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Here’s how to fly with a friend or family member for free through 2022 | CNN Underscored

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Here’s how to fly with a friend or family member for free through 2022 | CNN Underscored

(CNN) —  

CNN Underscored evaluations monetary merchandise reminiscent of bank cards and financial institution accounts primarily based on their general worth. We might obtain a fee via the LendingTree affiliate community in case you apply and are accredited for a card, however our reporting is all the time impartial and goal.

The coveted Southwest Companion Go is an elite journey profit that’s nearly too good to be true. This go permits one other passenger to fly with you free of charge (plus taxes) an infinite variety of instances for the remainder of the yr it’s earned, plus your complete following yr.

So in case you earn the go within the close to future, you’ll have it till December 31, 2022, which means somebody can fly with you for nearly free for about 18 months. And because of some fairly unbelievable Southwest bank card affords, there’s truly a straightforward technique to earn this go proper now with out even stepping on a Southwest aircraft.

How does this work? And is it one thing it’s best to do within the aftermath of the pandemic? Let’s dig into the small print and discover out if getting a Southwest Companion Go is smart for you.

The Southwest Companion Go is really a no-strings-attached perk, because it comes with only a few restrictions. The go means that you can carry a companion with you on any Southwest flight free of charge, plus the price of any taxes and costs, that are typically as little as $5.60 a method for a home flight.

The one predominant rule of the Companion Go is there should be at the very least one seat out there on the market in any fare class on a flight for which you’ve bought your personal ticket, both with money or Southwest factors.

You’re allowed to alter your companion as much as thrice per yr (not together with the preliminary companion), which means in principle you possibly can have as many as seven individuals as your companion over two calendar years.

Historically, to earn the go, you could earn 125,000 qualifying factors or fly 100 qualifying flights with Southwest in a calendar yr. These factors might be earned in 3 ways: paid flights booked via Southwest, base factors earned from Fast Rewards companions and factors earned on Southwest bank cards.

That final technique is a very powerful one, as a result of bonus factors earned from Southwest bank card sign-up bonuses qualify for the Companion Go as effectively. This makes incomes the go that a lot simpler as a result of elevated affords we’re seeing proper now on Southwest bank cards.

Even higher, earlier this yr Southwest boosted many Southwest frequent flyer accounts with 25,000 Companion Go qualifying factors, which means you solely must earn 100,000 qualifying factors in 2021 to earn the go.

Southwest Airways

You may robotically get 25,000 Companion Go-qualifying factors in 2021 in case you had a Southwest frequent flyer account on the finish of 2020.

There’s one caveat to this bonus: Solely Southwest frequent flyer accounts (which means your Fast Rewards account with Southwest, not one in every of its bank cards) that have been opened on or earlier than December 31, 2020, earn the additional qualifying factors. So in case you’ve by no means had a Southwest frequent flyer account and also you open one now, you’ll nonetheless must earn the complete 125,000 factors for the Companion Go.

There are at present a complete of 5 Southwest bank cards — each private and enterprise — which have sign-up affords for brand new card holders that may enable you earn the Companion Go. Right here’s an summary of every of them:

The primary three playing cards on the listing are the non-public Southwest bank cards — the Southwest Plus card, the Southwest Premier card and the Southwest Precedence card. All three of those playing cards at present have elevated sign-up affords, which implies you’ll be able to earn 65,000 bonus factors on any of them.

Associated: Earn 65,000 bonus factors with these Southwest bank card affords.

Now, getting one in every of these private playing cards gained’t earn you the go all by itself, however you’ll doubtlessly get two-thirds of the best way there. After incomes the 65,000-point bonus, plus the two,000 factors you’ll get from finishing the $2,000 minimal spending requirement, you’ll be at 67,000 qualifying factors — 33,000 factors shy of incomes the go in case you received the additional 25,000-point enhance earlier this yr.

Then, after incomes the bank card bonus, you possibly can earn these remaining Companion Go factors through the use of your newly acquired Southwest bank card on on a regular basis purchases, mixed with flying Southwest and accomplice exercise. Accomplice actions embody purchasing on-line via the Southwest purchasing portal, buying flowers and automobile leases.

With many individuals purchasing on-line today, you’ll be able to truly rack up an honest quantity of bonus factors from the Southwest Fast Rewards purchasing portal. Going via the purchasing web site first simply takes an additional minute, and in the end takes you to the identical service provider web site you’d go to straight, however you’re incomes additional factors alongside the best way.

Additionally, so as to add to the convenience of incomes the go, Southwest just lately launched a promotion that permits some Southwest frequent flyer members to earn a further 10,000 qualifying factors simply by taking one flight between now and July 31, 2021. To see in case you’re focused for this promotion, signal into your Southwest frequent flyer account and go to the “Promotions” part inside “My Account.”

However there may be the truth is one other card on the listing that means that you can come even nearer to incomes the go — if in case you have a small enterprise that qualifies for a enterprise bank card. New card holders can earn 80,000 bonus factors with the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card after spending $5,000 within the first three months after opening the account, which can put you at 85,000 whole Companion Go qualifying factors — 80,000 bonus factors, plus 5,000 factors for spending $5,000 on the cardboard.

That leaves you simply 15,000 factors shy of incomes the go, and in case you’re in a position to earn the ten,000-point bonus from the focused promotion by taking one flight between now and July 31, you’ll solely must earn an extremely straightforward 5,000 extra factors.

Lastly, there’s additionally the Southwest Premier Enterprise bank card, however the provide on this card is considerably inferior to the others, as you’ll solely earn 60,000 bonus factors after spending $3,000 on purchases throughout the first three months of opening the account.

Use one — or even two — Southwest credit cards to help you earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

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Use one — and even two — Southwest bank cards that will help you earn the coveted Southwest Companion Go.

Now, if you would like one other technique to earn the remaining Companion Go qualifying factors after getting the sign-up bonus from one in every of these playing cards, right here’s another choice — you’ll be able to truly get two Southwest bank cards and mix the bonus factors from each.

The vital caveat right here is which you could’t apply for 2 private playing cards — the second card should be a enterprise bank card. That’s as a result of Chase — the financial institution that points Southwest bank cards — limits clients to having only one private Southwest bank card open at a time. However Chase does help you apply for each a private card and a enterprise card.

Simply needless to say the bank cards should be for a similar applicant — you’ll be able to’t mix factors amongst members. Additionally, Chase has develop into considerably extra restrictive about issuing enterprise bank cards through the pandemic, although you might have extra luck now than some companies did earlier within the yr.

Let’s put all of it collectively in an instance. Think about you apply for each the Southwest Plus card and the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card. With $7,000 in mixed purchases between the 2 playing cards, you’ll be able to earn the go immediately with none flying, additional spending or accomplice exercise. That’s since you’ll earn 65,000 bonus factors from the Southwest Plus card after spending $2,000 on it, and 80,000 bonus factors from the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise after spending $5,000 on that card.

That’s a complete of 152,000 qualifying factors — 145,000 factors from the sign-up bonuses and seven,000 factors from the purchases you’ll make in assembly the spending necessities. That’s sufficient to earn the Companion Go with or with out the additional 25,000-point enhance from Southwest.

This identical math works by combing one of many private card affords with the inexpensive Southwest Premier Enterprise card. Spend $3,000 on the Southwest Premier Enterprise within the first three months after opening the account and also you’ll earn 60,000 factors. Add that to the 65,000 factors you’ll earn whenever you spend $2,000 on one of many private playing cards and also you’ll have a complete of 130,000 factors — 125,000 from the sign-up bonuses, plus one other 5,000 factors from spending $5,000 between the 2 playing cards.

Simply do not forget that since these are all Chase bank cards, all candidates are topic to Chase’s “5/24” rule. Underneath this rule, in case you’ve been accredited for 5 or extra bank cards throughout all banks prior to now 24 months, Chase will robotically deny your software.

Southwest has three personal cards and two business cards, all of which have sign-up bonus offers.

Southwest has three private playing cards and two enterprise playing cards, all of which have sign-up bonus affords.

With three totally different private Southwest bank cards, you may be questioning which card is greatest for you. All three Southwest bank cards earn the identical variety of factors in your on a regular basis purchases. You’ll earn 2 factors for each greenback you spend on Southwest in addition to on Fast Rewards lodge and automobile rental accomplice purchases, and 1 level per greenback on all different purchases.

In comparison with different bank cards that earn rewards, that’s not essentially the most profitable incomes fee. As an example, CNN Underscored’s benchmark bank card, the Citi® Double Money Card, earns 2% money again on all purchases — 1% whenever you make a purchase order, and one other 1% whenever you pay it off.

Associated: Learn CNN Underscored’s assessment of the Citi Double Money Card.

However though the incomes charges on the playing cards aren’t market main, there are vital variations amongst them that make it value contemplating your choices. These embody the annual price, the anniversary bonus factors, journey credit earned and the choice to purchase as much as a greater boarding place.

You’ll discover the advantages of the Southwest Plus, the Southwest Premier and the Southwest Premier Enterprise to be comparable. The Plus prices $69 on an annual foundation, whereas the Premier (each private and enterprise variations) prices $99 yearly. The distinction between them is the bonus factors you obtain yearly after you pay the annual price.

The Southwest Plus card comes with 3,000 bonus factors (value $42 at 1.4 cents per level, which is mostly the worth you get when redeeming for Southwest’s “Wanna Get Away” fares) on each card anniversary, which means each twelve months from whenever you have been first accredited for the cardboard. The Southwest Premier and the Southwest Premier Enterprise include 6,000 bonus factors at every card anniversary, that are value $84 at 1.4 cents per level.

Though the Southwest Plus card is the least costly choice for the primary yr, if it is a card you consider you’ll be retaining for years to come back, you’ll discover the Southwest Premier to be the higher long-term worth, because of the bonus factors.

The Southwest Precedence private card and the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card are the place the large variations lie.

With the Southwest Precedence, the annual price is considerably increased at $149 per yr, however the advantages are enormously higher. Not solely do you earn 7,500 bonus factors (value $105) at every card anniversary, you’ll additionally obtain a $75 Southwest journey credit score yearly and 4 upgraded boarding certificates yearly. The $75 journey credit score can be utilized towards any Southwest flight buy — simply pay on your flight or taxes in your Southwest card and also you’ll obtain an announcement credit score as much as $75.

The Southwest Efficiency Enterprise has the best annual price at $199 per yr, however with this card, you’ll earn 9,000 bonus factors (value $126) at every card anniversary yr, 4 upgraded boarding certificates yearly, a International Entry or TSA PreCheck price credit score and in-flight Wi-Fi credit.

You’ll discover that the 2 most costly playing cards each include upgraded boarding certificates, that are distinctive to Southwest for the reason that airline boards its airplanes very otherwise than most different airways. There’s no assigned seating — as an alternative, you obtain a boarding place primarily based in your flight check-in time. Passengers are assigned into teams A, B and C, and might be wherever between 1 and 60 inside every group.

Upgraded boarding certificates usually help you buy an A1 via A15 place on the gate (if out there), providing you with the choice to be one of many first passengers to board and select nearly any seat you’d like, making certain you’re not caught at the back of the aircraft in a center seat. Upgraded boardings sometimes value $30 to $50 every, so if that is one thing you’d buy anyway, you’ll be able to put a $120 to $200 worth on this profit. You may even use these certificates for different passengers flying with you.

Considering the entire advantages, you’ll discover the worth of the Southwest Precedence and Southwest Efficiency Enterprise playing cards far surpasses the worth of the opposite three playing cards, each throughout the first yr and yearly thereafter.

The Southwest Companion Pass can be a great way to save thousands of dollars on family travel.

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The Southwest Companion Go might be an effective way to save lots of hundreds of {dollars} on household journey.

I’ve personally been a Southwest Companion Go holder for nearly 13 years now, and it’s saved my household tens of hundreds of {dollars} on journey. The go permits my husband, my kids, my dad and mom and even buddies to fly with me on each Southwest flight I take only for the price of taxes. (Home taxes are $5.60 every means, whereas worldwide taxes range relying on the vacation spot.)

The most effective half in regards to the Companion Go is that you need to use all of the Southwest factors you earned from the sign-up bonus affords to e-book flights — you don’t lose them by getting the Companion Go — after which nonetheless add your companion onto your ticket utilizing the go. This implies each passengers are basically flying free of charge aside from taxes and costs, basically doubling the worth of the sign-up affords.

Better of all, the timing on these bank card bonus affords is ideal. Incomes the Companion Go as early within the yr as attainable means you’ll have it longer. And incomes the go in June — which is possible in case you apply for the playing cards now — means you’ll have the go for nearly 18 months.

With journey beginning to make a comeback, now’s the time to seize one and even two of those Southwest bank cards and get them working for you.

Southwest private bank cards:
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Plus card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Premier card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Precedence card.

Southwest enterprise bank cards:
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Premier Enterprise card.
Be taught extra and apply for the Southwest Efficiency Enterprise card.

Discover out which playing cards CNN Underscored selected as its greatest bank cards of 2021.

Get all the most recent private finance offers, information and recommendation at CNN Underscored Cash.

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