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How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass [Updated for 2019]
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How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass [Updated for 2019]

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Bryce Conway, Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

Hi Travel Junkies,

The leaves are changing colors, football is back, and companies are putting pumpkin spice in every product imaginable.

Which can only mean one thing; Southwest Companion Pass season is here!

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass [Updated for 2019]

The Southwest Companion Pass (often abbreviated as “CP” or “SWCP”) is a perk offered by Southwest Airlines that allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight you fly for just the taxes and fees.

So let’s get right to it.

Today we are going to cover all things Southwest Companion Pass. This year’s strategy is going to be a bit different than past years so read closely and pay close attention to the changes to the Southwest credit cards.

Table of Contents

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
How to earn 110,000 Qualifying Southwest Rapid Reward Points in a calendar year?
How to earn 110,000 Southwest miles in a calendar year?
Maximizing the Value of Your Companion Pass
How to Use the Southwest Companion Pass
Changing the Name of Your Companion
Frequently Asked Questions
Final Thoughts

Here we go.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass (often abbreviated as “CP” or “SWCP”) is a perk offered by Southwest Airlines that allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight you fly for just the taxes and fees.

Think of it like a plus-one invite that you can use with any of your Southwest flight reservations. As long as you are physically on the plane, you can bring your plus-one Companion with you.

Unlike many of the other “companion passes” offered by competitor airlines (Delta, Alaska, British Airways, etc.), the Southwest Companion Pass has very few restrictions on when or how often you use it.

How to earn the southwest companion pass

Unlike many of the other “companion passes” offered by competitor airlines (Delta, Alaska, British Airways, etc.), the Southwest Companion Pass has very few restrictions on when or how often you use it

It works on both paid and award tickets, even if you weren’t the one purchasing the flight (work travel, generous family/friends, etc.).

It has no limit on how often you use it.

There are no blackout dates.

And there are no restrictions on which Southwest flights it can be used with. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A First-Class Trip to the Maldives Using Points/Miles

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

This is a guest post by 10xT Reader Jeff Koss. For more examples of readers using points/miles to take amazing trips to check out our 10xT Insiders Facebook Group.

I just finished my first class trip to the Maldives including a long flight in Etihad’s Apartments from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to New York (JFK) — only 4 of the 9 Apartments were occupied.

I selected seat 1H directly across from the Residence. Someone with a ton of cash to burn had booked it but canceled so the butler gave me a tour — you’re not allowed to take pictures so all I have are the memories.

10xTravel Reader Success Story

10xT Reader Jeff used miles to fly the Apartments en route to the Maldives

10xT Success Story

Seat 1H on the Etihad Apartments

It took me roughly 3 years to finally find a seat on dates I could travel and book this trip of a lifetime. Needless to say, I had high expectations and Etihad delivered! The Bordeaux wine and the food were ridiculously good.

10xTravel Reader Success Story

Needless to say, I had high expectations and Etihad delivered! The Bordeaux wine and the food were ridiculously good.

Etihad Apartments

The total cost of these flights would have been $22,831. I paid $117.41 and 221,500 AA miles.

Here’s how I did it!

Maldives using points and miles

All in, I spent a little over $2,200 on flights and hotels for a round-trip first-class trip across the world. Compared to the $25,000+ that it would have cost without points, I couldn’t be happier.

Earning American AAdvantage Miles

I earned 180,000 American miles thanks to welcome bonuses from 3 cards: Barclays Red Aviator, Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select. After putting some spend on each of them I ended up with 190K American miles.

Searching tips: Forget trying to search an outbound flight on Etihad from the U.S. I spent WAAAAY too much time. Thanks to Spencer & Travis, I was told to search from AUH or MLE – JFK.

(Check out some of the other best ways to fly to the Maldives using points and miles here)

Continue Reading

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What to Know About Flying Southwest Airlines [2018]

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Bryce Conway – Founder of 10xTravel.com

Over the past couple of decades, Southwest Airlines has managed to do what many other airlines could never dream of doing. They’ve somehow become one of the most popular airlines in America, while also being one of the most misunderstood.

Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular, yet misunderstood airlines in the US

Everyone has heard of Southwest, many have flown them before, yet most people I talk to are not even vaguely familiar with many of Southwest’s policies and procedures.

So, today we are going to take a look at 10 things that you need to know to help you make the most out of flying Southwest, including how to use them to watch one particular NFL team win the 2019 Super Bowl.

Here we go!

1. Southwest doesn’t fly everywhere

Southwest Airlines currently flies to 100+ destinations in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They also have announced a number of new routes to Hawaii, which will go on sale sometime in late 2018.

100+ destinations might sound like a lot, but if you look at their interactive route map you will notice that they generally only fly to major cities often served by multiple other airlines.

What to know about flying Southwest airlines

Southwest flies to most major cities in the US and Caribbean, but has limited offerings to regional airports

Southwest also flies to many “secondary airports” in the cities they serve — Houston Hobby (HOU) instead of Houston International (IAH), Dallas Love (DAL) instead of Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), etc. — so make sure to double check before using them for a positioning flight.

Personally, I live in Columbus, Ohio and use Southwest for just about all of my domestic travel. I can drive 20 minutes to the airport and hop a direct or one-stop Southwest flight to just about any major city in the US.

The same could not be said for someone living in Montana, West Virginia, or any other area of the country that is not close to one of the red dots on the map above.

One other downside of Southwest is that they operate out of non-traditional hubs, with Dallas Love Field and Chicago Midway being the biggest ones. So you will likely spend your layovers without access to airport lounges and other major airport amenities.

2. Southwest Has No Partner Airlines

Somewhat related to #1, Southwest is not involved with any airline alliance and has no other partner airlines of any kind so when exploring options to fly Southwest, what you see on the map above is what you get.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority 40,000 Southwest points after $1,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

If you want to fly elsewhere you will need to purchase a ticket on a different airline.

This also means that any status earned on other airlines will not be honored when flying Southwest. Which is somewhat of a moot point because…

3. Southwest doesn’t have a conventional “first” or “business” class

Southwest only flies one type of plane, a Boeing 737, and has no first class, business, or economy plus seats anywhere on the plane. Seats are in a 3 x 3 configuration and every one of them is virtually the same. Continue Reading

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Best Credit Cards: October 2018

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best credit card offers for October 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonuses, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, I am going to rank the top offers based on the order in which I think they should be chosen by the average person.

Best credit cards september 2018

Not quite as many changes this month as we had in September, but a few key ones that you will want to be aware of.

If you’ve ever watched the NFL Draft before, consider this list my version of “Todd’s Big Board”. It’s simply the best overall cards available without regard to a specific points/miles need.

I also divide these top credit offers in to two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

(If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is you’re going to want to give this a read) 

And finally, I added a list of the cards to the beginning of the post for easier reading. You can simply click on “the list” or “the details” below to read more about each card.

As always, feel free to email me with questions (Bryce@10xTravel.com) about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Under 5/24:

The List

The Details

Over 5/24:

The List

The Details

Best Credit Cards Under 5/24

 

 

Best Credit Cards Over 5/24

The Details: Best CardsUnder 5/24

 

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 – Learn More)

Image result for chase sapphire preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance

(Full offer details here: Learn More)

Continue Reading

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10xTravel Team: Our Favorite Award Stays

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

Something we’re asked daily in the 10xTravel Insider’s Facebook group is what hotel to book in Hawaii, Paris, the Maldives, and the list only grows from there.

It’s tough to tell people what they should book, though. The points you have and your personal preferences play a huge role in hotel choices. While we can’t tell you there’s a perfect hotel that everyone should want to book, we thought it would be fun to share our favorite award stays.

Today the 10xT Team will be sharing our favorite award stays

While some of these stays are pure luxury, I think you’ll find that an over the top luxury hotel is not enough to make a hotel stay amazing. In fact, sometimes a mid-range or high-end stay is just what you need for a memorable experience.

Now, let’s get into it!

Bryce Conway

The best award stay I have yet to experience happened almost completely by luck at the Renaissance Koh Samui.

My wife and I were on the last leg of a 2-week trip to Thailand and were booked to stay 7 nights at the Renaissance before flying home to the states. The days leading up to this stay were jam-packed with adventurous activities so we were looking forward to a few days of relaxation on the beach.

I booked our award stay by taking advantage of one of the Marriott Hotel + Air Packages (pre-merger). We used 310,000 Marriott Rewards points for 7 nights at a Category 7 property and earned 100,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Roundtrip to South Korea and Taiwan

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

This is a guest post by 10xT Reader Nilesh. For more examples of readers using points/miles to take amazing trips to check out our 10xT Insiders Facebook Group.

By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

When I first started researching the credit card points and miles world, I was definitely a skeptic. I still remember my mom, an accountant, having me sign up for my first credit card before college and to only use for emergencies.

She also stressed the importance of paying off the statement balance in full every month. I figured having one card is what responsible people did. After 7 years with that card (a non-rewards card), I decided to be bold and get a second card, the Capital One Quicksilver Card.

I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to get a card that had the benefits of 1.5% cash back (I was still naïve to the points and miles world). As I started to travel more in my mid-20s (for fun), I began to wonder how much I’d actually have to travel to get upgrades on flights and hotels. I do not travel for work so I quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to achieve any airline or hotel status.

In 2016, as I was dreaming of my next trip, I began reading about points and miles and I haven’t stopped collecting points since then.

Today, I want to share my biggest points redemption.

My girlfriend and I had our sights set on visiting South Korea in April 2018 for cherry blossom season and the amazing food. Since this was going to be a graduation gift, I wanted to make it extra special.

Using Miles To Fly To Asia

Bryce (10xTravel’s Founder) recommended starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)

I started slowly and, after hitting the minimum spend, I moved onto the Chase Sapphire Reserve (at the time you could have both). At this point, I was hooked!

Continue Reading

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Capital One Venture Credit Card Review

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Julie Szpira

The Capital One Venture offers a straightforward rewards earning structure and extremely easy redemption options.

For many people, the Capital One Venture card seems to be the best path to free travel.

Venture Card by Capital One: Learn More

Jennifer Garner espousing the benefits of earning 2X miles for every dollar spent, the ability to redeem points with no blackout dates and tauntingly asking “What’s in your wallet?” has made more than a few credit card newbies hurry to grab a Venture card.

Capital One Venture Card Review

This is not Jennifer Garner. This is the stock photo version of Jennifer Garner.

With a sign up bonus of 50,000 miles worth $500 toward travel purchases, this card seems like a no-brainer!

However, the Capital One Venture doesn’t even crack the top 5 in our monthly credit card rankings.

One of two things is happening here; the 10xTravel staff has no idea which credit cards are valuable OR Capital One put together one heck of a marketing campaign that has been luring customers into opening a mediocre credit card.

Hint: The 10xTravel staff knows some things.

Capital One Venture Quick Stats

The Capital One Venture credit card offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending at least $3,000 within three months of account opening.  Since each mile is worth 1 cent, the bonus is worth $500.

Capital One Venture Card Review

The Capital One Venture card bonus is worth $500 toward any type of travel

The card also offers these benefits:

  • Earn 2X miles per $1 on all purchases
  • Earn 10X miles per $1 on hotel stays booked through the Capital One Venture Hotels.com link
  • A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit (up to $100 value)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

As is standard with most credit cards offering a large sign-up bonus, this card does have an annual fee. However, the first-year annual fee waiver allows you to try out the card for the first year and see how it works for you.

What is a Capital One Venture Mile Worth?

As stated above, each mile is worth 1 cent toward travel purchases. The miles can be redeemed at a lesser rate for gift cards or statement credits, but the best redemption will be toward travel. Continue Reading

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The Most Common Credit Mistake I See (And Most People Have No Idea They’re Doing It)

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today, we’re going to set travel aside and talk about the often overlooked, but vitally important subject of your credit.

Sexy topic, I know. But, hear me out.

Over the past 5 years, you’ve seen me write a lot about credit cards, travel and a little bit about credit. The first two subjects certainly make for more exciting articles than the last one.

I’m guessing you don’t follow a lot of “credit influencers” on Instagram

What you haven’t seen publicly is my one-on-one work with thousands of people to help eliminate credit card debt, repair credit scores and optimize credit prior to applying for a mortgage, student loan, etc. I’m convinced that I’m one of the less than 10 people on earth who actually enjoys talking about these things.

Anyway, like anyone who has been working in a field for a long time, this has allowed me to spot common trends in the way people approach their credit.

So, today I want to cover one of the most common mistakes I see in the world of credit and credit scores.

We’ll use a recent client of mine who we will call “Jeff”, as an example.

Meet “Jeff”

Jeff is your typical upper 20-something year-old guy who is in the market to buy his first home. He has been putting money aside for years to save for a down payment and finally has enough to make his move.

This is a stock photo. I have no idea what “Jeff” actually looks like

Like most people, Jeff has never actively paid attention to his credit score. He checks it on occasion, often using websites that don’t provide a “real” FICO score, but only has a general idea of how his score is calculated.

Jeff opened one credit card after graduating from college (with a $5,000 limit), pays his bill in full each month and hasn’t made any other major credit mistakes (missed payments, collections accounts, etc.).

But, he was confused as to why his credit score was only 705, which is what led him to me.

His initial email to me read like the dozens of others I see on a monthly basis, “I don’t get why my score isn’t higher. I’ve done everything right so far. Is it just because I am young and don’t have much credit history?”

Nope. Continue Reading

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Reader Success Story: A First Class Honeymoon In Switzerland

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: 10xT Reader Matthew F

After getting into the points and miles game almost two years ago we decided to take the plunge and go all out for our honeymoon.

We started planning almost a year out. At first, we couldn’t decide where we wanted to go, but knew we wanted to go to see snow since we were getting married on December 16 and the mountains are very special to us.

image7

W Hotel in Verbier

We finally decided to go to Switzerland, as it was at the top of our bucket list.

image6

Ski Slopes Verbier

How we earned the points and booked the trip

We had enough American AAdvantage miles thanks to the sign-up bonus we each earned with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card. At the time, the sign-up bonus was 60,000 American miles. We also opened a Citi gold checking account which offered 50,000 American miles for doing so.

For a round-trip first class award ticket, we each needed 170,000 American miles. However, one of the perks of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card is that you get a 10% rebate on the miles you redeem up to 100,000 miles (10,000-mile rebate). Since we both have the card, we each maxed out the rebate and now have American miles left for another trip.

image4

British Airways 787-9 First Class, London to Atlanta

British Airways, London to Atlanta

We still had to figure how to get our hands on the rest of the miles, so we ended up doing a few things such as transferring some SPG Starpoints (and other obscure hotel points) and buying some American miles during a sale.

Editor’s note: Make sure you understand the pros and cons of buying miles as the times when it makes sense to buy are few and far between.

To make the experience really special, we decided to see if we could experience a true international first class flight. We found first class award space on American’s partner British Airways from Atlanta (ATL) to Geneva (GVA) with a connection at London Heathrow (LHR). Our return started in Zurich (ZRH) and again connected at LHR on our way to ATL.

The cash rate for this would have been over $5,700 round-trip per person. While we did have to pay taxes and fees including the high surcharges required by British Airways, we felt it was more than worth it for our honeymoon. Continue Reading

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Making The Most Of The Amex Platinum Welcome Bonus: What The 10xTravel Team Would Do

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

By: 10xT Staff

The Platinum Card from American Express has long been a staple in the travel world thanks to the ability to earn valuable Membership Rewards points and a long list of perks to take your travel experience to the next level.

Did that sound salesy and overdone? Well, stick with us.

The Platinum Card has been a staple in the points/miles world for a long time

To start, the Amex Platinum ranks first on our list of card of best cards for lounge access. As a cardholder, you’ll receive a Priority Pass Select membership which allows you to access over, 1,200 airport lounges and restaurants around the world—you can even bring 2 guests with you. On top of that, you’ll also have access to Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs—when you fly Delta.

Platinum Card by American Express: Learn More

You’ll also receive complimentary gold elite status with Hilton and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)—soon, this will be with Marriott). While gold status with Marriott won’t be crazy valuable as of August 1, 2018, gold status with Hilton is enough to get you free breakfast at a number of Hilton brands.

When it comes to the limited time offer, the standard offer is 60,000 Membership Rewards points with a $5,000 minimum spend. However, some have had success getting a higher welcome bonus of 100,000 points with a $5,000 minimum spend by using the Card Match Tool.

Here are some of the other details you should know about the Amex Platinum:

  • 5X on airfare purchased directly with airlines and airfare/hotels purchased through AmexTravel
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • $200 Uber credits—$15 per month with an additional $20 in December
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR)

To provide you with a little travel inspiration, the 10xTravel team has put together how we would use the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus. For the purposes of our examples, we’ll assume that you earn 1X point per dollar on $4,400 while spending $600 on airfare purchased from airlines and prepaid hotels with Amex Travel.

This leaves us with 68,000 Membership Rewards points to use.

We’ll also cover how we’d use 108,000 Membership Rewards points just in case you happen to get that offer through the Card Match Tool.

Now, let’s get into it! Continue Reading