Wanting to travel more in retirement? Maybe you’re almost retired or maybe you’re already there. Either way, the Southwest Companion Pass can be one of the best tools in your arsenal for saving on travel!

When you hold a Southwest Companion Pass, another person can fly FREE with you (aside from mandatory government security fees) for as long as the pass is valid (up to 2 years), which is a HUGE savings!

First, here are 5 things you need to know about this BEST deal in travel!

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5 Things Retirees Need to Know About the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Companion Pass

If you want to save money on travel, there’s no better way to do it than by securing a Southwest Companion Pass and it’s never been easier to get one than it is right now!

Here are 5 things you should know about this incredible pass…

1. One Person Flies Free to Any Southwest Destination

southwest companion pass retirees

When you hold a Southwest Companion Pass, you can fly one companion with you on the same flight for free. You can pay for YOUR flight with points or cold, hard cash.  

For example, if you and your significant other want to fly to Florida to survive the winter blues, you can book a ticket for yourself with cash OR points and then another FREE ticket for your companion. The only thing you will have to pay is the mandatory security fee, which within the U.S. is $5.60 per way.

2. Use It to Check Off Your Bucket List

couple Utah National Park

Are there places on your bucket list that you haven’t yet visited? With your Southwest Companion Pass, you and a friend or loved one can begin checking those off one by one!

Want to plan your dream trip to Hawaii? Check! How about San Diego or Rocky Mountain National Park, or Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park after flying into Las Vegas? Check!

Want to whale-watch or see the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas? Do it! Southwest flies as far south as Costa Rica and as far north as Bellingham, WA, a great jumping off place to visit North Cascades National Park. Who knew?!!

3. You Can Change Your Companion

senior women friends

Did you know that you can change your companion 3 times each year after you first select them? That means you could have 3-4 different companions every year!

Say you start with your spouse as your companion but then want to have a girl’s weekend away. You can change the name on your pass by contacting Southwest.

You can change it again when you want to take your mom to her high school reunion and then change it one more time to take your grandchild on a college visit to your alma mater.

Southwest’s site does say to allow 21 days for processing, though we’ve never found that to be an issue. Lyn said the last time she changed her companion, it took effect in about 5 minutes :).

4. The Pass Is Good More Than Once 

Southwest companion Pass retirees

Southwest is unlike any other airline! Their companion pass can be used as many times as you want throughout the duration of the pass unlike other airline Companion Passes that are only good ONE TIME. That means you can take a companion for free on every single flight you have planned as long as you hold the pass.

With the average round-trip flight in the U.S. costing ~$350, that is potentially a GIGANTIC savings to your wallet. Wash, rinse and repeat this scenario as many times as you’d like until the pass expires.

5. You Can Earn It in 2 Easy Steps!

You need to earn 135,000 qualifying points to get a Companion Pass.

The easiest way to quickly earn the Southwest Companion pass is to sign up for two credit cards that will meet the required amount of points, meet the minimum spends and have the bonus points drop into your account. Easy peasy!

Southwest Priority Card

You can choose from 1 of the 3 Southwest personal cards below:

AND choose 1 of these 2 Southwest business cards:

[Compare and contrast the 3 Southwest personal cards’ benefits HERE]

If you decide to apply for any credit cards, please use the links within this post as that helps support our small business at no cost to you. Thank you!

What questions do you have about the Southwest Companion Pass?

Happy retirement travels!

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  • Cami Sauder

    Cami Sauder, a member of the Families Travel Free team, is a longtime traveler who aims to be away from home at least 1/3 of the year. She's mastered the art of using miles and points to save on flights and hotels and saved more than $16,000 on travel using points in the last year. She and her husband have a goal to see as many National Parks as possible.

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