What’s the Best Way to Transfer Marriott Points to Southwest to Earn the Companion Pass?

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Update:   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.

Million Mile Secrets reader, Mark, emailed:

A few months ago, I applied for the Chase Southwest personal and small business credit cards to get the Southwest Companion Pass.  I was only approved for the Chase Southwest personal card, so I’ve only earned 55,000 Southwest points this year.

I do not have any Starwood points, but I DO have 80,000 Marriott Rewards points.  Can I transfer 55,000 Marriott Rewards points to my Southwest mileage account to get a total of 110,000 Southwest points and earn a Southwest Companion Pass?

Thanks for reaching out, Mark!

Marriott points do not transfer to Southwest at a ratio of 1:1, so you’ll need more Marriott points to get the additional 55,000 Southwest points for a Companion Pass.  And because it’s later in the year, you’ll have to earn the remaining Southwest points fast!

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass Cuts Airfare Expenses for You and a Travel Buddy in Half. Here’s How to Earn It Through a Transfer From Marriott!

I’ll explain some options for how to get the Southwest Companion Pass quickly!

Need Southwest Points in a Hurry?  Marriott to the Rescue!

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   8 Easy Steps to Getting the Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Mistakes That Won’t Get You the Companion Pass

Emily and I consider the Southwest Companion Pass to be the best deal in travel!

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring along a travel partner for (almost!) free whenever you travel on Southwest.  Even if you book your flight with points, your companion can travel with you for only the cost of taxes and fees, as long as Southwest is selling seats on that flight.  If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, this perk can save you thousands!

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

Take a Friend or Loved One With You to Any Southwest Destination, like the Bahamas, for (Nearly) Free!

Here’s what you need to know about the Southwest Companion Pass:

So if you don’t earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points between January and December 2016, you’ll have to start over on January 1, 2017.

If you haven’t earned the full 110,000 Southwest points this year to earn the Companion Pass, there are plenty of ways to do it!

1.   Apply For a Marriott or AMEX Starwood Credit Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

If you’re low on Marriott points, you can apply for a Chase Marriott credit card, as long as you haven’t received the sign-up bonus in the last 24 months.  Chase Marriott credit cards currently have a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

The Sign-Up Bonus on the Chase Marriott Card Can Help You Earn the Southwest Companion Pass and Bring a Friend to Cancun

You can also apply for an AMEX Starwood credit card!  Because Marriott and Starwood are merging, you can now transfer your Starwood points to Marriott at a ratio of 1:3 (1 Starwood point = 3 Marriott points).

With the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

After you’ve reached your minimum spending you’ll have the equivalent of 84,000 Marriott points (28,000 Starwood points from sign-up bonus and minimum spending 1:3 Starwood to Marriott conversion rate = 84,000 Marriott points)!  And, because each Starwood point is worth 3 Marriott points, you’ll essentially receive 3 Marriott points for every $1 you spend with the AMEX Starwood Card.

This is the quickest way for Mark to earn the points he needs to get his Companion Pass!

2.   Transfer Marriott Points to Southwest

Link:   Marriott Points Transfer to Airlines (Log-In Required)

Transferring Marriott points to Southwest is a fast way to get points that qualify for the Companion Pass.  However, Marriott can take ~6 weeks to add the points to your Southwest account.  So be sure to plan accordingly!

Transferring 10,000 Marriott points to Southwest will only earn you 2,000 Southwest points, for a transfer ratio of 5:1.  But you will get more value from your Marriott points by transferring 70,000 or 140,000 Marriott points.

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

The More Marriott Points You Transfer, the Better the Transfer Ratio

If you have only earned Southwest points from a Southwest credit card sign-up bonus, you will need to transfer 140,000 Marriott points to Southwest to get close to the 110,000 Southwest points you’ll need to earn the Companion Pass.

3.   Marriott Hotel + Air Package

Link:   Marriott Hotel + Air Package (Log-In Required)

Link:   Earn the Southwest Companion Pass With Marriott Hotel + Air Packages 

Link:   Use Starwood Points to Book a Marriott Hotel + Air Package

If you’re planning to transfer Marriott points directly to Southwest, consider earning more Marriott points and booking a Marriott Hotel + Air Package instead!

For 200,000 Marriott points, you’ll get 7 nights at a Marriott category 1 to 5 hotel, and 50,000 Southwest points!  That’s a free week-long stay at Marriott for 60,000 more Marriott points!

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

You Can Choose Packages That Earn Between 50,000 and 120,000 Southwest Points

If you have earned no Southwest points this year, you’ll need a total of 270,000 Marriott points in order to get the Southwest Companion Pass with Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package.

Once you redeem your Marriott points for a Hotel + Air Package, your miles should be deposited into your account within ~6 weeks (usually much sooner).

4.   Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Marriott

I do not recommend transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott unless you really want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass and are willing to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for it.  That’s because I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points much higher than Marriott points.

Whats The Best Way To Transfer Marriott Points To Southwest To Earn The Companion Pass

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest at a Ratio of 1:1, and Convert Your Marriott Points Into Southwest Points to Help Earn the Companion Pass

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a ratio of 1:1.  However, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest will NOT help you qualify for the Companion Pass.  You must make the transfer through Marriott.

But if you have at least 150,000 Marriott points, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott for a Hotel + Air Package can makes more sense.  That’s because the ratio of Southwest points you’ll earn from each Chase Ultimate Rewards point you transfer to Marriott becomes 1:1.

You’ll need at least 200,000 Marriott points for a Marriott Hotel + Air Package.  If you have at least 150,000 Marriott points, you can transfer 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott.  The extra points you transfer to Marriott from Chase Ultimate Rewards will equal 1 Southwest point for every 1 point you transfer from Marriott.  Because you’ll get 50,000 Southwest points with a Marriott Hotel + Air Package for 200,00 Marriott points.

Still, if there is any way you can earn more Marriott points and spare your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, do that first!

5.   Buy Starwood Points

Link:   Buy Starwood Points

As a last resort, you can buy Starwood points and transfer them to Marriott at a ratio of 1:3 (you can also buy Marriott points but it’s more expensive).  Then choose a method above to convert your Marriott points into qualifying Southwest points.

But weigh the cost of the points against the value you place on the Companion Pass because you can go broke trying to save money!

Note:   Friends and family can share Marriott points with you to help you with a redemption!  And folks who share your address can transfer up to 30,000 Starwood points into your account each year.  So your companion can earn points to help you get the Companion Pass, too!

6.   Other Ways to Earn Enough Points

Remember, you can also earn Marriott, Starwood, and Southwest points by using their credit cards for everyday spending!  And you can earn Southwest points by flying Southwest.  But if you need lots of points in a hurry, these probably won’t be your best option because it takes time to spend, and more time for the points to post to your account!

Bottom Line

You can transfer Marriott points to Southwest to help you qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

If you need more Southwest points, you can earn and transfer Marriott points to Southwest by:

What is your strategy to quickly earning qualifying Southwest points to earn the Companion Pass?

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12 responses to “What’s the Best Way to Transfer Marriott Points to Southwest to Earn the Companion Pass?

  1. Weren’t there also 5- night Marriott packages that bonuses SW points? Did they go away?

  2. Couple of questions:
    Would you wait until 01/01 for transfer to maximize the 24 months

    What are your thoughts on higher categories level 7 or the ritz higher level transfer from Marriott.

  3. On January 1st, there will be a “mad dash” for everyone to get the Marriott packages!
    Hopefully CSR will allow a 5day package as well. Another option is to cancel the hotel part of the package and only convert to the SWA or UAL miles..

  4. The application link above is for 2 free nights. Do you have the one for the 25,000 bonus points? For now, I’d prefer the points.

    • @Gerry – They are still available, but you have to call to book them

      @John – Waiting until Jan 1st will ensure that the pass is valid for the longest possible time. As for the higher categories, it depends on your goals and where you want to travel to.

      @Josh – The business card is currently 2 free nights, but will likely go back to points soon. The personal card linked above is for 25K points.

  5. Can you have marriott transfer the 100k southwest pts to some one else’s southwest account so they can get the companion pass?

    The reason is I have opened enough cards (including the recent one to get more marriott pts) but my spouse hasn’t so he can get a southwest card to make up the other 10k pts required for the companion pass. Truly appreciate a response.

  6. Thanks. I did read that. But my question was a little different. After I collect 270,000 pts including those I have received from friends say $10 fee for up to 50k pts then can I buy the hotel and air package but have Marriott deposit the 100k southwest pts in someone else’s southwest account so they earn the companion pass. So sorry if my original post was not clear enough. I haven’t read anything about this and I read all your posts

    • @Pam – Theoretically that should be possible because you can transfer points to anyone’s account for a redemption. So you can have the points transferred to your friend’s account and he/she will get the hotel and points.

  7. If I want to take advantage of the Marriott package for 270K marriott rewards to get the 120K southwest points, can I get those points deposited in someone else’s account? I’m already going to get the companion pass through credit cards, but thought this would be a nice gift for my parents.

  8. Does my account need to reflect a balance of 110k miles to get the companion pass OR do I need to earn 110k miles ? Basically, can I spend some of the 110k miles as I earn them through the credit cards i open ?

  9. Oo. I like this, especially going into a free week at the Marriott on Big Island A Hawaii next week – courtesy of my consultant friend’s Marriott points!