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The Best Cities for the Southwest Companion Pass

Jan. 12, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards, Vacations & Trip Planning
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The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass represents a lot of potential travel. After achieving the requirements to earn it, Southwest regulars have the opportunity to bring a friend with them for only taxes and government fees.

But can you really get your money’s worth out of it without being a frequent flyer? According to airfare pricing data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, travelers in some cities can save more money by using the Companion Pass, while others have more opportunities to take advantage of low-cost airfare.

» Learn more: NerdWallet’s guide to the best airline and hotel loyalty programs

The cities where you save the most money

Southwest flies to 99 different cities in the United States and 10 additional countries. But the average price for airline tickets differs in every city.

In the most expensive airfare cities, the Companion Pass can save you a lot of money. Through the “buy one, get one” deal for one person, you can save $400 or more, cutting down on your trip costs and helping you travel more.

» Learn More: Have questions about the Southwest Companion Pass? Get answers in the NerdWallet community.

According to outbound round-trip price data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, people who live near these cities have the most to save when they use the Southwest Companion Pass on their 2019 trips:

  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM): $447.87 average airfare
  • Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP): $441.20 average airfare
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS): $438.07 average airfare
  • Little Rock Airport (LIT): $433.09 average airfare
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport: $426.62 average airfare

» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you

The cities where you can fly more with a companion

While the Southwest Companion Pass can help you save money out of the most expensive airports, it can also help travelers cruise about the country in the cheapest cities, too. Friends who have a bucket list of places they want to see in 2019 may benefit from the Companion Pass flying out of these low-fare cities:

  • Long Beach Airport: $208.19 average airfare
  • Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: $240.22 average airfare
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport: $241.16 average airfare
  • Orlando International Airport: $250.78 average airfare
  • Long Island MacArthur International Airport: $254.74 average airfare

How does your city compare?

What does the average airfare look like in all the American cities Southwest flies to? Here’s what the U.S. Department of Transportation says you may pay on average to fly:

Airport City Southwest Airlines ServesAverage Airfare Cost According to U.S. DOT Data
Long Beach$208.19
Ft. Lauderdale$240.22
Las Vegas$241.16
Long Island/Islip$254.74
Chicago (Midway Airport)$301.60
Dallas (Love Field)$304.67
San Jose, CA$304.74
New Orleans$307.99
Ft. Myers$322.32
New York LaGuardia International Airport$324.81
West Palm Beach$326.70
San Diego$328.24
Portland, OR$329.57
Austin, TX$340.39
Ontario, Calif.$340.81
Houston (Hobby Airport)$346.95
Reno, NV$347.72
Boise, ID$350.95
Spokane, WA$352.31
Los Angeles$353.21
Kansas City, MO$353.48
Washington Reagan$357.86
Columbus, OH$358.13
Rochester, NY$358.73
Salt Lake City$359.62
Charleston, SC$360.58
Minneapolis/St. Paul$361.83
Santa Ana (Orange County)$366.45
Omaha, NE$367.73
St. Louis, MO$368.40
San Antonio$369.36
El Paso, TX$373.61
San Francisco$377.56
Portland, ME$377.74
Manchester, NH$381.38
Des Moines, IA$385.51
Oklahoma City$389.89
Newark Liberty$394.47
Tuscon, AZ$395.70
Grand Rapids, MI$396.11
Albany, NY$397.17
Tulsa, OK$399.16
Memphis, TN$400.17
Louisville, KY$400.92
Wichita, KS$407.16
Richmond, VA$412.23
Norfolk/Virginia Beach, VA$421.02
Washington Dulles$425.02
Charlotte, NC$426.62
Little Rock, AK$433.09
Pensacola, FL$438.07
Greenville/Spartanburg, SC$441.20
Birmingham, AL$447.87

Promotional Companion Pass Offer

For a limited time, all three co-branded Southwest consumer credit cards are offering new cardholders the following sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Note that this promotional pass differs from a traditional Southwest Companion Pass in two ways:

• To earn this pass, you only need to meet the spending requirement within three months.

• This promotional pass is good only for travel through Dec. 31, 2019.

For more information on this promotion, see our story.

» Learn More: Southwest Rapid Rewards Program: The Complete Guide

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Southwest Rapid Rewards program: The complete guide
6 nearly free trips you can take with the Southwest Companion Pass promotion
Which Southwest credit card should I choose?

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