I have been using a Southwest premier visa credit card for all of my purchases for the past couple years to fund my flights from Michigan to Vegas. I had previously used the Spirit card but the added fees, blackout restrictions forced me to look at other options. When Southwest announced they would resume direct flights from Flint, MI to Vegas I was sold! The card does carry a $99 annual fee but each year you receive 6,000 miles on your anniversary. I also seem to get 4-8 free drink tickets sent to me a year which is nice. I have my wife on as a cardholder as well to maximize our purchases on this card. We tie our car insurance, phone bills, cable, gas and groceries which adds up to quite a bit. Upon signing up in 2012 I received 50,000 miles as a signup bonus which was great, but I didn't realize their was an additional advantage play with this card until this year.Millionmilesecrets.com
uncovers the world of travel secrets, specializing in credit card bonuses. What they taught me was that when the Southwest card is offering the 50,000 miles sign up bonus (this occurs off and on) that you can use those bonus miles towards the companion pass. The companion pass requires 110,000 reward points in a 1 year period. This entitles you to name a companion for a year to fly for free each time you add them to your reservation! If I was really savvy I would have signed up for both of Southwest's cards and then only had an additional 10,000 miles to obtain this pass. Instead Ive already been a premier card holder, so I decided to go after this goal by adding another southwest card to my arsenal. I signed up for the Southwest plus card which has an annual fee of 69.00 but I was able to get the 50,000 mile bonus. I am not sure what the spending requirement was, but it was around $2,000 in 3 months to get the bonus. My bonus posted for me this month!
So I cannot confirm the benefits of the companion pass yet but I am very close. Logging into the southwest app shows your progress toward the companion pass and how many miles are remaining. As promised, the 50,000 went toward this goal, and I am left with 16,000 miles before January 1st to get my pass. These miles must post before year end, so in reality I lose December. Another thing that I was planning on doing was to utilize the rapid rewards mall that offers rapid rewards bonuses from certain retailers, but it looked as though those bonuses did not add to my progress towards this pass.
I think I will make it and I will be sure to post my results and hopefully my experiences with the pass as I enjoy them. As it gets down to the wire, I found another option on millionmilesecrets.com
is a website that allows you to use your charge card to make payments on home mortgages and other loans that ordinarily do not allow credit card payments. The catch is they charge you a fee based on the amount of the payment. I normally will not pay unnecessary fees for something like this, but if I log my usual 3 trips to vegas next year using the companion pass I estimate I will save at least $750 and upwards of $1000 depending on flight pricing. At most I may hit $70 in fees for using this service for 3 months, so in my eyes a worthwhile trade off.
If you have decent credit and are interested in the companion pass, my advice would be to watch out for the next 50,000 sign up bonus and sign up for both cards. As long as you can meet the spending requirements on both you will be able to get 100,000 miles towards the 110,000 goal and be that much closer to free flights! Also, if you time this right and sign up at the beginning of 2015, meet your spending requirements by say March, you could have your miles post in April and you would get the companion pass for 20 months!!