We did it! We finally earned the coveted Southwest companion pass. This status will allow us to travel for half the price through the end of 2020. Whomever I designate as my travel companion, which would obviously be my wife, will be able to tag along with me where ever I go, for the price of just the taxes and fees associated with that flight (typically $5.60 each way for domestic flights). Never mind that we are 6 months pregnant. And never mind mind that this is our second child which presents its own challenges when it comes to traveling. The plan is to maximize the heck out of the benefit.
How Did We Do It?
First, I signed up for the Southwest Premier Business Credit Card. The sign up bonus at the time was 60K points after meeting the minimum spending requirements, which is among the best ever offered for the card. This card comes with a yearly fee of $99 which essentially just gets me 6K points on a yearly basis. The companion pass requires 110K points, so I was more than half way to the goal. In addition to the sign up bonus, I put a bunch of additional spending on the card and took advantage of some shopping portals opportunities to earn us an additional ~10K points. I was really just buying time because I knew I would not be approved for another Chase credit card for a few months. Then, my wife breaks the news to me that we are pregnant, which almost stopped me dead in my tracks. But I’d come too far to turn back now. Chase was now offering another 60K sign up bonus for one of its newest cards, the Southwest Priority Credit Card. This card came with a $149 but comes with several other perks that should bring this price down. So, my second action was to get the personal Southwest Priority Credit Card, which allowed me to earn the additional points needed to earn the pass.
So Where Are We Going?
The first order of business was to determine where Southwest flies nonstop. I can easily tolerate a flight with a short stop. However, with two kids in tow, I trying to be realistic. The closest and most convenient airport for us is BWI. With the starting point and flight preference in mind, I compiled a list of possible destinations. I like to group my travel plans into 3 categories.
Family and Friends
- Atlanta, GA – Family visits
- Orlando, FL – Holidays with family
- Jamaica – Birthday celebration for a close friend
Fun and Exploration
- Nashville, TN
- Houston, TX
- Austin, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- Costa Rica
There are a few other places I’d like to visit but I am pairing it down to try to be realistic. Austin and San Antonio can and will be visited during the same trip. Nashville is just a short ride away. For Costa Rica however, I’d like to slow down a bit for explore.
- New Orleans, LA
This is (usually) a kidless trip. It is my turn to plan for our fourth anniversary trip this year. With a baby on the way, the only destination that I am seriously considering is New Orleans. My wife and I have both visited separately, but not together. That is unless I can convince my wife to let us postpone this year’s celebration
Im open to any and all travel tips and ways to maximize the Southwest companion pass. Please share with me any suggestions you might have.