*This post is a follow-up to “The Best Deal In Travel Is Back. Get On Your Way To “Companion Pass” With Southwest 50,000 Point Bonus“
Learning how to optimize and accelerate your Southwest Rapid Rewards point balance in order to achieve Companion Pass status can be tricky and a job in itself. But once you understand the system, it makes all the difference.
I’ve been flying nearly free on Southwest for the past two years, and so has my wife alongside me. I’m here to help you to do the same.
So you (hopefully) got your Rapid Rewards VISA card, and locked in that 50,000 point signup bonus, what next? How do you make up the 60,000 point differential you need within a calendar year to earn the Companion Pass? Well, if you didn’t just get the Business Premier card too (currently +60,000 point signup bonus), then you’re going to want to make the most of the following two rewards systems!
Welcome to you’re new hotel booking best friend. I get it if you swear by Airbnb, and sometimes that does make more sense. But I will always first check Rocketmiles for bonus points on my upcoming bookings. Here’s how Rocketmiles works.
You simply link your Southwest Rapid Rewards account to Rocketmiles, and by booking hotels through their portal, you can earn massive point bonuses. Like seriously, MASSIVE. I once saw a deal while searching that offered 40,000 Rapid Rewards points for a 4 night booking at a resort in Scottsdale. That was nearly worth flying to Arizona for…
My best booking so far earned me 15,000 Rapid Rewards points for staying 2 nights at the Resort at Squaw Creek while out in Tahoe running the Spartan Race World Championships. Because of that bonus, the points I used to fly from Boston to Reno came out as a wash. That was great!
Assuming when you pay your booking on the Southwest credit card, the bonuses you earn off the hotel bookings combine with the existing point earning structure of the card, and you get a solid bump in your Rapid Rewards account, edging you that much closer to Companion Pass.
Don’t start buying up tons of extravagant junk you normally wouldn’t buy just because you want the points. That’s a no-no on the responsible credit card owner scale. But, for purchases you are going to make regardless, go through the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal first. Here’s an example to demonstrate why.
Let’s say you need a new down parka and a four season tent for an upcoming winter camping trip. For these items, you could go straight to Backcountry.com, select what you need, and drop $1500 at checkout. You put the order on your Southwest VISA card, which is a step in the right direction, and that earns you 1500 Rapid Reward points. Not bad… but you could have had more.
Backcountry is just one of many shopping partners on the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal, and so if you had gone to their first, and clicked through the Backcountry, you would be earning 4 points per dollar on your purchase instead! For that extra 15 seconds of going through a second site, you turned 1,500 points into 6,000. It’s simple and makes a HUGE difference. Even for the small things.
Want to order flowers for you mom? Visit flowers.com via Rapid Rewards Shopping and bank a Southwest point bonus for a good deed 😉
Putting the points to work…
The beauty of utilizing Rocketmiles and the Rapid Rewards Shopping portal is that you get rewarded with serious point bonuses for everyday and travel purchases you would be making anyway. And then here’s the best part…
Once you’ve earned Companion Pass, meaning you crossed the 110,000 point threshold, you now have a crapload of points to use towards booking free travel for yourself throughout the following year AND the Companion you named travels on a free fare too.
Use those points to book your ticket, pay the $11.20 in taxes for both yourself and your travel buddy, and you might get 5 or 6 roundtrip flights out of the deal for $20 a pop! Meanwhile, you’re using the above tactics to continue to rack up points and feed the addiction.
And that’s how to work the Rapid Reward point system to earn, utilize, and keep Companion Pass. Have any questions? Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And good luck!