How Much Value Did We Get From Our Southwest Companion Passes During a Second Plague Year?

TL;DR: In this terrible travel year, our family still saved over $3,000 with our Southwest Companion Passes, so I think it was worth putting much of our spending on Southwest Visa cards.

Our first year ever having Companion Passes was 2020, and because of Covid we only saved about $500 each with them. That’s OK, I said. We’ll make it up in 2021.

I mean, maybe.

This year, Erik and I both had Companion Passes again, but again, we traveled less than we would have liked to. In the first half of the year, we were waiting for all of us to be fully vaccinated. The the Delta variant pooped the party.

We did travel a little this summer though, and are taking a few trips this fall and winter. Since I’m pretty sure I’ve already booked all the flights we’ll take in 2021, I figured now’s the time to add it up and figure out if the Companion Passes were worth putting much of our household spending on Southwest credit cards again.*

The lovely Nutmeg has been my designated companion all year, but next month I’m switching to Pebbles.

Here are all the flights I took or plan to take, with the fares:**

OAK-MDW $156

MDW-OAK $156

OAK-EUG $57

EUG-OAK $79

OAK-JAX $152

JAX-OAK $792

OAK-RDU $391

RDU-MDW $132

Since I took (or will take) a free companion along on every single flight this year, I saved $2,284 in airfare with the Companion Pass. Of course, if it weren’t for that insane nearly-$800 flight back from Florida after Thanksgiving weekend, it would only be about $1,500.

Erik, on the other hand, is flying less than me:

OAK-ORD $157

SFO-MN/MN-SFO RT $475

MKE-OAK $207

SFO-MKE $234

So for Erik, the Companion Pass only saved $1,073.

So, having a Companion Pass saved us between $1,000 and $2,200 per pass in a bad travel year? That’s actually not bad. I can’t wait to try for a good travel year in 2022.

Although at this point, let’s be honest, I’ve learned not to expect anything.

* Of course, we also got one point per dollar for all that spending, so the Companion Pass once we reached 125,000 points is really the cherry on top of the sundae.

** Most of these were actually paid for in miles, so I got the cash value by multiplying x 1.4 cents, which is about what Southwest points are worth.

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