10 Ways To Get Extra Points Towards The Southwest Companion Pass & Credit Card Bonus Still Counts!

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Million Mile Secrets reader Jay (thanks!) writes in to confirm that the bonus from the Chase Southwest credit cards counted towards his Companion Pass in Jan 2012!

“So I checked again last night and BINGO…not only did the points post but THEY COUNTED TOWARDS the Companion Pass!!! I was pretty happy to say the least.

I only have one problem now. I still need 9,479 points to reach the needed amount.

Do you or any of your readers know of any other ways to get the 9,479 points I need to reach Companion Pass Status without having to make $9479 worth of purchases? Can anyone confirm if the purchased points do indeed not count towards the Companion Pass?

Thanks for all your help and feel free to let others know that the bonus points are still working in 2012!”

The Southwest Companion Pass is the best airline perk because it lets a companion travel with you for free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if your flight is booked with points or paid for with cash – your companion flies free!

You need 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass.  I earned my Companion Pass in 2011 from 2 Chase Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points each and from transferring hotel points to earn the balance 10,000 points.

I was concerned that the 50,000 point credit card sign-up bonus would NOT count towards the Companion Pass in 2012 (does Southwest really want folks to fly for free just because they applied for 2 credit cards?!), but it appears that, for now, the credit card sign-up bonus is counting towards the Companion Pass.  Whew!

You can’t earn Southwest Airline Companion Pass Qualifying points by buying Southwest points, but you can earn them in a few other ways.

A lot of these ways are not technically supposed to be allowed according to the program terms and conditions, but they are working for now.

How to Check How Many Companion Pass Qualifying Points You Have?

You can check how many points you have towards the Companion Pass by clicking this link and signing into your Southwest account.

Cheapest Way

The cheapest way to get the extra 6,000 points needed for the Companion Pass (assuming you got 100,000 points from 2 Chase Southwest credit cards & $2,000 in spending on each one) is by buying 18,000 Choice hotel points for $198 and converting them to 5,400 Southwest Airline points.

6,000 Southwest points are worth $100 towards the cheapest Wanna Get Away Fares, so you are paying an extra $98 ($198 for 18,000 Choice Points – $ 167 worth of Southwest points) to get to Companion Pass status as soon as possible.

$98 is less than the price of 1 cheap round trip ticket, so it could be worth paying just to get the extra points needed for the Companion Pass, if you will be taking a flight with your companion soon.

1.  Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards points (the loyalty program of certain Chase credit cards) can now be transferred to Southwest Airline points if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Ink Bold cards, but Mommy Points confirmed that these do NOT count towards the Companion Pass.

So while you can transfer points to top off for an award on  Southwest Airlines, these points will not count towards Companion Pass Status.

Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt or Marriott and then to Southwest

But you CAN first transfer points from Chase Ultimate rewards to either Hyatt or Marriott hotels, and then you can transfer Hyatt or Marriott points to Southwest Airlines.

However the transfer ratio is NOT 1:1, so you will “lose” some Ultimate Rewards points, but this is totally worth it to get a companion to fly with you for free for close to 2 years!

Transfer to Hyatt and then to Southwest Airlines

For example, you can transfer 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points to 20,000 Hyatt points and from Hyatt you can transfer 20,000 Hyatt points to 9,600 Southwest Airline points.

5,000 Hyatt points transfers into 2,400 Southwest Airline points, but you have to transfer in increments of 1,250 points and start with a transfer of 5,000 Hyatt points.

However, Hyatt offers a 5,000 bonus if you transfer 50,000 points, so you could transfer 50,000 Hyatt points and get 29,000 Southwest Airline points.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and then to Southwest is a better deal than transferring them to Marriott (see below) since you need fewer Ultimate Rewards points to get 10,000 Southwest points.

Transfer to Marriott and then to Southwest Airlines

You could also transfer 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points to 30,000 Marriott Points and from Marriott you could transfer 30,000 points for 10,000 Southwest Airline points.

2.   American Express Membership Rewards Points

American Express Membership Rewards points (the loyalty program of certain American Express credit cards) can NOT be transferred directly to Southwest Airlines.

Transfer to Choice hotels and then to Southwest

But you can transfer 30,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Choice hotel points and then transfer 30,000 Choice hotel points to 9,000 Southwest points.

3.   Hotel Transfers

If you have points in certain hotel programs, you can transfer them to Southwest to get the extra 10,000 points needed for the Companion Pass or you could just buy the points needed and transfer them to Southwest.

I have had personal success with transferring Wyndham and Choice hotel points to Southwest and having them count towards the Companion Pass status, but don’t have personal experience with the other programs.

I suspect that they do currently count towards the Companion Pass status, but you may want to transfer a small amount first to confirm that they do count towards the Companion Pass before making a larger transfer.

It took from 1 day to 11 days to transfer the points in my experience.

a.   Best Western

5,000 points convert to 1,200 Southwest points, so you’d need 25,000 Best Western points to earn 6,000 Southwest points.

You  can buy points at $10 per 1,000 points, so 25,000 Best Western points would cost $250 to buy.

b.  Choice Hotels

6,000 points convert to 1,800 Southwest points, so you’d need 33,333 Choice hotel points to get 10,000 Southwest Airline points.

But you can buy miles at $11 per 1,000 points, but are limited to only 20,000 points per year.  So you’d need $198 to buy 18,000 Choice points (points are transferable only in multiples of 6,000) or 5,400 Southwest Airline miles. 

This is the cheapest way among all the options to get extra ~6,000 Southwest points for the Companion Pass.

c.   Hyatt

5,000 points convert to 2,400 Southwest points, so you’d need 15,000 Hyatt points  to get 7,200 Southwest Airline points.

You can buy 15,000 Hyatt points for $360.

d.   Marriott

The rate varies, but 30,000 points convert to 10,000 Southwest points.

You can buy 30,000 Marriott points for $375.

e.   Wyndham

6,000 points convert to 1,200 Southwest points, so you’d need 30,000 Wyndham points to get 6,000 Southwest points.

You can buy 6,000 Wyndham points for $66.  So you’d spend $330 to buy 30,000 points Wyndham points which can be transferred to 6,000 Southwest points.

4.   Dining

Earn 300 points after enrolling in the dining program and spending at least $25.  I don’t have personal experience with this, but am curious to learn more from readers.

Ali comments that the 300 bonus for the dining program does not count toward the Companion Pass, but miles earned from dining does.

5.   Car Rental

Southwest Airlines has numerous promotions for earning miles through rental car partners.

I do know that a  previous rental earned me 600 points towards the companion pass status.

6.   Flowers

Teleflora offers 1,000 Southwest points on flower purchases of $29.99.  However, you don’t earn miles on the delivery charges.

7.   Hotel Stays

Many hotels offer 600 Southwest miles bonus per stay, so it could make sense to earn Southwest miles for a few of your hotel stays.

8.   Southwest credit card

Points earned from spending on your Southwest credit card do count towards the Companion Pass status.

To qualify for the Companion Pass, it may make sense to pay a convenience fee (~3%) to get the extra points needed for the Companion Pass.  I don’t normally recommend paying a fee to use your credit card, but it could make sense to meet the minimum spending required for a sign-up bonus or for the Southwest Companion Pass.

You can use your credit card to pay your mortgage, pay your taxes, pay your rent, and pay your college tuition bill.

If you’re looking for more ways to spend money on your credit card, check out the 40+ ways to meet the minimum spending on your credit card.

9.   Flying

You also earn Companion Qualifying points by flying on Southwest. 

You earn 12 points per $1 on Business Select fares, 10 points per $1 on Anytime fares, and 6 points per $1 on Wanna Get Away fares.

You’d need to spend $833 in Business Select fares, $1,000 in Anytime fares or $1,667 in Wanna Get Away fares to earn 10,000 Southwest points.

10.  E-Rewards

Reader Ali confims that transfers from e-rewards count towards the companion pass.  But it is cumbersome to fill out e-rewards survey.

Bottom Line:  The credit card sign-up bonus is still counting towards the Southwest Companion Pass, and it may be worth it to transfer points into your Southwest account to get to the 110,000 points needed for the Companion Pass.

If you don’t have any points to transfer, the cheapest way to get 6,000 Southwest points is to buy 18,000 Choice hotel points for $198 and then transfer them to Southwest.

Please comment if you know of other ways to earn Companion Pass qualifying points!

Disclosure:  I don’t get paid any commission for the links to credit cards in this post.

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627 responses to “10 Ways To Get Extra Points Towards The Southwest Companion Pass & Credit Card Bonus Still Counts!

  1. maxine dombrow

    Are The 50,000 Southwest bonus point cards churnable.. How often can you apply.. I had the premier card last year and cancelled it.. Then was able to be approved for the signature card.. I would like to try for the premier card. Should I cancel the signature card or leave it active when applying for the premier card.?. If I cancel the signature card should I wait a period of time before applying for the premier card or does it matter?

    I love your site.. So much wonderful information.. Thank you..

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  3. erewards transfer to SW posted on Jan 14. Request was Jan 8. Counted toward companion pass.

  4. @mmt – Thanks for the update!

  5. Are Choice points no longer be counted towards the Companion pass? Can someone confirm this? What about Wyndham or UR->Hyatt->SW ? Please Advise.

  6. I can confirm that Wyndham points transferred DO COUNT toward the CP, as I just did this. I have read that Hyatt still count too but not from first hand experience

  7. I just had my good friend tell me his Choice Hotel points did NOT count toward his CP

  8. @Raghu @camaro748 – Choice, Wyndham, Marriott & Hyatt all counted for me!

  9. hi,
    my husband got one southwest card with 50,000 signup bonus. when he tried applying for another (bc he wants to get the companion pass) he didn’t get approved… since his credit ain’t too good.
    can i get the other one and then merge them together for 100,000 points? would that work (merging accounts of spouses with same last name)?

  10. Help, please!!!
    I am short $570 for the SW companion pass, as some of my charges didn’t post :-(.
    I have a SW trip for 2 booked next Thursday (2/13), that I was hoping I can just return the miles to my account, after getting the CP.

    Any thoughts of the fastest way to top it off, to get a CP?
    I called SW and asked about transferring points from Hyatt and he rep said it takes 6 weeks…. Ohy…
    (I have access to UR from CSP and to my Hyatt acct, but if it takes that long, I might as well wait until my charges post on my next month account…) do I need to just “bite the bullet” on this trip?

  11. rachel, call chase and see if they’ll change your statement date to tomorrow so that it will close tomorrow. and hopefully the points will post soon enough after.

  12. @tiffyj – You can’t combine points for the Companion Pass.

    @Rachel – In my experience, it took 5 to 6 days for the Hyatt points to post and 1 day for the Marriott points to post.

  13. I have 32 credits on my recent Airtran credita card whcih I can convest to 38,000 SW Air points. If I transfer do these points count to CP?
    What if I keep my Airtran points, when will they authomatically be transfer to SW Air Rapid Rewards? Should I use the credits soon, as I can get some great expensive flights?

    Your advice is greatly appreciated

  14. Garrett Johnson

    How about transferring 10,000 UR points to 10,000 Amtrak.com points which gets you 30,000 Choice points.

  15. @Randy Wegener – You can’t transfer Air Tran credits to Southwest points. They transfer as Southwest credits which don’t count towards the Companion Pass.

    @Garrett Johnson – I believe you either need the Amtrak card or elite status with Amtrak to make a transfer from Amtrak to Choice hotels.

  16. I was approved for the SW Premier card towards the end of 2013 and earned the 50K bonus points (posted this January). However, I did not get approved for the SW Premier Business card to get the additional 50K to qualify towards the CP. I’m short 42K points. What’s the best way to earn the remaining points?

  17. @Choeum – You could try for another card. Or transfer points from hotels to Southwest.

  18. I have a Diners Club MasterCard, and 7500 Diners Club points will buy 6,000 SW Miles needed to reach my 110,000 miles. How do I check that the Diners Club transfer will qualify towards the Companion Pass qualification?

  19. @Holly – You can do a small transfer to check. I don’t have a Diners Club card, otherwise I would have checked!

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  22. I applied and received the two Southwest Visa with the 50,000 offer. Unfortunately I forgot to charge the two thousand dollars a mouth later then the three mouth required. If I canceled then now, do I have to wait the 18 mouth or could reapply for the 50,000 points offer again? Thank you!

  23. @Santos – I”m not sure, but since you didn’t get the bonus you may be able to get the card sooner.

  24. Do you know if they give credit for purchasing gift cards through the shopping portal? Like if I bought a gift card for lowes using their link to lowes would I get 2 pts/dollar?

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  26. That’s a great question Kay! I’m trying to figure out how to get my extra 6,000 points and would love to know if you tried this? I hate to do the hotel transfer points if I could find another way. I’m thinking about doing school shopping early (and online) so I can do stuff like the 5 pts/$1 at JC Penny & then maybe getting my mom, step mom, & mother in law all flowers for mothers day since that would earn 3,000 points (1,000 each)!

    So excited we’ve been planning a Cancun trip & they just put on the SW site that they will be offering flights to Cancun starting October which will save us $500 on this vacation with the Companion Pass!!

    Let me know if you tried buying gift cards & if it worked! Thanks & Good luck getting the points you need!

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  28. I am 40k miles short of companion pass, which we are very anxious to get ASAP because I am going to be do a lot of SWA traveling in the next 2 years. So we want to get the companion pass as soon as possible so that we have it for the best of 2014 and all of 2015.

    I already have a RR Visa card and or the 50k bonus. We spend 3-4k per month on it. So I feel certain we will achieve CP status before the end of the year. But we would like to get our companion pass as soon as possible.

    Any suggestions that would earn us 30-35k companion pass miles ASAP? Buy Hyatt miles and transfer?

    Thanks!

  29. @Mike – You could do that or apply for another SW card.

  30. Thanks for your reply.

    I would prefer to not apply for another card right now. I have all the credit I need, and we’re looking at a new mortgage next summer.

    How many Hyatt miles would I have to buy to earn 20K or so companion pass miles? I think it’s a good investment IF I plan on using the companion use 8-10 times in the next 18 months.

    Thanks!

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  39. Congratulations! You’ve just earned Companion Pass status and are now part of a very exclusive group of Rapid Rewards® Members. Your designated Companion can now fly with you on any flight booked through Southwest Airlines®.

    Woohoo! I have the pass until 12/31/15.

  40. Robert Oldaker

    HI!
    i have 128,000 miles and a companion pass. i live in NY and the places I want to go require at least one stopover making a 3 hour nonstop flight into 8 hours. I have no use for this. Do i have any options to transfer the points to another airlines? or any other idea? thanks!

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  47. I use the smartphone checkpoints app to redeem 500 southwest points at a time really can add up fast if you are willing to visit and scan items

  48. Can you update these transfer methods? I know Amex doesn’t work anymore, trying to find a round-about way to get from Amex into Southwest.

  49. I have a question about buying the Choice hotels points and converting them to RR points. Is it very quick and instant? Meaning, will the RR get put on my account as soon as I transfer them from Choice? I am desperately trying to get about 10,000 points before the end of this month. I’m so close!!

  50. @kelli – They do count, but isn’t very quick ( 8 to 12 days). I’d start ASAP! Good luck!

  51. Do buying gift cards through the SW portal count towards Companion Pass qualifying points?

    Thanks!

  52. @Kelly Flowers – You usually don’t get points for buying gift cards.

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  54. Dorothy Bennett

    I need 5000 southwest pts for my companion pass. Can I buy 5000 points from southwest at for $137.50 and use those towards my pass?

  55. @Dorothy Bennett – Buying points doesn’t count!

  56. I applied for the Premier card and left the RR # field blank. I was insntaly approved. Now I need to sign up for the Plus card but I do not have the RR from the Premier account. Do I have to have that number or can I leave it blank again and merge the accounts if they are both in my name?

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  58. can i transfer my husband’s marriot points to southwest for the companion pass?

  59. Can I transfer points from my wifes RR account to mine and have it count toward the companion pass? And can I use the points as soon as they post without depleting the 110000 totoal?

  60. Gary – Transfer points do not count from the last time I looked. The 110,000 is an overall earning for the year, not what you have “in the bank”, so you can use your points as soon as they post.

  61. I have question about the use of Choice hotel points stated above in this post to get the extra 6,000 points needed for the Companion Pass later this year – beginning of next year. The post said in part : “The cheapest way to get the extra 6,000 points needed for the Companion Pass (assuming you got 100,000 points from 2 Chase Southwest credit cards & $2,000 in spending on each one) is by buying 18,000 Choice hotel points for $198 and converting them to 5,400 Southwest Airline points.” Is this still a valid and possible / recommended way to get the extra 6,000 points needed for the Companion Pass for 2016/2017 ?

  62. Just FYI.
    Ref: 30,000 Wyndham points to get 6,000 Southwest points – SWA is no longer one of the airline you can transfer the points to.
    here is the list of airlines: https://www.wyndhamrewards.com/trec/consumer/redeemMiles.action?variant=

  63. I called SW, and they told me that bonuses from any of their partners do not count toward the companion pass. Shoot! I specifically asked her regarding ordering flowers, the dining reward, and rocketmiles. She told me that the points earned from these count toward CP, but not the bonus points. I noticed that this post showed the e-rewards bonus did count, so I’m going to try that one. But I’m wondering whether anyone has experienced something differently regarding those bonus points? Thanks.

  64. Rachelle–I’ve been doing erewards for a while and they all count toward the CP. the surveys can be annoying,but I’ve earned enough miles for a couple of trips just from doing a survey or two a day while watching tv or something. Also, e-miles transfer as well. They offer miles for a huge variety of things, including a lot of charities. I made a $12 donation to a charity last month and got 2,000 miles which transfer 1:1 to southwest.

  65. @Jessica – how did you make a $12 donation for 2,000 miles? Where? Is that still available? That’s a good deal!

  66. Does transferring Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt then to Rapid Rewards still work? I have both Southwest cards and will have both sign up bonuses soon. I just need to figure out how to make up the additional 6000 points. I have plenty Ultimate Rewards points I can transfer but I want to be sure it still works before I do. Thanks!

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