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Can I Earn Miles When I Fly with a Companion Certificate?

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TPG reader Jerry sent me an email to ask about earning rewards on companion fares:

“Can you earn Rapid Rewards points when using the Southwest Companion Pass? I understand the companion is ineligible, but what about the person who holds the pass?”

Airline companion fares are a great way to score flight discounts, as you can cut your overall cost almost in half. The Southwest Companion Pass is the most coveted of these special fares, thanks in large part to its flexibility — you can use the pass to bring your designated travel partner with you on any Southwest flight (including award flights) so long as there’s a seat available. Unsurprisingly, TPG readers chose the Companion Pass as the winner of our Travel Rewards Tournament earlier this year.

The rules for earning rewards and elite credits vary from one companion fare to another. As Jerry points out, companions on Southwest don’t earn Rapid Rewards points for flying with you. However, as a passholder you will earn points on flights that would normally be eligible (which is basically any paid flight, even if you’re redeeming a travel voucher). Your flights and Tier Qualifying Points will also count toward Southwest A-List status as normal.

This is often the case when flying with a companion. Both the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card and the Delta Reserve Credit Card from Amex offer miles to the primary passenger, but not to the companion. The same goes for the companion certificate offered by the AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard. You’re paying for the first fare like you would any other revenue ticket, so it makes sense that you earn miles and elite credits.

Southwest’s Companion Pass allows primary passengers to earn Rapid Rewards points on eligible fares.

There are also fares that allow companions to earn rewards. For example, both passengers earn miles when redeeming the Alaska Airlines companion certificate that comes with the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. That means for a paid round-trip flight between Boston and Maui (via Seattle), not only could you bring a companion with you for around $121, but also you’d each end up with more than 10,000 Mileage Plan miles (not including any bonuses), which is actually worth more than the cost of the companion fare!

For more information on the Southwest Companion Pass, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at