Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Of late, airlines have tended to reduce their perks.
The simple reason is that they want you to pay for everything. The luggage, the seat on the plane, and, perhaps soon, a seat at the gate.
Occasionally, though, when they really want something, they'll dangle an enticement that'll make you wonder about the catch.
Southwest Airlines has just come up with one of those.
The airline is attempting to mesmerize passengers into getting a Rapid Rewards Credit Card by offering them a free Companion Pass, as well as 30,000 points.
Should you have never encountered the idea of the Companion Pass, it allows you to bring someone with you on every flight you take. For free, save for the taxes and fees.
The mere thought that you could get a free ticket for your spouse, illicit lover, or just a friend who makes you laugh is quite extraordinary.
Moreover, should you be someone for whom love rarely follows a smooth path, you're allowed up to four different companions in a year.
Regular Southwest customers have to fly 100 times a year or attain 110,000 rewards points to reach this exalted level.
And all you have to do is get one of the airline's credit cards?
There are a couple of kinks to this seduction.
You have to spend $4,000 in the first three months. Oh, and the Companion Pass only lasts until the ball -- or nuclear missile -- drops to announce 2020.
Why, though, is Southwest being so (apparently) generous?
You'll be rendered rigid with shock when I tell you the airline is under pressure to make more money.
Examine the contours of this deal and you can easily conclude that Southwest thinks it can make more money from a credit card than from, you know, selling seats on planes.
Last year, the airline began offering relatively expensive credit cards for the first time.
It's joining a space about as crowded as the average U.S. economy class. It desperately wants its share.
There is, though, surely one big fear with all this.
Will the airline now compel flight attendants to push these cards on flights? Yes, just as American, United, and so many others do.
Perhaps they could do it the Southwest way. You know, with a striptease routine.