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No one likes to fly alone. And with a Southwest Companion Pass, you don’t have to. Essentially a BOGO pass for your bestie, your spouse, or whomever else you designate, the pass is one of the most coveted perks of travel aficionados. But the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is notoriously difficult (and expensive) to get, mainly because the progress you make to earn it resets every Jan. 1.

But occasionally we get lucky and hear about a Southwest Companion Pass promotion. Like right now! When you buy one round trip or two one-way Southwest flights through April 5, 2023, and travel by May 24, you’ll earn a free Southwest Companion Pass to use from Aug. 15 – Sept. 30, 2023.

You still have other options for earning a Companion Pass year-round as we’ll explain below, but this promotion is by far the easiest way. These promotions don’t last long, so get them while you can! Between the promotional offers and our Southwest hacks, you’ll be traveling on a budget in no time.

P.S. Like getting deal alerts? Download The Krazy Coupon Lady app so you never miss out on travel tips and discounts.

 

The Southwest Companion Pass unlocks BOGO flights for you and a friend.

two friends sitting in airport with luggage and looking at their phones

As detailed on their website, the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is pretty much a free plane ticket. You can choose one person to fly with you, free of charge. You do have to pay taxes and fees for the ticket, which start at $5.60 one way.

Other than their promotional offers, there are three main ways to earn a free Southwest Companion Pass:

  • Take 100 one-way flights in one calendar year.
  • Earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year. Without credit card promotions, you’d need to spend at least $22,500 on Wanna Get Away fares to reach this level.
  • Sign up for a Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card to earn bonus points, plus points for almost all your purchases.

TIP: Before you even think of scoring a free plane ticket for a friend, you’ll need to sign up for the free Southwest Rapid Rewards program.

 

Current deal: Get a free Companion Pass when you buy one round trip or two one-way Southwest flights through April 5.

A person using a laptop displaying the Southwest Airline website's page for Free Companion Pass.

According to the fine print of this current offer, you’ll earn your free Companion Pass when you register then purchase one round trip or two one-way flights by April 5. You’ll then need to travel by May 24. Your Companion flies free with you from Aug. 15 – Sept. 30, 2023. This offer isn’t valid on flights purchased with Rapid Rewards points.

 

Can I change my designated companion?

Yes! You can change your designated companion up to three times. This policy applies to the Southwest Companion Pass promotion and to the Companion Passes you can earn with your Rapid Rewards points.

For example, if you earn a Companion Pass during this April 3 – 5, 2023, promotion, you can only change your designated companion up to three times total. So you could change your companion twice during the validity period for the pass, and then if you earn a Companion Pass with your points later on in 2023, you would only be able to change your designated companion one more time in 2023.

 

More ways to earn a Southwest Companion Pass year-round:

1. Earn the companion pass by taking 100 one-way Southwest flights in one calendar year.

someone holding southwest tickets in line

You’ll need to purchase 100 one-way qualifying flights in one calendar year. That’s around one flight every three days … yowza. You can’t earn the companion pass by combining flights and points — you’ve got to choose one way or the other.

This is the hardest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, so most people accumulate points.

 

2. You can also get it by earning 135,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year.

person holding southwest rapid rewards paper

A slightly easier way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is to accumulate 135,000 Rapid Rewards points. You can earn points by using the Southwest Credit Card or just by purchasing flights with your Rapid Rewards account.

So how much would you have to spend on base fares between January and December to get 135,000 points?

  • $22,500 on Wanna Get Away fares (earning at a rate of six points per $1 spent)
  • $16,875 on Wanna Get Away Plus fares (eight points per $1 spent)
  • $13,500 on just Anytime fares (10 points per $1 spent)
  • $11,250 on just Business Select fares (12 points per $1 spent)

Some Rapid Rewards points won’t count towards your companion pass, including purchased points, points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment, and tier bonus points.

 

3. Get the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa credit card for bonus point offers.

a wallet full credit cards with the southwest rapid rewards card being in focus

Listen, spending even $11,000 on flights every year to get the Southwest Companion Pass isn’t sustainable (or even worth it). But if you have your heart set on getting the Companion Pass, the way to avoid a massive airfare spend is to get one of the four Southwest credit cards.

 

There’s always a bonus point promotion going on for the Rapid Rewards credit card — the amount of points varies between years, though. We’ve seen a 50,000 points reward for spending $2,000 in the first three months of having the card and an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 in the first year. That’s a whopping 100,000 points worth between $12,000 and $24,000 that you get for free.

Here are some more ways the credit card makes earning points easier:

  • You’ll get an extra two to three points per $1 spent on Southwest flights. (For example, the standard six points per $1 spent on Wanna Get Away flights gets upgraded to eight or nine points per $1.)
  • Get two points per $1 spent on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners and one point per $1 spent on anything else.
  • You’ll also get 3,000 – 7,500 points every year on your cardmember anniversary.
  • When you successfully refer friends to open a card, you’ll get 20,000 points per person, up to five times a year.

 

 

4. Once you earn the companion pass, it’s good for the rest of the current calendar year and the entire next year.

Southwest airlines plane

That means if you earned the pass anytime in 2022, the pass would be valid through Dec. 31, 2023.

There’s no limit to the number of times you can use your Companion Pass — but just keep in mind that you and your companion must fly together when you use it.

Whether you pay with cash or your Southwest Rapid Rewards points, you can use the pass to get an additional ticket for your lucky chosen one — for free.

 

5. You can change your designated companion up to three times per year.

A little girl stands in line with luggage to go to Disneyland.

You can’t just bring whichever friend you want, whenever. You’ll have to designate your companion on your Southwest Airlines account, and you can only have one companion at a time.

You can, however, swap out your companion up to three times per calendar year.

 

6. Keep an eye out for Southwest Companion Pass promotions.

Southwest Airlines operations at Houston Hobby airport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2022 Southwest Airlines had an incredible Southwest Companion Pass promotion where you got a companion pass good for two months after purchasing just one round-trip flight.

These promos are super rare, but we’ll always let you know as soon as we see one.

TIP: For the September 2022 Companion Pass Promotion, you got the best bang for your buck if you booked a cheap round-trip flight or two one-way flights to your closest neighboring airport. You can always browse the lowest priced tickets with Southwest’s “Low Fare Calendar.” For example, we found a one-way, same-day ticket from Boise, Idaho, to Seattle, Washington, for as low as $68. That means you could get your companion ticket for just $136 during the September promotion.

 

7. If the companion pass isn’t right for you, you can still save a ton of money using tried-and-true Southwest hacks.

A Southwest employee at the gate desk talking to passengers.

A great example of a hack is how Southwest announces their weekly fares on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. — and that’s exactly when you should look for the cheapest tickets. All you need to do is sign up for their emails.

These weekly Southwest deals only last about three days and usually end on Thursday of that week.

For more ways to save, check out our Southwest hacks next time you want to book a flight.

Earn a Free Southwest Companion Pass Right Now