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Southwest Flights: Buy 1, Get 1 Free

Update: We've earned our Southwest Companion Pass!

For years, I've hoped to earn enough Southwest miles to receive the glittering holy grail of travel rewards, a Southwest Companion Pass. This nifty little card entitles you to a Buy 1, Get 1 Free discount on every Southwest flight you take, even ones booked with points. Half price weekend getaway to Las Vegas? Yes, please!

Actually, scratch that. Half price trip to sunny Hawaii! Southwest expects to be flying there soon.

My husband travels exclusively with Southwest for work and he is always away on a business trip, so you'd think if anyone was going to earn a Companion Pass, it would be him. He has received A-List Preferred status with Southwest, which doubles his points, Platinum Premier Elite status with their partner, Marriott, and whatever the top rewards tier is with Southwest's rental car partner, National. Still, no Companion Pass.

To earn one, you've always had to fly 100 flights with Southwest per year, excluding flights booked with points (with only 52 weeks in a year, that's a heck of a lot of flying), or earn 110,000 Southwest points per year (at one point per dollar spent on the Southwest credit card - hahahahaha). No matter how hard we've tried, it has always seemed just about impossible for us to earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

Until now.

I stared at my screen in disbelief the other day when a sidebar ad announced you can receive a free Southwest Companion Pass simply by signing up for a Southwest personal credit card. Any Southwest personal credit card! I just about fell off of my chair.

As if that weren't amazing enough, Chase will throw in a bonus of 30,000 Southwest points. We often fly from Albuquerque to California for approximately 5,000 points each way, so it's like getting 3 free round-trip flights. Actually, with the Buy 1, Get 1 Free benefit of the Companion Pass, it's like getting 6 free round-trip flights. Yippee!

I've had my eye on a Companion Pass for years and have never seen anything like this. There are two catches in the fine print, neither of which should be a deal breaker.

1. This promotional Companion Pass is only valid through December 31, 2019, whereas the traditionally earned (and much more difficult and expensive to earn) pass is valid from the day you qualify for it through December 31st of the following year. Based on the hoops you're required to jump through to receive the traditional Companion Pass, I'm guessing most people don't qualify until fairly late in the year anyway, so this is a bit of a wash.

2. You won't receive your free Companion Pass until you've spent $4,000, so the sooner you spend that money, the better. I've been brainstorming ways to spend $4,000 ever since I saw this credit card offer to end all credit card offers. At first, I thought this would be a challenge (we're super frugal!), but there are actually many easy ways to meet the spending requirement ASAP.

  10 Ways to Meet the Minimum Spending Requirement for the Free Southwest Companion Pass Credit Card Offer ASAP

(Well, ASAP within reason. With a new house with a million projects to be done, we were able to meet the minimum spending requirement within about a week - still no Companion Pass. We paid Chase in full right away - still no Companion Pass. To our surprise, Chase actually refunded our payment and said we were required to wait for the first statement to be issued before we were allowed to pay a cent. This delayed our Companion Pass by about a month.)

1. Let your other cards collect dust while you use your new card exclusively. Chase will expedite your Southwest credit card to you, if requested, and they will also send a free card for your spouse or anyone else you request to add to your account.

2. Pay (and pre-pay, if needed) your property taxes on your new credit card. We're in Bernalillo County, which does not charge any penalties or fees for paying this way which just started charging a fee for 2019. Awww, nuts!

3. Pre-pay your utility bills and any other upcoming expense that do not charge a convenience fee. I work for a dentist and we're totally okay with people having a credit on file in anticipation of future dental treatment. If they end up not using it, we just refund them.

4. Purchase gift cards for your favorite grocery stores, Costco, restaurants, etc.

5. If you're in the market for a car, many dealerships allow you to charge your down payment to a credit card.

6. Make a list of all the home improvement projects you hope to complete within the next 6 months and buy everything you need (storage space permitting) to complete them. In our case, this ranges from simple things, like new throw pillows and curtains, to expensive stone and brick for our living room walls.

7. Pay for tuition. (Many schools accept credit cards. Many do not.)

8. Spring is just around the corner. If you're into gardening, buy your supplies now.

9. With so many free trips in your near future, there are probably travel-related purchases you need to make, such as new luggage, theme park tickets, and hotel reservations. With free airfare to the coast, 2019 is a great year for a cruise!

10. Is there any maintenance coming due on your car(s)? While brainstorming ways to quickly spend the $4,000 needed to earn a Companion Pass, we remembered our truck needs new tires. That alone will get us a quarter of the way to our spending goal and it's something we needed to buy anyway.

50% off southwest flights
Southwest to Japan! Maybe one day. For now, I'll happily settle for the Byodo-In Temple on Oahu. This outfit would have been all wrong for Japan anyway. (It's borderline wrong for Hawaii.)

With our shiny new Southwest credit card and the spending tips above, I should be able to start tagging along on my husband's business trips any day now. Trips to Washington, DC, Kansas City, Tucson, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Oakland are already in the works. Will 2019 be the year this site becomes a Travel Blog exclusively? (Probably not. That would be weird.) Stay tuned.

easiest way to get a companion pass