You Can Earn the Southwest Companion Pass With Starwood Points!

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Update:   After March 31, 2017, transferring hotel points to Southwest no longer counts towards the Companion Pass.  But here’s how to earn Companion Pass points when booking paid nights at hotels.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Million Mile Secrets Reader, Scott, commented:

If I transfer points from Starwood to Marriott and then apply them toward Marriott’s “Hotel + Air Package” would that count towards the Southwest Companion Pass?

The answer is yes, Scott!

You cannot directly transfer your Starwood points to Southwest.  But now that Marriott and Starwood have merged, you can transfer your Starwood points to Marriott, and then transfer them to Southwest through Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package!

Plus, those points do qualify toward a Southwest Companion Pass!

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

Emily and I Consider the Southwest Companion Pass to Be THE Best Deal in Travel!

I’ll show you the process.  And give you some tips on how to make the most of this new way to use your Starwood points!

The Southwest Companion Pass Is Now Easier to Earn!

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Marriott-Starwood Merger

Link:   Marriott Hotel + Air Packages

The Southwest Companion Pass lets your travel buddy fly with you for (almost!) free whenever you travel on Southwest.  It doesn’t matter if you book your flight with points or pay cash – your companion can tag along for the cost of taxes and fees as long as Southwest is selling seats on that flight.  This perk can be worth thousands, depending on how often you fly!

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you have to earn:

And if you earn the Companion Pass on January 1, 2017, it will be valid until December 31, 2018 (~24 months)!  So earning the Companion Pass early in the year can get your companion nearly 2 years of flying on Southwest.

How to Use Starwood Points to Get the Southwest Companion Pass

Starwood has lots of airline transfer partners, but Southwest isn’t one of them.

Now, thanks to the Marriott-Starwood merger, there is a great workaround to turn your Starwood points into Southwest points.  And earn the best deal in travel, while you’re at it!  Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1.   Transfer Starwood Points to Marriott

After you’ve linked your Starwood and Marriott accounts, you’ll have the option to transfer your points between the programs.

Sign-in to your Starwood account and you’ll immediately see the screen below.

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

Find “Transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards” on Your Starwood Account Page to Start the Process

Step 2.   Click “Transfer Starpoints to Marriott Rewards”

From this page, you can transfer points back and forth between your Starwood and Marriott accounts.

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

You Can Transfer Points From Starwood to Marriott, and Transfer Them Back if You Change Your Mind

Step 3.  Type the Number of Starwood Points You Want to Transfer

You’ll be able to transfer your Starwood points at a ratio of 1:3 to Marriott (1,000 Starwood points = 3,000 Marriott points).

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

Step 3 – Transfer the Amount of Starwood Points You’ll Need to Book a Hotel + Air Package

Step 4.   Select Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package #3

After you’ve transferred your points, visit Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages (log-in required).

You’ll have 4 packages to choose from.  Package #3 will help you convert your Marriott points to Southwest points.

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

90,000 Starwood Points Transfer to 270,000 Marriott Points. Which Get You 120,000 Southwest Points – Enough to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass!

You’ll need a total of 270,000 Marriott points in order to get the Southwest Companion Pass with Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package.  Because Starwood points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, you’ll need to transfer 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott to get 270,000 points (assuming you have zero Marriott points).

Remember, in order to get the maximum value out of your Southwest Companion Pass, it’s best to wait until the beginning of the year to earn the required 110,000 points.  That way you can get nearly 2 years of use from the Companion Pass!

Step 5.   Get 120,000 Southwest Points & 7 Nights at Marriott

Once you redeem your Marriott points for a Hotel + Air Package, your miles should be deposited into your account within ~6 weeks.  Although it’s usually much faster.  And, you’ll have 12 months to use your 7-night certificate at a Marriott Category 1 to 5 hotel!

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

You Do Not Have to Redeem the Airline Miles You Get From Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages Within a Certain Amount of Time

Note:   There are ways to get Southwest points which will not qualify for the Companion Pass.  While Southwest does not officially say earning points from Marriott Hotel + Air Packages qualify to earn the Companion Pass, it does work in practice.  Just be aware that they can close this loophole at any time!

Need More Points?

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Link:   Southwest Credit Cards

If you need more Marriott points, you can apply for the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card, which currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after completing minimum spending.

And the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starwood points, which translates into 75,000 Marriott points (25,000 Starwood points X 1:3 transfer ratio = 75,000 Marriott points).

Plus, Chase Southwest credit card sign-up bonuses count towards the Southwest Companion Pass!  If you sign-up for a Chase Southwest credit card, you won’t need as many Marriott points to earn the Companion Pass.

Marriott Points For Southwest Companion Pass

Fly to Costa Rica With Southwest Points, and Bring a Companion for Cheap!

And remember, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio as long as you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available).  But this isn’t usually a good deal, so only use this method if you’re very close to the award you want.

Bottom Line

You can now use your Starwood points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass!  By transferring your Starwood points to Marriott, you can book a Hotel + Air Package and earn Southwest points that qualify towards the Companion Pass.

It’s a good idea to earn your Southwest points in the beginning of the year, so you’ll have the Southwest Companion Pass as long as possible.

If you need more Marriott points, you can sign-up for the Marriott Rewards Premier card, or the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card.  You can also sign-up for a Chase Southwest card, which earns points that qualify towards the Companion Pass.

Will you transfer your Starwood points to Marriott to earn the Southwest Companion Pass?

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31 responses to “You Can Earn the Southwest Companion Pass With Starwood Points!

  1. I wonder why this golden goose is not yet killed despite of so many articles by the ultimate killer.

  2. LOL, totally agree with Abcd, “the ultimate killer”…Do you think you can you post this article a few more times before the end of the year?

  3. Do credit card accounts where I am an “authorized user” count towards the Chase 5/24 rule?

  4. @Marilyn: Yes, if you are an authorized user, it counts.

  5. Some additional notes:

    1. If you want to earn CP in early 2017 (so it’s valid through the end of 2018), don’t transfer the points until 1-Jan-17. Points transferred in late 2016 count towards 2016 CP, even if the transfer doesn’t post until 2017.

    2. If you need 100,000 points or less from the Marriott transfer to qualify for CP, you can choose the 50,000, 70,000, or 100,000 point transfer options (which will cost you fewer Marriott/Starwood points). The downside is that the 50,000 point package costs 200,000 Marriott points; the 120,000 point package costs 270,000 points. So, if you can afford it, you get the best value by going for 120,000 points – you get 70,000 more RR points (worth at least 1.4 cents each) by paying 70,000 more Marriott points (worth about half what 70,000 RR points are worth).

    3. I am told you can transfer to earn 7 nights at a Cat 1-5 hotel initially, then “upgrade” to a higher category hotel 7 night stay later by calling in and paying the difference in points. That way, you preserve your flexibility to stay at any category of Marriott hotel when you are ready to use the certificate.

  6. @Abcd @efgh – Perhaps because Southwest is aware of this and has crunched the numbers and determined that it makes sense. 😉

    @Jed @ UAPhil – Thanks for helping out!

  7. Regarding those people whining about about your publicizing Marriott Hotel/Air packages as a route to a Companion Pass, how many of them have been taking advantage of this deal for years because they learned about it from your blog or some other blog? I know that’s how I got my CP. It’s only due to the merger that you are informing SPG loyalists about this great use of points, which is what I would expect you to do. If the deal disappears, it will likely have much more to due with devaluation trends than with this blog.

  8. I want to say that as someone with two kids and a full time job, I GREATLY appreciate posts like this. Not everyone has time to comb through every edge of the interwebs. Thank you!

  9. Why dont you “so called titans” just shut up your mouth and dont blog about these things every other day? You guys are going to kill this for sure.

  10. Do you get seven 1-night certificates or 1 certificate that you need to redeem and need to stay for the full week?

  11. I was told by Southwest that the points earned from the Marriott Hotel + Air do not count as qualifying points for the Companion Pass. Has anyone actually successfully done this recently? My goal is to book a Hotel + Air package in early 2017 to get the 120,000 Southwest points but I only want to do this is they qualify towards the Companion Pass.

  12. I’d like to do this in early January 2017 as well so very curious if this will work then. Fingers crossed.

  13. Love this post because I tried to explain it to my husband, and he only understood it when I read this article to him. I guess I couldn’t explain well enough, but you did a great job!

    I appreciate this post. Very informative and helpful.

    People who post negatives about these loopholes have gleaned this information from SOMEone, because you don’t come up with this stuff on your own. Seriously sad that some people are always the naysayers and want to keep these secrets all to themselves, so it will last for THEM.

  14. Do you have any experience or knowledge using that 7-night Marriott certificate? Is it safe to assume that if you find points availability for a standard room for 7 consecutive days, you can use the 7-night certificate? Thanks!

  15. Is it worth transferring 270,000 UR points for this? :O

  16. has anyone done this lately? kinda doubt it…we are all probably waiting until January 1st.

  17. Ok, so it’s Jan. 1, can we still do this deal and get the sw companion?

  18. So now that it’s 2017.. has anyone tried this? 😉

  19. Folks contacting SW are told as of 1/1/17 this route to get companion pass will not work. Anyone else back that up?

  20. No more hotel points to earn companion pass: SW rules as of 1/1/17: *Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned by making purchases with a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners. Purchased points, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment, tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and partner bonuses (excluding points bonuses earned on the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not count toward Companion Pass.

  21. MUST book a SPECIFIC Hotel & Air package RIGHT AWAY, or can you transfer the needed SPG points and commit to a Hotel & Air Package in general, but then choose where specifically to fly & stay at some point later? Thank you.

  22. MUST you book a SPECIFIC Hotel & Air package RIGHT AWAY, or can you transfer the needed SPG points and commit to a Hotel & Air Package in general, but then choose where specifically to fly & stay at some point later? Thank you.

  23. Update: You now have until March 31 to do this. I read 10 blogs about the process described above and yours was by far the easiest to follow!!!

  24. On 1/2/17 I took advantage of the Marriot 7 Day + 120,000 RR points to earn the CP and later found out Southwest had “closed the loophole”. I was very excited to hear that they offered the extension and expected to see the CP had been awarded to me because the points had posted to my account. As of now the CP has still not been awarded to me after to very different explanations from Southwest. On my first call they told me it would take 4-6 weeks to be given to me even though the points have already posted to my account. I called again a couple days later because that explanation didn’t sit right with me. The second time I called I was told that RR points deposited into my RR account using this method were not eligible for the CP. The Southwest rep I spoke to even asked me who advised me to do this because it doesn’t work. Just a warning to those of you who want to go this route. I’m still optimistic I will get it but it’s not going smoothly. I will call again in a day or two and see if 3rd time is a charm.

    • I did my transfer on Jan. 4 and it’s Jan 14 today. My companion pass showed up. I was shocked because i read so many places that said the loophole was closed. Fortunately, they reopened it and now I have the companion pass! Feel so fortunate. Now I’m going to use my companion pass once or twice within the next year.. haha.. so that’s a savigns of a few hundred bucks

  25. OK, SPG points have been transferred…
    I am deliberating exactly when to do this. We do have a SWA flight booked in March, & I could use CP for one leg for DH (the other leg is using imminently expiring credits so pointless); it would save use $155. BUT we may want to wait until AFTER our Spring break trips this year…
    We are teachers, so a 7 day trip is either during the summer or spring break in March–and March is preferable as the change of weather is welcome.
    I have looked up the resort in Cancun we will probably book & it shows good availability using reward points at both times we are considering–is that what I need to look at to determine if I can use the certificate at that time? Or do I need to call?