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The coveted Southwest companion pass is by far one of the best, if not the only, good thing about Southwest. With it you and a companion can travel anywhere Southwest flys for the price of one ticket (in cash or points) plus taxes, which usually equate to $5.60 per person per one-way. That’s a pretty slick deal right? Absolutely! In fact, it’s the best companion pass in the industry.
So, how do you get a companion pass? It’s pretty simple really. All you need to do is earn 110,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards points in one year. That may sound daunting, considering the Southwest credit cards only earn 1X points on all purchases other than flights (e.g. manufactured spending), but it’s not as bad as you may think.
Signing up for two Southwest credit cards (one personal and one business) is the age-old method of earning a companion pass. This is the method that’s commonly over saturated when the two cards have 50,000 point sign-up bonuses, but it’s far from the only method.
If you decided to use this method, you would have 104,000 Rapid Rewards after hitting both card’s sign-up bonus, which would leave you just 6,000 points shy of the companion pass. Those last points could easily hit by one of the methods below, but as an example, let’s say you earned them by manufacturing spend.
Assuming you bought 12 $500 gift cards at $4.95 each, you’d have spent $59.40 for the remaining 6,000 points. That works out to about $0.01 each, which is totally worth paying for considering the amount of value you can get out of a companion pass.
With that said, never sign-up for these cards if they’re only offering 25,000 points! That’s just a huge waste of points. Even if there aren’t any public offers for 50,000 points, you can find out if there are any hidden links here. And if there aren’t any public or hidden links available at this time, wait it out until there are.
Manufacturing your way to a companion pass would be inadvisable, but for completion’s sake, here’s how you could do it:
Option 1 – Purchase $110,000 worth of gift cards at 1X each.
That would work out to about 218 $500 cards with a $4.95 fee, which would cost you a total of $1079.10. That doesn’t include the time it takes to buy and liquidate those cards.
Option 2 – Purchase $110,000 worth of gift cards at 5X each and transfer them.
Chase allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, but unfortunately, those points do not count towards a companion pass. Instead, you would need to transfer your UR points to Hyatt at 1:1 and then to Southwest at 1.67:1 (assuming you transfer 50,000 points at a time) for them count.
For this to work, you would need to purchase 178 $200 gift cards at $6.95 each, which would cost a total of $1237.10. With this option, there are less lift cards to deal with, but that comes at a premium.
As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t suggest solely manufacturing your way to a companion pass.
Reselling is a great way to manufacture points and earn a profit (if done correctly). That being said, even if you end up losing a bit of money, but you earn a companion pass or a large number of points, it could still be worth doing. In fact, that’s exactly what happened when I resold some computers to earn my companion pass. You do need to be a newsletter subscriber to see that post
If you have a large amount of points in other programs, you could transfer them to Southwest to earn your pass. Here are your transfer options:
Option 1 – Transfer From Hyatt
Option 2 – Transfer From Marriott
Option 3 – Transfer From Club Carlson
Option 4 – Transfer From Choice
Option 5 – Transfer From Wyndham
This method would require a large amount of points in your hotel program of choice, but it would work. I would suggest using this method in addition to another one.
This is the most obvious of all the methods, but it’s easy to overlook the obvious ones when trying to take advantage of the system. Southwest gives you 6X points the fare price for “Wanna Get Away?” fares, so it would cost $18,333.33 to earn a companion pass in one year. That is far from worth it!
There are many ways to earn a Southwest companion pass, but it’s up to you to decide which method or methods work best for your situation. Getting a companion pass is pretty straightforward, but make sure you weigh the risks and challenges of these methods before actually putting them into action.