If you have someone you frequently travel with and want to get half of all of your flights for free (I mean, who doesn't?), then this post is for you.
I just spent way too much time booking our flights to Turks and Caicos, comparing cost breakdowns to see if it's a better value to book with cash or points. I wanted to share my findings with you here because A.) I'd love to save someone else the headache of figuring it out themselves and B.) somehow turning my 2 hours of research into a blog post makes me feel a little bit better about myself.
So, here's the breakdown of how we saved over $400 by booking with points and using our Southwest Companion Pass.
- Every SW point = 1.5 cents.
- One flight from OKC to Turks and Caicos costs 14,730 points, plus $103.41 in fees (intl airport fees are steep)
- Converting points to dollars, it comes out to $411.44 for one roundtrip ticket, fees included.
If we booked using cash instead of points, the total cost would have been $457. So, we already saved $45.56 by using Southwest points instead of paying cash.
Now, in comes the beautiful Companion Pass, which lets your designated partner fly free with you on every trip for *at least an entire calendar year. With your pass, you only have to pay taxes and fees, which varies by country for international flights.
- $103.41 = cost of reserving your companion's ticket (taxes and fees)
- $514.85 = grand total for two roundtrip tickets from OKC to Turks & Caicos. (instead of $914, which would've been the cost of two full priced Southwest tickets.. pretty, pretty good!)
- Plus - in case you're not familiar, you get two free checked bags apiece on every SW flight. Yep, even your companion. We usually carry on, but in those times when you need to bring a lot of sunscreen (Caribbean vacay, y'all) it's nice to check for free.
Now, I was curious about how much we were actually saving by booking specifically with Southwest (because that's how I get my kicks in life, lol) so I looked into how much it would cost for both of us to fly to T&C on a different airline.
The cheapest I could find was a combination of Delta and United, which costs $1,142 for two roundtrip tickets, plus $50 per checked bag (um, plus a 16 hr layover? bye). So, compared to the $514 we spent booking with Southwest, that's $627.15 in savings, not even counting baggage fees! And that makes me so dang happy. We just got our second Companion Pass, so we're going on 3 years of free flights and let me just tell you, it never gets old.
A few things I want to point out:
- These prices are reflective of flying to the Caribbean from the Midwest area. If you live in Florida your ticket will be chump change compared to these prices, on any airline I'm sure. I envy you.
- You do need to get two Southwest credit cards to get the Companion Pass. Although it might seem tricky to juggle multiple cards, we use ours as if they were debit cards. I get on and pay them off a few times per month so that we never have a balance and never pay interest, which is just a personal preference but something I wanted to note.
- The fees that you'll pay for your companion ticket on domestic flights are WAY cheaper.
* The Companion Pass can last you more than a full year, depending on when you get it. See my post here for more details.
- This post isn't sponsored by Southwest, but it should be ;)