You read the title correctly folks, for the next 16 months any flight that I book on Southwest will include a free ticket for my wife! Unfortunately, this does not apply to everyone, but only applies to very valuable customers such as myself. As I have tried to make clear throughout every post of this blog, I am not particularly affluent. I do enjoy traveling, but the fact is that I have not been on an airplane in about 8 years and my wife has never flown. This makes having the ability to fly so inexpensively even more exciting for me. Yesterday, I signed into my Rapid Rewards account and found the following:
As the above photo states there are two ways to earn a “Companion Pass”. Method A, requires making 100 “qualifying flights” during one calendar year. As I have already stated, I have made 0 flights in over 8 years. The other method is slightly more attainable. Method B, requires you to earn 110,000 rapid reward points over the course of one calendar year. That is the one I did. As you can see above, I have accrued 110,519 points.
How did I do it?
Obviously that sounds like a ton of points and it is, but there are definitely some shortcuts to take to get you there quickly. The first thing that I did was sign up for two Southwest Credit Cards, each one had a 50,000 point bonus. After meeting the $2,000 spending I had 104,000 points in my account! Gathering the next 6,000 was not quite as easy. I continued to use my credit cards to gather points at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent. This earned me 2,116 additional points (I would have much rather signed up for another credit card and received a nice bonus). I also used the Southwest shopping portal this earned me 303 extra points. I could have really maximized this method, but it seemed that I always waited too long when a great reward came along. Some of the best included 9 points per dollar at Staples and 6 points per dollar at sears. I was going to buy a TV from Sears and that would have earned me the 6,000 points no problem. I messed around waiting for a big reward total and then feared I would miss getting the pass in time for my flight. Although transfering points from Chase Ultimate Rewards do not count toward the pass, transfers from Hyatt do count. I transferred 8,000 points from Chase to Hyatt, then those 8,000 points turned into 3,600 Southwest points. Not a great ratio compared to Chase’s 1 to 1 ratio, but still earned my pass.
I booked my flight for October back in June when the prices got very low. With the 110,000 points in the account I was able to book flights from Louisville, KY to San Diego, CA for 18,000 points round trip. If my wife and I were the only two flying we could fly across the country for 18,000 points total. We spent another 18,000 points for my daughter’s ticket, but it’s still pretty amazing that a family can fly across the country for 36,000 points especially when those points all came from signing up for a couple credit cards. Each card had a $100 fee, so we will be able to take 3 round trip, cross country trips for $200 bucks. If we leave the kids at home we would get even more value.