In the travel-value game, there are always good deals out there.
But a new offer from Southwest is attracting labels like:
This isn’t just Business Insider being clickbait. The deal lives up to the hype.
For the first time, Southwest is offering its usually-tough-to-acquire Companion Pass as a credit-card bonus.
The Companion Pass is one of the cooler perks in the airline business, allowing you to designate someone to travel with you for almost-free. You can also change the Companion Pass-designated person up to 3 times per year.
Indeed, this is a credit-card bonus that can get you and your loved ones jetting across the nation pretty easily.
((Rod Roddy Voice)): “All of this could be yours, if The Caveats Are Okay!“
The Three Caveats
1. You have to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to get the bonus.
Don’t open up any credit card for the bonus unless you can hit the minimum spend as a matter of course. I’ll often pick up a new card before a big purchase: a laptop, new tires, a gravesite, etc.
2. There’s an annual fee.
Depending on the card, the fee ranges from $69-$149. I find the fee is worth it based on the perks and point bonuses you can get. But some people avoid annual fees like the Dracula avoids garlic. Do what you’d like.
3. The Companion Pass is only good through the end of 2019
Savvy Southwest flyers know that the Companion Pass is typically good for the rest of the year you own it *AND* the following year. Not so here. Southwest is labeling it a “promotional” Companion Pass.
For further reading, check out my 5 Commandments Of Travel Credit Cards.
Okay, are you still with me? Good.
If you fly Southwest and know someone that could reasonably be traveling along with you for a couple trips this year, get this card.
And if you’ve never had a travel rewards card, this is the first one to get.
I’m not going to be one of those travel writers that recommends credit cards because I get a kickback from every referral. If I’m telling you a card is worthwhile, that’s because it is.
Once you hit the bonus, you’ll have 34,000+ Rapid Rewards points (30,000 + the points you earn for spending) and that sweet, sweet Companion Pass. It can be your ticket to some great values.
I sampled some itineraries from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and to Orlando. Remember, the Companion Pass is works for trips you book with Rapid Rewards points:
This bonus can reasonably get you and your companion two separate trips for $44.80 (you’re still stuck with security fees so TSA agents can get paid… eventually).
Then you’ll get 2-for-1 fares on Southwest for the rest of 2019.
Folks who live near an airport with a lot of Southwest flights will get particular use from this offer. Those being: Baltimore-Washington, Chicago Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, plus most of Florida and Texas.
One other group that could get a lot of value: families of four.
You and your spouse could each sign up for a card, and assign one kid apiece as your companion. One blogging couple claims to have saved $15,000 over the last 2.5 years from this very system.
I’ve only been in the Travel Credit Card game for a few years, but this is one of the best offers I’ve ever seen. Check your spending, see if you’re set up for $1,333 per month in credit card spending over the next 3 months, then sign up for one of the cards (I’d pick the Priority card myself. Higher fee, but more perks).
Oh, did I mention Southwest will soon be flying to Hawaii?
See you and your companion on Waikiki.
(Editor’s note – Having access to the Hawaiian Islands at these sorts of prices would make this offer a legitimate, almost universal no-brainer. Thanks, James!)