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One of the best perks in travel is undoubtedly the Southwest Companion Pass. By earning the Companion Pass, you can essentially book buy-one-get-one-free travel on Southwest Airlines with the travel partner of your choice. That opens the potential to incredible travel savings.
However, in order to start saving, you'll first need to designate your companion. Here's what you need to know about how to add a companion to your Southwest Companion Pass.
Basics of the Southwest Companion Pass
We cover all of the rules of the pass here. But, let's do a quick overview of what you need to know about how to use the Southwest Companion Pass.
There are few restrictions on using the Companion Pass. It's valid on both paid and points bookings and you can even add a companion to an existing Southwest reservation. You don't have to worry about any blackout dates or seat restrictions. If there's a seat available on a flight you purchased, you can add your travel partner for just the cost of the government fees.
The standard way to earn the Companion Pass is by earning 125,000 Companion Pass-eligible points. If you earn it this way, your pass will be valid from the time you earn it through the end of the following calendar year.
Southwest also periodically offers promotional ways to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. A Companion Pass earned through one of these promotions may have a different validity period.
The Southwest Companion Pass provides buy-one-get-one airfare (other than the government fees, which start at just $5.60 each way) whenever you fly — but only with one designated companion at a time. Upon earning the pass, you need to designate a companion before you can use the pass. We'll show you how to do so below.
If you don't have just one special someone, you have the option to change your Southwest companion up to three times each calendar year. And we'll show you how to do that as well.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
3 steps to add your Southwest Companion Pass companion
Congratulations, you've put in the work and earned a Southwest Companion Pass. You only have a critical step before you can use it: You need to select your companion.
1. Set it up
Upon earning the pass, you should receive an email from Southwest with the good news. In the email, Southwest should provide a link to "Set up Companion Pass now:"
If you can't find the email or didn't get one, you can also designate your companion by logging into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account and heading to your account dashboard. There should be a link there to "Add your Companion."
2. Input their information
When you do so, Southwest will open an internal window for you to add your companion pass information. You're going to need to have the following information about them:
First and last name.
Date of birth.
Southwest notes at the bottom to "be sure to double check all fields" before submitting. Indeed, once you submit this form, there's no way to go back and change your Companion Pass information online. Instead, you'll need to call Southwest to make any changes to the information.
3. Book travel
Upon submitting the form, you'll get a pop-up that your Companion Pass has been added:
You can use your pass immediately after designating your companion. However, it will take around 21 business days for Southwest to process and mail you a physical Companion Pass card. Since that card may need to be presented at the airport on demand, it's best to wait until you receive that card before traveling and take it with you, just in case.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
How to change your Southwest Companion Pass companion
Unfortunately, you can't change a Southwest Companion Pass companion online. You'll need to call Southwest at 1-800-435-9792 to make the change.
Before you're able to change your companion, Southwest requires Companion Pass holders to cancel any reservation with the current pass.
Then, you'll need to allow 21 business days for Southwest to process and issue a new Companion Pass card. Be sure to make any changes well before you plan to use your pass with a new companion.
Remember that you can only change your companion up to three times each calendar year. So, you'll want to be strategic about any changes.
How to add a companion to an existing Southwest reservation
Now comes the fun part: using the Companion Pass. Southwest makes using the pass very easy. Whether you use points or cash, you can add a companion for just the cost of taxes and fees. That's the case whether you're booking a new reservation or adding a companion to an existing Southwest reservation.
First, you'll need to book your own flight. Whether you're booking your flight through Southwest's website or through Southwest Vacations, you can't use your Companion Pass at the time of booking. Instead, once you book your flight, log into your Rapid Rewards account dashboard. Under "My upcoming trips," Southwest puts a handy "Add Companion" button.
When you click that button, Southwest will automatically select the same flight and show the taxes and fees required to add a companion:
Even better, Southwest auto-fills information for your companion based on the information that you provided when designating the person initially.
Finally, complete payment for the taxes and fees to finalize the purchase. Note that your companion will have a different confirmation number than you. So, you'll each need to check into your flight individually.
» Learn more: Your guide to booking award flights on Southwest
How to add a Known Traveler Number when using the Southwest Companion Pass
Southwest auto-fills most of your companion's information, but there's one critical element that may be left out. If your travel partner has TSA Precheck or Global Entry, you'll need to manually add your companion's Known Traveler Number.
To add the known traveler number for your Southwest companion, go into their reservation using their confirmation number. Under the passenger's name, there will be a link to "Add Known Traveler #." Click this link and fill in the number for your companion to get access to TSA Precheck or Global Entry.
The bottom line
The Southwest Companion Pass is an incredibly valuable tool, allowing holders to essentially book buy-one-get-one-free travel. With this guide, you now know how to add a companion to your Southwest Companion Pass and add a companion to an existing reservation. Plus you'll be able to change your Companion Pass designation if you want someone else to fly with you for nearly free on Southwest.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card