Do you love to travel AND have someone you want to take on all your trips? Then the Southwest Companion Pass is just what you need. In this post, I share 9 tips to help you get a Southwest Companion Pass using the Chase Rapid Rewards credit card.
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR PRIMARY STRATEGY
There are two ways to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass – flying 100 one-way flights or earning 110,000 points.
Even though I travel frequently compared to the average person, I knew I wouldn’t book 50 round trips flights in one calendar year. It was clear I needed another strategy.
With that in mind, I went about earning my companion pass by applying for the Chase Rapid Rewards card to get sign-up points. I will tell you more about the sign-on points later in bullet 3.
2. DECIDE ON ONE CARD OR TWO
You can apply for two cards -personal and business- to get the most sign-up points. Something to keep in mind, getting two cards will result in two hard inquiries possibly affecting your credit score. I decided on one card to avoid any impacts to my credit score. Plus one of the cards is technically for a business which requires some verification.
With the two-card strategy, you not only get two cards, but you also can get up to 100,000 sign-up points from both cards combined– just 10,000 points shy of the target.
NOTE: There are two card levels available – premier and plus. Premier is ideal as you get more sign-on points. Let’s get to those sign-up offers.
3.TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SIGN-UP OFFERS
There are various sign-up offers available after spending a specific dollar amount within three months or as quickly as one month. For example, I have seen offers for 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months.
With several available sign-on offers, it is important to do a quick search to confirm you are getting the best offer. In fact, the two cards – premier and plus- both come with different sign-up offers so read the details carefully.
4. APPLY LATE OR EARLY IN THE YEAR
To maximize the length of time to earn points, you should either apply early in the year or later. In others words, January/February or November/December.
I applied in January 2016 which gave me almost a full year to accumulate points and also I didn’t have to worry about hitting the spending amount too early. On the flip side, waiting until July leaves less than six months to get 110,000 points.
CAUTION: If applying late in the year be careful not to hit the spending amount too soon. For example, if I apply in November and immediately spent $3,000, then the sign-up points could register in the same calendar year. If this happens, then I go into the following year still needing 110,000 points. I have had a couple friends who made this critial mistake. Can we say #majorbummer!
5. TRAVEL WITH SOUTHWEST
This is a given, but I thought I would mention just in case. Make sure you book flights with Southwest, when possible. By book with Southwest, you earn more points per dollar.
Also, don’t miss out on earning extra points when booking Southwest Vacation packages. The packages include airfare, hotel and ground transportation.
6. PILE ON BILLS AND PURCHASES
As noted earlier, I was pretty sure I would not get the Southwest Companion pass based solely on flights. This made it necessary to use the Chase Rapid Reward card for as many purchases as possible.
Pile all your bills and purchases on the card. Think electric, cable, internet to groceries, gas, clothing and the list goes on and on.
Also, if you have a big-ticket purchase to make, then delay the purchase so you can use your Chase Rapid Reward card. That is of course only if your purchase can wait. I would hate to hear you waited to buy a much-needed refrigerator.
NOTE: Your mortgage and car payment probably won’t make the cut so don’t bank on these bills to get points.
7. ADD AUTHORIZED USERS
Adding an authorized user is an excellent way to gain points, but make sure to proceed with caution.
When thinking about aurthorized users for any credit card, you only want responsible people having access to your card. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for all purchases made.
Consider very carefully who you want to add as a user.I added my husband, so his everyday purchases help with earning points. I felt he was pretty safe (wink).
8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF Southwest PARTNERS
Now, let’s take a look at Southwest Partners:
Southwest partners with various hotels, rental car agencies, and ground transportation companies.
Rapid Rewards Shopping allows you to earn 1 – 10x points per dollar when you shop brands listed. I bought my MacBook Air on the site and gained over 1200 bonus points. It’s also great for other purchases and occasions such as Mother’s Day.
By linking the Chase Rapid Rewards to the Southwest Dining Club, I earned points automatically when dining at some local restaurants.
Home and Lifestyle
This is a limited area, but if you are shopping around for electric companies, then it’s definitely worth checking out. I have seen offers to earn up to 27,000 points by signing a 2-year contract with Reliant Energy.
I get impatient with surveys, so I haven’t taken advantage of this category, but you can get points for completing surveys through various vendors.
9. DON’T JEOPARDIZE YOUR CREDIT HISTORY/SCORE
Finally, we have arrived at the last and most important tip.
As you consider tips 1-8, only make purchases you can afford to pay them off by the end of the billing cycle. Also, be mindful of purchasing tickets for friends and family.
A strong credit score is vital in securing loans, leases, and low deposits/payments. Yes, you will get free travel, but the consequences and cost to repair your credit may be far greater.
My pass brought my husband and I to many awesome destinations in 2016 which included Denver, Jamaica, The Bahamas and a few more. It also saved us tons of money by using points and the companion pass during travel. Stayed for a post on our savings.