Travelers know it's important to hold on to good things when they find one. This might be why the Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program is so beloved by people who travel frequently. In fact, Southwest's loyalty program has unofficially been branded the best one in the industry by many customers.

Do the perks offered by Southwest add up enough to make signing up for the program worth your while? The answer rests in how much you plan to spend on travel within the first year of membership.

Why Southwest Rapid Rewards Program Stands Out

The Southwest Rapid Rewards program is a breath of fresh air in a world where everybody is going out of their way to meet requirements for bonus offers and flight deals. Sometimes belonging to a program that gives you the best deal with very little effort can be a refreshing change of pace.

The jewel in the crown of Southwest's loyalty program is the Southwest Companion Pass. This is one of those perks that almost seems too good to be true. However, countless passengers can testify to the fact that this pass lives up to the hype.

What is the Southwest Companion Pass? This coveted pass allows members to bring along companions for free. The pass is good for only one passenger, though.

What's the best feature of the Companion Pass? Members don't need to spend points in order to take advantage of the perk. This amazing benefit simply kicks in and becomes available once you have enough qualifying points in your member account. This is quite a change of pace from most airline policies.

The bottom line is that not signing up to be a member of Southwest's Rapid Rewards program is definitely a foolish mistake if you are someone who travels frequently enough to qualify for the Companion Pass. To iterate, the pass allows a personal companion or business partner to fly for free every time you take to the skies.

How To Earn A Southwest Companion Pass

Earning a coveted Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines takes accruing a total of 110,000 Rapid Rewards points or completing 100 qualifying one-way flights within a single calendar year. It goes without saying that members who earn the pass would have put in quite a bit of time up in the air by the time they qualify.

The reality is that the Rapid Rewards program may not be the ideal program for you if you simply don't travel enough to qualify for a Companion Pass. Some savvy travelers have found ways around the ordinary channels for qualifying. One of the best ways to do this is to use the right airline credit card to earn points.

It's important to know that Chase does prevent customers from opening up more than five new accounts within a period of two years. Of course, using cards to reach the spending amount needed to get enough points to earn a Companion Pass only works if you regularly make large purchases using your credit cards.

How To Maximize The Companion Pass

There are actually ways to make a good thing even better when it comes to the Companion Pass. One of the best ways to squeeze as much as possible out of this pass is to start using it as early in the year as possible.

A pass is valid based on the calendar instead of how many times it's been used. This means that guests of Rapid Rewards members have an unlimited amount of flights to enjoy during the two-year period that each pass is valid for. Guests can also take advantage of Southwest's generous policy of offering free flight changes and allowing passengers to bring along two checked bags.