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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.
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:
- How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass for Almost Two Years
- 16 Things Every Flyer Should Know About the Southwest Companion Pass
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards