fast).
Ideally you want to hit the 110,000 points in January, February, or March. The sooner, the better because as soon as you hit the 110,000 mark, you’ll be granted access to the coveted Southwest Companion Pass for the remainder of 2017 and ALL of 2018.
I hope that helps lay out exactly what you need to do to make the most of your Companion Pass. And just as a side note, if you have a significant other and are both into travel hacking, only one of you needs to go through this process of getting the Companion Pass. Another live and learn moment.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Disclaimer: If you click and/or sign up for a credit card through certain links on this site or any of my related social media platforms, I may make a commission from that click and/or purchase. As always, all opinions are my own.