My 2017 Travel Plans…And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass

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This is probably the worst kind of article for a travel blogger to write!  It’s un-SEO friendly, doesn’t really have a clear topic and isn’t something that a lot of people probably care about (why should you care about my travel plans!!).  So I must be the!  Ha!  Well, anyways here are my travel plans and why I love the Southwest Companion Pass.

My 2017 Travel Plans...Or Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
Miles and Points (along with the Southwest Companion Pass) paid for our weekend trip to Arizona.

There are a lot of travel blogs out there…why bother reading mine?

As much as I love reading about exotic trips and faraway locations, I tend not to care much unless I either have plans to go there or I really like the author.  There are a ton of travel blogs out there – the ones I find myself reading over and over have some personality.  The ones I like are the ones where I feel like I actually know (and like) the author.

So, in order to share more about me (and maybe give you an insite to how I travel so much…Southwest Companion Pass), I wanted to share my travel plans for this year (yes, I realize it’s already 1/4 way through the year…remember,! hehe)  You will see that while I travel a lot – this year it’s mostly short weekend type trips.  I’m not jetting off halfway around the world right now (which is a sin to some travel bloggers!)  I have a 3 year old and I don’t want to leave her for that long (and I don’t really want to take her quite yet…see why in my “mom guilt” article).  But, I have no complaints.  I’m having a blast with these little closer to home weekend getaways.

So, here is what my 2017 looks like…


My 2017 Travel Plans…And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass

January 2017 – Cancun, Mexico

I spent 6 nights with my family at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa.  We treated ourselves to this trip instead of buying each other Christmas gifts.  If you are planning to go to Cancun I highly recommend the JW Marriott.  And if you happen to scuba dive, don’t miss MUSA off of Isla Mujeres.

My 2017 Travel Plans...Or Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
We had some fantastic family time in Cancun

February 2017 – Scottsdale, AZ

This was a last minute trip.  I earned the Southwest Companion Pass in January and I was eager to test it out!  I used 25,401 Southwest points plus $22.40 (taxes) for 2 non stop tickets to Phoenix.  We stayed 3 nights at the Hyatt House Scottsdale for 24,000 Hyatt points (transferred over from Chase).  This place wasn’t fancy but it was clean and comfortable with huge rooms, a pool and free breakfast – a steal for 24,000 points!

My 2017 Travel Plans...Or Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
My husband and I had a fun weekend in Scottsdale, AZ. We even tried out some segways.

March 2017 – Denver, CO

I left my travel partner (aka my husband, Jason) home on this trip to visit my friend Karen.  This trip was originally planned because we had plans to attend the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert (my favorite band EVER) in Denver.  Well, the damn thing was cancelled the morning of the show!  Boo.  But, we still had a great time.  We did some shopping, some hiking and basically just chilled for a few days.  It was great.

Hiking near denver red rocks park
I did this hike with my best friend of 30+ years…we tend to get a little goofy when we are together! Rockin’ Out at Red Rocks!

April 2017 – Key West, FL

I planned this trip to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.  I have wanted to visit Key West for a while so I am pretty excited.  This trip was the first trip I booked totally on points.  I used 50,000 Delta Skymiles plus $22.40 (taxes) for 2 flights.  We are staying 4 nights at the Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa.  I used my 2 free night certificates from the Hyatt Credit Card and 50,000 Hyatt points for an additional 2 nights.

My 2017 Travel Plans...And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
We will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary this year in Key West, FL!

May 2017 – Annapolis, MD

For this one, I am tagging along on my husband’s work trip.  Thanks to my Southwest Companion Pass, I was able to add myself to his reservation for only $11.20 in taxes.  He already had a hotel booked through his job so that won’t cost me anything.  He will be busy with work, so I plan to walk around and explore the city on my own.  I’m looking forward to some “me” time.

June 2017 – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

My whole family will be traveling to the DR for my cousin’s wedding.  I am so excited to spend some more time chilling with my family on a beach…and my daughter is one of the flower girls in the ceremony so that will be adorable.  We are flying Southwest – but the math got a little tricky because I bought the tickets as one ways at different times (half with points, half with cash).  I rocked the companion pass on this one too and spent 24,336 Southwest points and $762.38 for 3 tickets.

My 2017 Travel Plans...And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass!
My cousin, Griffin with his fiance Mallory.

June 2017 – New Orleans, LA

Our trip to New Orleans was incentive trip from my husband’s company.  The hotel was paid for by my husband’s company as was his plane ticket — I added myself as a companion on his ticket for $11.20…Southwest Companion Pass strikes again!

July 2017 – Minneapolis, MN

We are planning to spend the 4th of July holiday visiting my husband’s family in Minnesota.  If you don’t like cold (like me) this is an acceptable time to travel North. I paid 43,440 Southwest Points and $33.60 for 3 tickets.  We usually fly Delta to MN to get a direct flight, but I couldn’t pass up using the Southwest Companion pass!  So, unfortunately we have a connection, but I only paid for 2 tickets!

October 2017 – Denver, CO

We will be traveling back to Denver for my friend’s wedding.  All 3 of us are flying Southwest for 42,718 Southwest points and $33.60.  Cha-ching on that SW companion pass again.

November 2017 – Caribbean Cruise

I haven’t been on a cruise since before my daughter was born (we did a cruise to Bermuda while I was pregnant).  My husband’s family and my mom will be joining us so this should be fun.  We will be stopping in San Juan, PR, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Labadee, Haiti.  We paid for the cruise the old fashioned way (with cash money) but I will purchase the airline tickets…you guessed it – on Southwest with the SW Companion Pass!

My 2017 Travel Plans...And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
The last cruise I went on was to Bermuda and I was 6 months pregnant at the time!

What’s coming in 2018

We are going to Costa Rica (all on points and of course flying on the SW Companion Pass!) in January and will be doing a big family trip to Hawaii in June.  Other than that I am wide open.  I’m sure I will try to sprinkle in some short weekend trips along the way.  I also would like to take my daughter to Disney. I’m thinking it could be a good birthday trip, but we shall see.  I’m trying to focus on this year and not worry too much about next year yet (I’m not doing well with this so far!)


What Is The Southwest Companion Pass And How Do I Get One?

My 2017 Travel Plans...And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass
I have gotten almost $2,000 in value out of the Southwest Companion Pass so far!

If you don’t know exactly what the Southwest Companion Pass is, I’ll give you a quick run down.

The SW Companion Pass allows you to designate a companion to fly with you on any paid or award flight, paying only the mandatory taxes ($5.60 on a domestic one way).  When you read that this is one of the best deals in travel, it’s true!  I have gotten close to $2,000 in value out of the Companion Pass so far and it’s good through 2018!  It is valid for the year you earn it and the entire next year.  To earn the companion pass, you need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year.

Whoa, hold on, that’s a LOT of points!  How the hell do you earn that many points?

Well, you could fly 50 round trip flights on Southwest!  But thankfully, that’s not the only way to get it.  Unfortunately, the way I earned the pass is no longer viable, but it’s still do-able through properly timed credit card sign ups.   Points earned through the Southwest credit cards count towards Companion Pass.  Right now, both the Rapid Rewards Premiere and Plus are offering 50,000 point sign up bonuses.  The Rapid Rewards Premiere Business card is offering a 60,000 point bonus.

My 2017 Travel Plans...And Why I Love The Southwest Companion Pass

2 Options For Earning The Companion Pass Through Credit Cards

  • Apply for one personal card and one business card.  Once you complete the minimum spend on both cards you will have the required points and will earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  For more details see: How To Earn The Southwest Companion Pass With Only 2 Cards
  • Apply for both personal cards.  After you hit the minimim spend on both cards you will have 104,000 Rapid Rewards Points ($2,000 minimum spend plus 50,000 bonus points on each card).  If you spend $6,000 more on either of the credit cards you will hit the 110,000 points required for the Companion Pass.

Keep in mind that both cards need to be opened by the same person with the points going into the same Rapid Rewards account.  You can not combine points with your spouse to earn the Companion Pass.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a bit better through my 2017 travel re-cap.  Are you inspired to get the Southwest Companion Pass?  Let me know if you get it – I would love to hear where it will take you.  Happy Travels!

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(Occasional updates, miles/points tips, and travel inspo)


The Southwest Companion Pass allows me to travel A LOT more than I ususally would - it's the best deal in travel! Here's why I love the Southwest Companion Pass, and how to get. it.
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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Winnie

    Wow… I’m just amazed about the opportunities that are available to help in one’s travel expenses. Thanks so much for sharing this, I’m definitely checking the Southwest Companion Pass 🙂

  2. Nina

    I always see and hear about people using up their points for stuff. It sounds great to me and something I should look into.

  3. silvana

    What a gorgeous bucket list for 2017! And already planning 2018! Now you could be already in Key West celebrating your anniversary. Enjoy!

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Well, almost! We are SUPPOSED to be in Key West right now…but we aren’t! Our flights got cancelled and because of the ATL weather mess this week we weren’t able to get there in any reasonable fashion, so we had to cancel the whole trip. Hopefully the rest of my travel plans go better than this trip!

  4. Riely

    I have never heard of the Southwest Companion Pass (probably not good in Canada), but sounds like a great way to travel if you can get the points to earn it. You are traveling quite a lot this year, which all sounds lovely. Key West, Florida will be great for your anniversary. Enjoy!

  5. Gosh what an exciting 2017 you have planned for yourself! I’ve just got back from 9 months in South America and nothing else planned YET! I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl, but feel the need to get something in the diary pretty soon! Inspiring post!

  6. Wanderlust Vegans

    You have been to a lot of great places and the ones coming up look fun as well. That companion pass does look like a great deal and especially when you use the points you build up using the SW airlines credit card. I wish there was a similar thing in Canada as I’m not sure I could get one of these. Maybe there is.

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Yeah, I am not sure how well it would work in Canada…although I have heard rumors that Southwest is looking into expanding into Canada but who knows about that. It’s a great deal if you live near an airport that SW flies in to. I left it off the list because it’s very up in the air, but we are trying to plan a trip to Canada this summer to visit some friend. I hope it works out!

  7. John

    That companion pass sounds like a sweet deal! I’m going to have to look into it! Bummer about the Chili Peppers show getting canceled. I am going to catch them for the second time at Bonnaroo this year. They put on such a great show!

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      I was so mad it was canceled but I am going to another show in May. I have seen them a bunch of times and you are right – it’s always a great show!

  8. Bruce Schinkel

    Great travel plan for this year! I’ll definitely need to check more into earning that companion pass, seems like an amazing perk of travel

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      It’s really a crazy value if you can maximize it… it’s perfect for us right now since we are doing more domestic trips this year. Hope you can get it!

  9. Pavi Shivakumar

    That’s a lot of upcoming travel, and a great way to use the companion pass! I’m big on using miles for travel, and am constantly “scheming” on how I get my family somewhere for free 🙂 I’ve been on a Southern Caribbean cruise, and you’ll love the beaches! Costa Rica is amazing too! Do you know where in CR you’ll be going?

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      Free trips are the best, aren’t they, Pavi! We are staying a little outside San Jose in CR I think. I’m planning some day trips to the beach/volcanoes, etc. Can’t wait!.

  10. Charlotte

    So many different places! I went to Isla Mujeres a few years ago and absolutely loved it, the beaches are stunning!

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      We only saw it from afar since we were diving. I would love to get a chance to actually check it out next time we are there!

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