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Do I Have To Save My Southwest Rapid Rewards Points For A Companion Pass?

by on April 6, 2014 · 15 comments

in Southwest, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Megan is going for the Southwest Companion Pass but wants to know if she can put her points to use before reaching the qualifying threshold of 110,000 points. Here’s the question she tweeted me.

“@thepointsguy: Southwest Companion Pass? I’m assuming I can’t use any points until I get the 110k? Then do I trade points for the pass?”

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best airline benefits out there! If you accrue 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points in a calendar year, you get to take a companion travel with you on both paid and award tickets on Southwest and AirTran for the rest of that year and the following year – so if you earned it now, it would be good through the rest of 2014 and all of 2015.

The short answer to Amanda’s question is – you don’t have to wait. So use your points all you want!

Any points you earn during the calendar year count. Whether you use them on awards or not, it still counts toward your Companion Pass Qualifying balance – sort of like elite qualifying miles you earn flying in a year on other airlines still count towards your elite status even if you use the miles in your account to book an award trip.

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most valuable frequent flyer benefits out there.

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most valuable frequent flyer benefits out there.

Like other airlines, with Southwest, there are two separate mileage trackers for your points. There are the regular points that you get to redeem for flights, and there are Companion Pass Qualifying points that are completely separate with a calendar-year tally that shows you how close you are. Once you hit 110,000 qualifying points, you automatically get the Companion Pass. You don’t need to redeem points to get the pass, so go ahead and redeem your Rapid Rewards points for travel. Just keep track of your overall points-earning so that you know to hit that 110,000 in a calendar year so you get the pass. Obviously earlier in the year that you qualify, the more value that you pass has because it will be valid for longer.

Remember, the Southwest credit cards bonuses and earning on spending do count towards the Companion Pass, so if you did happen to get one of those past 50,000-point offers (or even two of them), you should be well on your way on getting that pass. Unfortunately, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred into Southwest (which you can do if you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus) do not count toward Companion Pass qualification.

Related Links:

Southwest Companion Pass FAQ and Maximization Strategies

Top 11 Ways to Top Off Your Southwest Companion Pass Account

Can I Get Two Southwest Cards In One Day To Qualify For A Companion Pass

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on Facebooktweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Natasha

    Do points earned by spending on the Chase Southwest credit card count towards companion pass status? I accrue a large number of Rapid Rewards by spending on the card but these don’t seem to count towards my companion pass status in my Rapid Rewards dashboard, that’s been stuck at 4% since the start of the year when I got a few companion pass eligible points from a bonus.

  • Jared

    Yet another idiotic question that just gives you an opportunity to push referral links. Its amazing how your readers are willing to spend more time writing you an email rather than using google for 30 seconds. I really wonder if your readers are that stupid or are you just think they are.

  • Chris Ly

    it should once your billing cycle ends. That’s when points accrued gets posted to your SW account.

  • Jared?

    lol if you don’t like referral link, unsubscribe. simple as that. jealous bro? you mad?

  • DewittBBenn

    I accrue a large number of Rapid Rewards by spending on the card but these don’t seem to count towards my companion pass status in my Rapid Rewards dashboard, that’s been stuck at 4% since the start of the year when I got a few companion pass eligible points from a bonus. http://qr.net/sz6j

  • Andy Waters

    If you convert your Chase ultimate rewards to Southwest points do those count toward a companion pass?

  • mike

    no, but the best transfer is through hyatt that counts… i built a rules engine to always tell you how to acquire a companion pass even if the 50k offer isn’t in play…
    http://www.igobyplane.com/southwest-companion-pass-engine/

  • mike

    that seems odd – mine was topped up via spend.

  • Brian

    You mention above that you can use the companion pass for Airtran flights as well. Even for flights that can only be booked through Airtran? How do you do that?

  • http://travelwithgrant.com/ Grant

    No, you can only use/earn SWA points if you book thru the SWA website. Booking thru AirTran will earn AirTran credits which won’t help toward Companion Pass.

  • Brian

    I wasn’t asking about earning points towards the companion pass. I was asking about USING the companion pass, as described in the article above. “…you get to take a companion travel with you on both paid and award tickets on Southwest and Airtran for the rest of that year and the following year…”

  • John

    Well he has a point. The reader didn’t even need to use google. TPG links 3 posts with the answer to it. Besides, the question is a yes/no answer.

    “No, you don’t need to, check the post on xx/xx/xx”

  • joeypore

    While you don’t have to save your points for the companion pass, it makes the most financial sense to go ahead and wait until you have the companion pass to redeem the points, since by purchasing airfare prior to earning the CP, you’ll get closer to it, and earn more points that double in value once you do get the CP

  • http://travelwithgrant.com/ Grant

    If you have the SWA CP, you can only use it on SWA and AirTran flights that are bookable on SWA’s website.

  • Larry

    Does the 5,000 point referral bonus count towards the companion pass ?

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