The single best trick to travel domestically is still alive!

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We’ve witnessed a few longstanding points and miles tricks fizzle out in recent weeks. Fortunately, not everything is gloomy as I am happy to report that the single best trick to traveling domestically on points is alive and well!

I am speaking of course about the easy way to obtain the most powerful and underrated tool in the travel game, the Southwest Companion Pass.  The trick has been written about before but I want to continue to emphasize the value of the Companion Pass because of the amazing opportunities it has opened up for me over the last three years as a cardholder.

In December when the signup bonuses for the personal and business Southwest Visa were at 50,000 points each, I suggested several readers, friends and family obtain both cards at once but not hit the spending threshold until January. Southwest operates on a calendar year so earning the Companion Pass in January 2013 gives the benefit to fly a companion along with the Companion Pass holder on every flight for free through December 2014.  The Companion Pass is not capacity controlled except for the case of a sold out flight.  That is two FULL years of flying free (if using some of your 100,000 points) or effectively cutting your out of pocket cost in half if the Companion Pass holder pays for the ticket.  There is really no sweeter deal to travel domestically than this.

I can confirm that two of my readers have received both of their 50,000 credit card signup point bonuses and the points properly posted as Companion Pass Qualifying Points in 2013.  The program terms have never been 100% clear so I was glad to see that the deal is still on.  I was happy to hear these two readers now have the best tool in the game at their disposal.

Whether you use the Companion Pass to visit family, fly to your international gateway city for an international trip, or visit one of 1000+ amazing destinations here in the US, I can assure you free domestic travel for you and your companion is AWESOME!  This is the type of trick that can make a believer out of the biggest points skeptics.

As I mentioned before, I am so grateful for my Companion Pass.  In the last 3 years I have used my pass for me and my companion to visit the following amazing cities (many more than once) over a weekend including Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Park City, Phoenix, El Paso, Marfa, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Boulder, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Charlotte, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City, and Boston just to name a few.

The current bonus is set to 25,000 points per card so it’s best to wait for the bonus to jump back to 50,000 which it seems to do every few months.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. I just transferred 125K Marriott points into 50K Southwest points and they counted towards the companion pass. My 1st Southwest CC statement closes tomorrow… so that’ll be another 50K. Almost there…

  2. One problem … You have to fly Southwest. Seriously though I’m glad it works out so well for you and many others

  3. Are you sure the 100K points count towards Companion Pass? In the T&C there’s something about earning 1500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in spend…


  4. @Tom and @UnitedEF: What do you hate about flying Southwest? Have you flown them recently? I flew several WN flights last year in addition to AA, UA, DL, AS, VX, and a few foreign carriers… I have no status on WN but found them to be quite pleasant (especially compared to UA.)

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