Southwest Airlines is attempting to grow quickly in the Atlanta area after completing its integration of AirTran Airways. AirTran had — and Delta still has — a large hub in Atlanta, so Southwest is making it clear that it intends to capture a larger share of that business.
Customers with an Atlanta-area ZIP code who register at Southwest.com/Atlanta and complete three round-trip flights by May 17 will receive a complimentary Companion Pass (HT to Travel Skills). This is a great deal and enables you to designate one person who can fly with you for free during the rest of the year. Some fees still apply, but it applies to paid fares as well as Rapid Rewards redemptions. Normally a Companion Pass is only provided to those who earn 110,000 points through frequent travel or purchases through Southwest partners; it’s their version of top-tier elite status.
To qualify for this promotion:
- Enroll in Rapid Rewards.
- Book and complete three round-trip flights originating from and returning to Atlanta between February 13, 2015, and May 17, 2015.
- Earn a Companion Pass good through December 31, 2015.
If you were thinking of switching your address to qualify, you’re out of luck. Southwest says existing members must have an Atlanta-area address as of February 5. But if you haven’t created a Rapid Rewards account yet…
Status matches and other offers are not uncommon when carriers try to move into or expand in each others’ markets. Delta has been offering status challenges in Seattle, and Alaska has offered lots of double elite qualifying mile promos in Salt Lake City. But Southwest must be pretty confident to double down like this. For every Companion Pass it gives out, it has two chances to impress a new customer, and it also takes away two tickets that might otherwise have been sold by its competitor.
How lucrative is this offer to you? The fact you can use the Companion Pass on award tickets essentially doubles their value, and you can currently get 50,000 Rapid Rewards points just by applying for a Rapid Rewards Premier card from Chase and completing $2,000 in minimum spend. If you were planning to buy tickets, you could quickly save a few thousand dollars during the year.
But also remember that Southwest is devaluing the Rapid Rewards program in a couple months. (Delta made a similar move.) I expect the changes to be minor and apply to only a few routes, but the problem is no one really knows what will happen. Loyalty is rarely a two-way exchange these days, so I suggest you take advantage of whatever savings you can while this offer is available.
Terms & Conditions
Only Rapid Rewards Members with a valid Atlanta area address in their Rapid Rewards accounts are eligible for this promotion. New members must enroll in Rapid Rewards at Southwest.com/Atlanta to be eligible for the promotion and have a valid Atlanta area address. Existing Members must have a valid Atlanta area address as of 2/05/ 15 to be eligible. Only these Atlanta area zip codes are eligible. Member must enroll or register for this promotion between February 13, 2015 and May 17, 2015, and registration must be completed prior to commencement of travel. Member must complete three qualifying roundtrip revenue flights originating from and returning to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport between February 13, 2015 and May 17, 2015. Three qualifying roundtrips must be booked and travel completed between February 13, 2015 and May 17, 2015. A Member who flies three qualifying revenue roundtrip flights booked through Southwest Airlines with travel completed between February 13, 2015 and May 17, 2015 will qualify for Companion Pass status, which entitles a designated traveling Companion to fly with the Member through December 31, 2015 on flights booked through Southwest Airlines. A qualifying roundtrip for Companion Pass status is a roundtrip revenue flight on Southwest Airlines from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to a destination city, including any intermediate stops and/or connections on Southwest Airlines, and back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport within the same reservation. Companion Pass travel is subject to the government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of $5.60 per one-way trip and any foreign government taxes/fees if traveling international, all of which must be paid by credit card when the reservation is made. Any additional tax liability, if imposed, is the responsibility of the Companion Pass traveler. Award, Companion Pass, Southwest Vacations® Packages, Southwest Charter flights, and reward travel do not qualify for this promotion. Bookings made prior to February 13, 2015 are ineligible. Changes made to itineraries after purchase may eliminate qualification for promotion. Please allow up to 15 business days after qualifying for Companion Pass status to receive your notification to designate your Companion. If Member earns regular Companion Pass status by flying 100 qualifying one-way flights or earning 110,000 Qualifying Points in the calendar year while qualified for promotional Companion Pass status, the regular Companion Pass status will supersede the promotional Companion Pass status rendering the promotional Companion Pass void, entitling the Member to Companion Pass status through December 31, 2016. Visit southwest.com® to review the full Companion Pass status program rules and regulations. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply.