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Southwest Companion Pass: 9 Tips to help you get yours

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

Southwest Companion Pass

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 get 50 round trips in one 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 this post.

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, of course, 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.

If this approach piques your interest, check out Extra Pack of Peanuts or Wallet Hacks.

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 1 month. For example, I have seen offers for 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within three months.

With several sign-on offers available, it is important to do a quick search to confirm you are getting the best offer. In fact, there are two cards available- 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 to early. On the flip side, waiting until July leaves under 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 applied in November and immediately spent $3,000, then the sign-up points could have registered in that calendar year leaving me to get all 110,000 points the following year. That would have been a major bummer!

 

5. TRAVEL WITH SOUTHWEST

 

Southwest Companion Pass

This is a given, but I thought I would mention just in case. Make sure you book flights with Southwest, when possible.

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 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:

TRAVEL
Southwest partners with various hotels, rental car agencies, and ground transportation companies.

SHOP
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.

DINING
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.  

SPECIALTY
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.


With my pass in hand, I look forward to sharing stories of the places Southwest will take my me and husband. Stay tuned!

Do you have a Southwest Companion Pass?
How did you earn points and where have your travels taken you?

Finance, Travel

Hotel Tips and Routine: Feel Comfortable At Any Hotel

As a frequent business traveler, I am not always been able to select the hotel during my stay which has left me in hotels I ranging from 2 to 5 stars. For this reason, I developed a particular routine that makes my hotel stays worry-free and comfortable. The hotel tips below originated out of necessity, but now they are second nature and used even at the most luxurious hotels. Read more about my hotel tips and routine below.


1. ARRIVE EARLY

Hotel Tips - Arrive Early

Views from the John Hancock Center, Chicago, Illinois

When I visit a new hotel, I like to arrive early while it’s still bright so I can check out the hotel and surrounding area.

It is not always possible to arrive earlier in the day. But when it’s within my control, I try to make it happen. In the event a room change or even worst, a hotel change, is needed, it’s so much more convenient to execute during the day versus at night.

 

Nothing is worse than arriving late in the day to a hotel. Tired. Sleepy. And only after settling in, realize the shower isn’t draining (barf). Room change, please! Ok a less dramatic scenario. How about opening your curtains to find you have a view of a wall, but you know other guest are seeing and hearing the ocean. #notcool

 

2. REMOVE EXTRA COVERS

Hotel Tips- Remove Covers

Photo Credit: www.passportpleasues.com – Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa

Remove all covers that are not the fitted or flat sheet. Think throw pillows, runners, and so on.

 

For me, if it can’t be washed in industrial detergent and bleach, then chances are it’s not washed often. And this goes for all hotels – no matter the class. 

 

You can keep the comforter on, but just make sure you are not using it without the flat and fitted sheets.

3. USE TRAVEL SLIPPERS IN THE ROOM

 

Hotel Tips - Travel Flip Flops

Havaianas Metallic Sandals

I keep a pair of bedroom slippers in my carry-on luggage to use in the hotel room. 

These aren’t showers slippers. These slippers are for walking around the room or grabbing some ice from the ice machine. Call me a germaphobe, but I don’t want to bring everything on the floor in the bed with me. 

 

I don’t leave home without a pair of slippers. They go on as soon as I step into the room and are used the entire time. 

Need a pair? Take your pick from the many options available at Havaianas.

4. WIPE DOWN THE ROOM

Hotel Tips - Wipe Down the Room

My travels slippers aren’t the only items that stay in my carry-on luggage, antibacterial wipes also make my list of favorite travel companions. 

I am officially a germaphobe!

One of the first things I do upon arrival is pull-out my anti-bacterial wipes and go to town. I wipe down the nightstand, desk, light switches, bathroom vanity and the toilet seat. And of course, the remote control and phone always make the cut.

I think enough said on this hotel tip, right? Right!

5. UNPACK BAGS

Hotel Tips - Unpack Bags

Now, it’s time to make yourself at home.  Put clothes in the closet and toiletries in the bathroom. See it’s not always about germs and dirt.

I used to be reluctant to unpack my bags during short trips. But I quickly learned it makes you feel much more settled, and re-packing is a breeze. 

6. BRING MORE THAN JUST TOILETRIES

Hotel Tips

I started carrying a washcloth with me after a few experiences with questionable bath linens. 

Other travelers also bring linens out of necessity. The detergents used by hotels can irritate those with sensitive skin or allergies. Many times, I also travel with soap usually purchased locally while traveling. My skin can get very dry, and hotels soaps usually make matters worse. And I can’t lie. I really enjoy the scents of soaps. 

7. DON’T USE IN-ROOM GLASSES OR MUGS 

Hotel Tips - Wash all glassware before using

In-room drinkware isn’t usually washed; instead, a quick wipe down is all that’s done. If it didn’t come with room service, then don’t use it. 

I am not saying we don’t encounter dirty glasses, mugs or dishes elsewhere. I can recall times where my fresh cup of coffee or glass of wine came with a little bit of red lipstick on the rim. Eek!

Take control by not using the drinkware or washing them out yourself in the bathroom.

8. LOOK FOR THE BOOGIE MAN

Hotel Tips- Check out your room

Photo Credit: www.passportpleasures.com – Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa

Okay, this is a bit far-fetched, but yes I look in the closet and under the bed.

Many hotels have no access to the area underneath the bed so this has become a moot point. I can only imagine all things that could accumulate (and rot) under there.

Where did the closet paranoia come from? Simple. Watching way too many forensic, murder mystery type shows (shaking my head). I know the result will be the same, but I would prefer to see the boogie man before I turn the lights off – scary!

9. DISPLAY THE “DO NOT DISTURB.”

Hotel Tips - Display Do Not Distrub

Photo Credit: www.passportpleasures.com – The Henderson Resort and Spa, Destin, Florida

After all my hard work, I will be damned if someone is going to come in and with a few wipes of an ole dirty rag erase my efforts.

 

Nope, not happening. Okay, so housekeeping makes beds but guess who else can? Yup… Me! Hence, the sign goes up, and if I need anything, I will ask for it while I am in the room.



 Do you have any hotel tips? What are SOME of the THINGS YOU DO OR BRING TO MAKE YOUR HOTEL STAY COMFORTABLE?

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