Can You Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest for the Companion Pass?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Robert writes in:

Can I use the transfer of ultimate rewards points to southwest to complete my companion pass?

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best ways to save money on airline tickets for travel within the US.

2 Southwest credit cards and 10,000 extra points can get you $3,666 in Southwest travel and a Southwest Companion pass so that your companion can fly free (pay just the $2.50 security fee) for two years!

50,000 Point Southwest Premiere & Companion Pass

Our Southwest Companion Pass!

You get the Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points a calendar year.  You can earn points in a variety of ways.  But not all points qualify towards the Companion Pass.

Ultimate Rewards Points

You earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with a Chase credit card which earns Ultimate Rewards points or by shopping at the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Unfortunately, you can’t transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest and have them count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.  That would be too easy!

But there is an indirect way to earn Companion Pass points from Chase Ultimate Rewards points…

Other Ways to Earn Companion Pass Points

Robert can earn points towards the Companion Pass by:

  • Spending (or the sign-up bonus) on the Southwest credit cards
  • Flying on Southwest
  • Earning points from Rapid Rewards partners such as hotels and car rentals

Marriott and Hyatt Transfers

Robert can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or Marriott hotels points and from Hyatt or Marriott to Southwest.  Currently, transfers from Hyatt & Marriott do count towards the Companion Pass status, but could change at any time.

But he will lose some Ultimate Rewards points in the transfer because the transfer ratio is NOT 1:1.  But it could be worth it to top-off your Southwest account for the Companion Pass!

1.  Hyatt Transfers

Robert can transfer, say, 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 5,000 Hyatt points i.e. a 1:1 transfer ratio.

He can then transfer 5,000 Hyatt points to 2,400 Southwest points.

Hyatt gives you a bonus for transferring 50,000 points.  So if he transfers 50,000 Hyatt points to 24,000 Southwest points, he will get a bonus of 6,000 extra Southwest points for a total of 30,000 Southwest points.

Ultimate Rewards Southwest Transfer

You Can Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt and Then to Southwest

The terms say that it could take up to 4 to 6 weeks for the miles to appear in your Southwest account, but in my experience they transfer within 1 week.

2.   Marriott Transfers

Robert can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott points in a 1:1 ratio.

Here’s the transfer ratio from Marriott points to Southwest.  Robert is better off transferring his Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt instead of Marriott because the transfer ratio is worse with Marriott points (unless he uses a Marriott vacation package).

With Marriott, you get a better transfer ratio the more points you transfer.  So it makes sense to combine your points with your partner and then transfer points.

  • 10,000 Marriott Points = 2,000 Southwest points
  • 20,000 Marriott Points = 5,000 Southwest points
  • 30,000 Marriott Points = 10,000 Southwest points
  • 70,000 Marriott Points = 25,000 Southwest points
  • 140,000 Marriott Points = 50,000 Southwest points

The terms say that it could take up to 6 weeks for the miles to appear in your Southwest account, but in my experience they transfer within 1 week.

However, Marriott has vacation packages which are terrific deals if you have a LOT of Marriott points.

Marriott Vacation Packages is a Great Way to Get a Southwest Companion Pass & Free Hotel Stays!

For example, you can redeem 270,000 Marriott points and get 120,000 Southwest points (enough for the Companion Pass) AND 7 nights in a category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel!

You can’t redeem these packages online, but have to call 800-321-7396 for them. Marriott also lets you transfer your Marriott points to your partner and then redeem them for an airline transfer or for a vacation package.  So that’s an easy way to combine your points in one account.

Bottom Line

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest will not count towards the Companion Pass.

But you can indirectly transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott or Hyatt and from there to Southwest and have the points count towards the Companion Pass!  Remember, that this could end at anytime though.

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55 responses to “Can You Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest for the Companion Pass?

  1. When is the best time to apply for the 2 Southwest cards to maximize the two-year Companion pass benefit?

    Ideally should you wait until January and hit the spend thresholds as soon as possible? Because ALL the qualifying RR points have to be earned in the same calendar year, right?

    Applying now would be a really waste then?

  2. Although not related to Ultimate rewards, you can also transfer Choice Hotels points to Southwest and, for us earlier in the year, it counted towards the companion Pass

  3. Dang, the pimping of these Southwest cards is strong these past few days, I guess you can basically pimp these cards with whichever imaginary reader one can come up with.

  4. These Companion Pass / Southwest Card posts have gotten old real quick. You have plenty of information regarding this on your site. In my opinion, you shouldn’t be pushing these anyways. It’s too late in the year to get it. By the time people apply, get the cards, meet the minimum spend, have their points post, transfer/get the remaining 6,000 points and then actually obtain the pass it will be at least September. This leaves the remaining 3-4 months for the pass this year and then next year. Why not wait? You’ve agreed before this is a consistent trend with Southwest. The sign-up bonuses are constantly going up to 50,000 points and Southwest STILL allows them to be used towards a Companion Pass. Mark my words… February will yield the same sign-up bonus and then you’d have the pass for almost two years.

  5. @Emma – Yes, you and every other traveler blogger out there

    • @Rob – Yes, that’s true and I’ve written about it here. If you already have 50,000 points from 1 card in 2013, you’re better off getting the Companion Pass in 2013.

      @Ghanta – The 50,000 point Southwest card is the best card for domestic travel.

      @Steve M – Not everyone has read my old posts on the Companion Pass and lots of new folks read the blog everyday via google. I’ve already written about you should get the cards this year or next. If you already have 1 card, you’re better off getting the companion pass in 2013 than waiting. The 50K bonus will be back later this year, so not need to wait until February.

  6. If I got the companion pass in early 2012 by getting the 2 cards and then canceled the cards in early 2013, can I apply for the 2 cards again in 2014 or is there some kind of time frame for reapplying for the cards?

  7. MMS…I’ve been looking for a no-cap cashback credit card, however, haven’t been able to find one. Do you have any secrets about this?

    Thanks!

    -Jean

  8. How often can I churn the southwest cards?

  9. Don’t listen to the whiners, Darius. Why do some people read your blog? So they have a reason to get an attitude? Keep up the good work!

  10. Have you confirmed that Marriott Vacation Package Points still count toward Companion Pass? I have been reading conflicting information in the forums. Furthermore, how long after the points post will the CP become active? Any idea?

    If it isn’t active right away is it fair to assume that the points aren’t counting toward CP?

    • @TC – I don’t have personal experience with the Vacation Package, but know others who have used the vacation package and got the CP. The CP should be active a few days after the points post to your Marriott account.

  11. Thanks. Points just posted and CP Progress shows 100% as of today. No welcome message / designee message yet. I know you said it takes a couple of days. Any idea if I can expedite the process? Also, do I need to have the physical card with me? I would like to fly with a companion in one week if possible and I am sure I won’t have the card by then.

    Last question, have you switched your CP ever? Per the rules it says to mail stuff in to make the switch and it can take up to 21 days. I thought I read somewhere before that you can just call them to make the switch.

    Great blog, great info! Thanks!

    • @TC – You should be able to designate your companion online in a day or two after crossing to 100% . If not, you can call and add your companion. You don’t need the physical card (in my experience to travel). I’ve never made the switch, but I believe you can call to switch your companion. Did you transfer the vacation package from Marriott?

  12. Thanks. I ended up getting access through my SW Account and made it all happen. This morning I received the email. I put by buddy on as a companion because we are going to Vegas next week and then going to go golf in FL next month. After that my wife becomes the companion. I will let you know how the switch process goes. I will be doing it at the end of September.

    Yes, I transferred the package from Marriott. And they did still qualify, which was the goal! It will be interesting to see how long they will allow these packages CPQP.

    For sharing sake – I did a Category 1-5 transfer with 100K SW Points. It cost 250K marriott points as you already know. I was initially only going to cash in 200K MR points which would have yielded 50K SW, which would have got me to the CP, but after reading through everything I saw the value in cashing in more. It resulted in me spending $500 to buy more Marriott points, but that $500 got me 50000 more SW points, which was a good deal IMO. Even with the current 25% bonus buy point promo through SW if I wanted to buy that many points from SW directly it would have cost me $1100.

  13. I have about 230,000 Marriott points. Thinking of getting the Marriott Vacation Package where I get 7 nights hotel + 50,000 Southwest points. According to above, these 50k will qualify toward the CP goal of 110,000. Problem is my current SWA CP is good thru Dec 2014. Should I wait until Jan 2015 (when I will have 260k or more Marriott points) before getting my Vacation Package. Or do you think all will be devalued by then? PS I have Marriott Platinum now, but will drop to silver in Feb 2014.

  14. @ TC I have transferred to different companions twice already this year. Once only about 2 weeks between trips. I called in and SWA repr. changed my Companion immediately – no problem. Also in 5 yrs with a CP, I have never been asked to show it and do not carry it anymore on trips. TC, I would have waited til Jan 2014 to get my companion pass – then it would have been good until Dec 2015.

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  16. Got my bonus 50,000 x2 points but was told by southwest that they don’t count towards the companion pass and never have… dunno what to do about it :/

  17. I’ve earned 60k plus on RR via sw premier visa and purchases in 2013. Looking to get companion pass w/ another card bonus. Can I have wife open new card, time it to earn 50k points in jan 2014. Then transfer my 60k pts earned in 2013 to her account so she earns companion pass and it is good 2014-2015?

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  19. Hi Daraius, I wanted to know if I can still get 50 k + 50 K bonus points on two southwest cards if I had a plus (personal) card earlier in 2011 which I closed later? Thanks.

  20. Before I knew about the Companion Pass, I got SW personal cards for myself and my husband. Since I can’t get the same card/bonus twice, I assume I’m probably out of luck with the companion pass, sigh. I’d have to get a business SW card and then somehow earn 60K miles all in the same year. However, since I can’t churn the personal cards, should I go ahead and keep them and pay the annual fee so I get the anniversary miles?

  21. AnonMom,
    I saw on flyertalk.com that if you have one personal SW card (say, Premier) , you can also apply for the other PLUS SW card. There are 2 different SW cards…both offer same 50k miles, but one of them (the PLUS) has a lesser annual fee with a lesser anniversary bonus (3k vs 6k points seen on the Premier).

    Your husband can do the same. That should give you enough points for the companion pass. You can also get the business cards! Should be pretty easy for you.

  22. Hello!
    I need help on strategy! I am hoping you can help me maximize as husband and I are trying to maximize travel in 2014 before baby 🙂

    I have 25000 sw miles (for the year…i have a lot more than that in actuality) and just got approved for the premier card (spend 2k in 3 months)…its Oct…how should I approach this? Is there a way for me to get into the the Companion territory in Januray at this point or should I focus on hitting companion status before end of the year Just not sure how to time this..

    I know there are technically 4 cards out there and I could probably get one more…I’m just not sure how the timing works…if I waited to pay our mortgage plus some other bills (and immediately pay it off of course!) with it in December would the points most likely hit in January? That would be ideal because I could transfer some hotel points in January to give us almost 2 full years of companion…

    if it helps, my husband has southwest points and could potentially transfer those if it does anything….

    just thinking outloud….would love your thoughts!

    • @megan – When did you get approved for the card? Transfers from your husband’s account won’t count. You have to get 110K points in ONE account by December 31, 2013. If you were approved on say, Oct 3, you have until Jan 3 to complete the minimum spending to the 50K bonus. You could complete the payment after your statement closes in December, because they points will then post in January (when your next statement closes). That way, you have a full year to earn the remaining 60K points.

  23. subscribed 🙂

  24. Hi, Daraius. Regarding the above comment, please can you clarify this again? So after the Dec statement closes, say for example, Dec 8, all eligible purchases from Dec 9 would then count towards CP point requirement for the year 2014 ? Is this your personal experience? Thank you.

    • @Airgypsy – Yes, that’s my experience from last year. And it is how Chase usually posts sign-up bonuses. The bonus and spending posts a few days after the statement in which you complete the minimum spending requirement closes (providing you completed the minimum spending 8 to 10 days before the statement closing date).

  25. Hello @ millionmilesecrets

    I ended up getting approved for both sw cards on Oct 15…thanks for the info about my husbands points not counting (doesnt look like we need them)…how can I work this to ensure I get companion status in January 2014? Any tips? I’m confused by cc closing dates and such and want to time it properly.

    Could I start using it right away – being careful to not hit the minimum until say, Dec 16th? Then it would post Jan 2014? Is that correct? I actually think I can take care of getting another 10k points in Jan or Feb

    • @Megan – You’re on the right track. Wait for your 1st statement to close. The next statements will be ~1 month after that, so you’ll know when it closes. Cross $2K after the statement in December closes…or if you want to be safer between Jan 1 and Jan 15 (since you have to complete the minimum spending in 3 months).

  26. I guess I’m confused about how to determine when the dec closing date is?

  27. I have an account with a companion pass I don’t have much use for, can these accounts be gifted as a whole so the person receiving it can take advantage of the companion pass?

  28. @Darius, I just got approved for Premier personal on Oct 24. In order to qualify for companion pass, do I need to apply for Plus personal card as well ? Can I apply same day ? Also for spend timing, do you suggest to do it in Jan’14, so we have full year ?

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  30. I qualified for a biz card (50K) points in the summer but was denied the personal card. As of 11/18/2013 I qualified for the personal card (50k). After reading your forum you suggest that i wait to hit my minimum until after Jan1, 2014 so i have the companion pass for a FULL TWO YEARS. That would give me only 50k that would qualify for the 2014.

    Can i do the following?
    A. Purchase 40,000 Hyatt points and receive a 30% bonus ($960)= 52k Hyatt points = transfer to Southwest = 30k Southwest Points
    B. I have 70k Chase Ultimate reward points. I would transfer 50k to Hyatt = transfer to Southwest = 30k Southwest Points.
    C. That would give me Southwest 50k + Hyatt Purchased 30k + Hyatt Transferred 30k = Southwest Qualifying 110,000k Companion Points (plus 50k nonqualifying points from my biz card).

    Is my math solid on this? Does Southwest cap how many miles i can transfer from Hyatt?

  31. Sigh, I am short 700 points for my SWA companion pass. I transferred 2000 Marriott points today, Dec 31st, 2013 – 11:00 AM EST. Given that the transfer happened in 2013. Will this allow me to qualify for my companion pass when the points post to my account? I have seen conflicting answers.

    • @Alfonso – Unfortunately, the points have to post to your Southwest account by December 31. That said, you could try calling Southwest in early January and explain that you are only 700 points short. Good luck!

  32. Artemio Herrera

    Do you know if I can transfer air tran credits to sw and whether those credits once converted to sw will count towards companion pass?

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  38. Do Marriot transfer points still count towards companion pass?