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Southwest Emails Free Companion Passes by Mistake

A group of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards members received an email stating they had earned one of the most coveted perks of any airline loyalty program—the Companion Pass.

The Companion Pass allows frequent flyer members who have either purchased their own ticket or used their own award points to get a ticket, to add a companion for free (though, airport taxes and fees still must be paid).

It was a dream come true, and then they collectively woke up.

Southwest followed with a mea culpa that it was a mistake. The airline told members via email and tweets that “We apologize as this notification email was sent in error. You may log into your Rapid Rewards account to review your current status.”

Fortunately for the airline, the majority of its customers who responded took the glitch in stride, mostly because they realized they were nowhere near the stringent requirements needed to achieve a Companion Pass.

According to Southwest’s website, you’ll typically need to earn 110,000 qualifying points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year to earn a Companion Pass. If you can successfully reach those thresholds in 2019, your Companion Pass will be valid through the end of 2020.

That’s right. The pass is valid for the rest of the year in which you earn it plus the entire following year. If you time it correctly, you could get nearly two years of use out of it by meeting the requirements early in the year. However, if you mistime it, you might miss out on the pass entirely.

Alas, for those who had it and lost it, it was a nice dream.