1 Couple + 2 Cards = 2 Years of Free Flying + 7 Free Hotel Nights!

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Earning credit card sign-up bonuses is the easiest way to get Big Travel With Small Money.

That’s why it’s an amazing deal when two people can get 2 years of free flying with the Southwest Companion Pass AND a 7-night hotel stay by earning just 2 card sign-up bonuses each.

Here’s the deal:  1 Couple + 2 Cards Each = 2 Years of Free Flying (at least $3,600+) + 7 Nights Hotel (at least $1,400+).

That’s a $5,000 value!!

With the sign-up bonuses on Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Chase Marriott Premier Rewards card, a couple can earn more than enough points to get the best deal in travel!

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

This Couple Knows That the Southwest Companion Pass Is the Best Deal in Travel!

I’ll explain the steps to earning enough points to book a Marriott flight and hotel package, which will earn you enough Southwest points for the Companion Pass!  And a 7-night Marriott hotel stay!

Best Deal in Travel: Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

With the Southwest Companion Pass, your designated companion flies with you for almost free (just the cost of taxes and fees) on both paid and award tickets.

In the past, the Companion Pass saved Emily and me thousands of dollars on airfare!

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Emily and I Love how the Southwest Companion Pass Saves Thousands of Dollars on Airfare!

Million Mile Secrets team member Keith has also used this fantastic perk to also save thousands of dollars.  Since January 2015, he has used the Companion Pass to fly with his wife on 30+ flights to destinations in the US, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Use the Companion Pass to Get 2 for 1 Travel to Destinations Like Cancun! Just Pay Taxes & Fees for Your Companion!

The cost savings and terrific Southwest travel destinations are the main reasons I think the the Companion Pass is the best deal in travel!

Plus, I enjoy flying Southwest because:

  • There are no blackout dates on award flights
  • Award flight prices are based on the cash cost of the flight
  • You get 2 free checked bags on every flight
  • You don’t pay change or cancel fees on paid or award flights
Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

I Love Flying Southwest Because They Have a Flexible Cancellation Policy and It’s Easy to Book Award Flights!

And Southwest offers flights to and from most major US cities.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Southwest Flies to Many Destinations Throughout the US and Beyond!

Companion Pass Requirements

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you have to earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year (January to December).

Then, your Companion Pass is valid from the date you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to the end of the next calendar year.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Couples Can Earn the Best Deal in Travel With Just 2 Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses Each!

For example, if you earn the Companion Pass on January 10, 2017, it will be valid until December 31, 2018 (~24 months).

I’ll show you a way to earn the best deal in travel by redeeming 270,000 Marriott points for the Companion Pass AND 7 free nights at a fantastic Marriott hotel!

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

You Can Earn the Southwest Companion Pass AND Stay 7 Nights at a Marriott Hotel Like the Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego Carlsbad

Here Is How You Do It…

Before we get started, be sure avoid these 3 common mistakes folks make when trying to earn the Companion Pass.  

Step 1.   You and Your Partner Apply for Chase Marriott Premier Rewards Card

Link:   Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card

First, you and your partner should each apply for the Chase Marriott Rewards card.

With this card, you can earn a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

And you can earn another 7,500 bonus Marriott points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first 3 months of opening your account.  I don’t suggest doing this because it counts towards Chase’s 5/24 rule, but I’m including it here for completeness.

This card has an $85 annual fee that is NOT waived the first year.  Here’s my full review of the Chase Marriott Premier card.

If you and your partner apply for this card and add an authorized user, you’ll each have 83,000 Marriott points (80,000 points from the sign-up bonus + 3,000 points for completing the minimum spending).  Or 166,000 Marriott points among both of you after you meet the spending requirements.  You’re more than halfway to the amount you’ll need for the Companion Pass!

I recommend applying for this card first because of Chase’s “5/24” application rule.  That is, if you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months (excluding certain business cards), it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards.

The Chase Marriott Rewards card DOES count toward Chase’s 5 card limit.  So be mindful if you’re planning to apply for other Chase cards, like the no annual fee Chase Freedom.

Step 2.   You and Your Partner Apply for the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Card

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express 

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Next, you and your partner should each get the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest personal or small business card.

Note that it is very easy to get an AMEX Starwood hotel business card.  See this post for more details on applying for an AMEX business card.

The sign-up bonus on the card is 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the personal card and $5,000 on purchases during the same time for the small business card.

Then, you can convert Starwood points to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio.  After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you and your partner will have 28,000 Starwood points each on the personal card (25,000 Starwood points from the sign-up bonus + 3,000 points from the minimum spending.

Or 30,000 Starwood points each (25,000 Starwood points from the sign-up bonus + 5,000 points from the minimum spending on the small business card.)

And you can convert 28,000 Starwood points to 84,000 Marriott points!  Or convert 30,000 Starwood points to 90,000 Marriott points.  We’ll show you how to convert the points below!

So you and your partner can earn 168,000 or 180,000 Marriott points by each getting this card!

For more points with this card, you can check if you’re targeted for the 2,500 bonus points for adding an authorized user.

The personal and small business version of the card have a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.  Here’s my full review of the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card.

Keep in mind you can only earn the bonus on an AMEX card once per lifetime.  But if you have the personal AMEX Starwood card, you can still apply for the small business version.  Or vice versa.

Step 3.   Complete the Spending on Both Cards

To earn the sign-up bonuses on the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest and Chase Marriott Rewards cards, you’ll need to spend $3,000 on purchases on each card within the first 3 months of account opening.

This means you and your partner will EACH have to spend $6,000 total on both cards.  Or $12,000 total across all 4 cards.

You can check out my post on 40+ ways to meet minimum spending requirements.

One easy and convenient way can be to use Plastiq to pay bills with a credit card.  Although you’ll pay a small fee, it can be an easy way to pay your rent, mortgage, or other bills that don’t accept a credit card.

And sometimes they offer promotions with lower fees that can make it a better deal!

If you and your partner aren’t able to meet minimum spending requirements at the same time, I recommend staggering your card applications.

Step 4.   Link Your Starwood and Marriott Loyalty Accounts

You and your partner will need to link your Starwood and Marriott accounts before you can start moving points around.

First, go to the Marriott site.  Then, select any one of the loyalty programs to get started.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

To Begin Linking Your Accounts, You Can Select Your Existing Loyalty Account

After you log-in, you’ll have the option to link your Starwood account to Marriott.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

You Can Link Your Starwood Account to Marriott

Step 5.   Convert Starwood Points

After your accounts are linked, you can then convert your Starwood sign-up points to Marriott points.

On the Starwood website, click “Transfer Starpoints to Rewards Points”.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Transfer Starwood Points to Your Marriott Account

Next, enter 25,000 Starwood points to transfer.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Transfer Your AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Sign-Up Bonus to Your Marriott Rewards Account

Before your Starwood points to Marriott points transfer is complete, you’ll see a summary of your transfer.

Review and click “Complete Transfer“.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Review Details of Your Starwood Points Transfer and Click “Complete Transfer”

Your Starwood points will instantly appear in your Marriott Rewards account!

Step 6.   Combine Marriott Points With Your Partner

After you and your partner meet the minimum spending requirements and earn the sign-up bonus on both cards, you’ll each have 167,000 to 173,000 Marriott points.  

You’ll each have:

  • 84,000 Marriott points from the AMEX Starwood card (25,000 Starwood points from the sign-up bonus + 3,000 points from the minimum spending X 3 Marriott Points for 1 Starwood Point)
  • OR 90,000 Starwood points each (25,000 Starwood points from the sign-up bonus + 5,000 points from the minimum spending on the small business card X 3 Marriott Points for 1 Starwood Point)
  • And you’ll each have 83,000 Marriott points from the Chase Marriott Rewards card (80,000 Marriott Points + 3,000 Marriott Points for completing the minimum spending)

Or a TOTAL of 334,000 Marriott Points (167,000 Marriott Points X 2 People) or 346,000 Marriott Points (173,000 Marriott Points X 2 People) for the TWO of y’all.

But to get the Companion Pass, you’ll need to combine your Marriott points into one account to reach at least 270,000 Marriott points.

This isn’t a problem because you’ll have a combined total of 334,000 or 346,000 Marriott points.  You’ll just have to share the points with your partner!

You can normally share up to 50,000 Marriott points each year with friends or family members.

But once per calendar year, you can exceed the 50,000 point limit if you have a specific Marriott redemption in mind.

To share Marriott points with your partner, you can call Marriott Rewards Customer Support at 801-468-4000.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Call Marriott to Transfer Points to Your Partner

You’ll pay a $10 transaction fee to transfer your points (free for Gold and Platinum elite members).  But I’d gladly pay a small $10 fee to get the Companion Pass!

Step 7.   Book a 7-Night Marriott Hotel + Air Package

Link:   Marriott Hotel + Air Packages

After combining Marriott points with your partner, you can book a Marriott Hotel + Air Package.

To get the Companion Pass with this deal, you’ll pay a minimum of 270,000 Marriott points for a 7-night stay at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel.   And, you’ll get 120,000 Southwest points, which is more than enough to earn the Companion Pass.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Redeem 270,000 Marriott Points for a 7-Night Hotel + Air Package and You’ll Earn Enough Southwest Points for the Companion Pass

Remember, you’ll have a combined total of 334,000 Marriott points.  So you can redeem a 7-night stay at a Category 7 Marriott hotel if you’d like to splurge!

To book the Hotel + Air package, call Marriott reservations at 888-236-2427.

Once you book, Marriott will deposit the 120,000 Southwest points into your account.  And they’ll give you a certificate for a 7-night hotel stay.

Keep in mind, you do NOT have to use the Southwest points and 7-night certificate at the same time.  But you do have to book 7 consecutive nights at the same hotel.

Timing Is Everything

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass Timing

To get the most out of the Companion Pass, it’s best to redeem your Marriott points for a Hotel + Air package early in the calendar year.  A Calendar Year is the 12-month period from January to December

Because the Companion Pass will work from the date you earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points up to the end of the next calendar year.

So if you book a Hotel + Air package in January, you’ll have the Companion Pass for close to 2 full years!

Activate Your Companion Pass

Link:   How to Activate Your Southwest Companion Pass

Once Marriott deposits the points from the Hotel + Air package into your account, you’ll be able to designate your companion online or by calling Southwest.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

You’ll See a Note in Your Southwest Account Once You’ve Earned the Companion Pass!

Just fill out the online form to designate your companion and you’ll be on your way to 2 for 1 travel!

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Complete the Form With Your Companion’s Information

If you prefer to designate a companion by phone, you can call Southwest at 800-248-4377.

You can change your designated companion up to 3 times each calendar year during the validity of your Companion Pass.

Add Companion to Flight Booking

Now that you designated a companion, it’s time to start booking 2 for 1 travel!

Before you add a companion, you’ll have to book a paid or award flight for yourself first.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Book Your Southwest Flight First! Then, You Can Add Your Companion Very Easily!

Afterwards, you’ll be able to add your companion in 3 easy steps!

Step 1.   Log-In to Your Southwest Account

First, you’ll want to log-in to your Southwest account.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Enter Your Username or Southwest Account Number and Password to Log-In

Step 2.   View Your Trips

Scroll down on your account page to view your upcoming trips.

Then, click “Add Companion“.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Click Add Companion to the Desired Flight

Step 3.   Pay Taxes and Fees for Companion

Your companion flies with you for just the cost of taxes and fees.

So the last step is to pay!

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Pay the Taxes and Fees for Your Companion Booking!

Taxes and fees can vary if you’re traveling internationally.  But it’s still a better deal than paying full price for 2 tickets!

Redeem Your Marriott 7-Night Certificate

Link:   Marriott Category 1 to 7 Hotels

There are thousands of Marriott hotels you can choose from when redeeming your 7-night certificate from the Hotel + Air package.

To redeem your Marriott 7-night certificate, first find the eligible Marriott hotel you want to stay in.

You can search Marriott hotels by category.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Search Marriott Hotels by Category

Once you choose the hotel, you’ll see a list of the available room types.

Confirm your room preference, and you can attach your certificate for the stay.

If you prefer, you can also call Marriott at 888-236-2427 to book the reservation for you.

Stay 7 Nights at These Marriott Hotels

Here are a few good Category 5 Marriott hotels you can choose when redeeming your 7-night certificate.  These hotels will be included when you choose the 270,000 Marriott point option.  The cities are Southwest destinations!

1.   Fairfield Inn & Suites Denver Downtown

The Fairfield Inn & Suites Denver Downtown is a ~30 minute drive from the Denver Airport.  You can spend 7 nights at this hotel and make day trips to other nearby Colorado towns like Boulder and Fort Collins.

Football fans might like this hotel too!  Because you’re only 1 mile from the Denver Bronco’s stadium.

You’ll also get free breakfast when you stay here!

2.   Residence Inn Memphis Downtown

The Residence Inn Memphis Downtown is only 3 blocks from the Beale Street Entertainment District.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Enjoy Memphis Night Life When You Stay at the Residence Inn Memphis Downtown!

And the rooms at this hotel are suites with full kitchens and separate sleeping areas.  So it would be a great place to relax for 7 nights.

At this hotel, you’ll also get free breakfast.  And there’s an evening social.

On TripAdvisor, this hotel ranks #4 of all hotels in Memphis!

3.   Fort Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel

How about a visit to the Sunshine State?  You can spend 7 nights at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel, which is located right on a golf course.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel Is Located Right on a Golf Course!

If you don’t golf, you can still enjoy the pool, spa, or fitness center at the hotel.

The hotel is also just a few minutes from beaches and shopping areas.

Or Splurge at These Higher Category Marriott Hotels

Because you and your partner will have a combined total of 334,000 Marriott points, you use more points for a 7-night stay at a Category 6 or 7 Marriott hotel.

For the Companion Pass and a 7-night stay, you’ll pay:

1.   Long Beach Marriott

The Long Beach Marriott hotel is well located in Southern California.  It’s only a short drive from the popular restaurants and shopping areas in downtown Long Beach.

And the hotel is a great central starting point if you’d like to take day trips to Los Angeles or Orange County.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Stay at the Long Beach Marriott and Explore Beautiful Nearby Orange County

This hotel is a Category 6 hotel.

2.   CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you might consider a 7-night stay at the beachfront CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort.  This is a Category 7 hotel.

Folks on TripAdvisor rank this hotel highly and say it’s an ideal place to travel with a partner.

Southwest Companion Pass Marriott Points

Celebrate a Special Occassion in Cancun at the Category 7 CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort!

There’s plenty to do at this hotel.  But if you want to getaway for the day, you’re close enough to visit nearby Playa del Carmen like Emily recently did!

Bottom Line

Couples can earn the Southwest Companion Pass and 7 free nights at a Marriott hotel with just 2 credit card sign-up bonuses each.  This means a designated partner can fly for almost free for 2 years (just pay taxes and fees)!

After each meeting the spending requirements on the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest and Chase Marriott Premier Rewards cards, you can combine the sign-up bonus points to book a Marriott Hotel + Air package.

This will give you enough points for the Companion Pass AND a 7-night certificate to stay at terrific Marriott hotels!

I think the Companion Pass is the best deal in travel.  It can save you thousands of dollars on airfare.  And it gives you the opportunity to travel to great Southwest destinations.

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30 responses to “1 Couple + 2 Cards = 2 Years of Free Flying + 7 Free Hotel Nights!

  1. Thank you for the thorough explanation. I followed you on most of the steps but I’m still confused. How does booking a trip with Marriott earn 110,000 Southwest points? Is that a special promotion? Please explain how/why Marriott will give Southwest points? Thanks!

  2. Great post, Daraius. I’m contemplating one of the Ritz Carlton packages, potentially for the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. Do you know if I could apply a club level upgrade from the old Ritz Carlton card to one of these 7 night stays? I know it’s probably unlikely, but thought I’d check. Thanks!

  3. This is completely different then earning the companion pass with southwest credit card. I had opened 1 personal + 1 business card x 2 (for my wife). That gave us 2 companion passes. Hence we had a family of 4 travel free for 2 years. Of course need to qualify for a business credit card too. Is this deal still possible too? Chase always makes it harder.

    • You can still earn the Companion Pass with 2 Southwest credit cards. But the current sign-up bonuses on the Southwest cards would require more spending in order to get the required 110,000 Southwest points.

      Or you can get 1 Starwood personal and 1 Starwood business card each and transfer the points to Marriott.

  4. Great information, I try to apply for the credit card but I got denied but wife got approved. Can one person still use this strategy?

  5. Great post. My companion pass expires in a few weeks and im debating going this route with my wife to renew and get the hotel stays.

    An added bonus to the Marriott cards are the free nights on the anniversary, unfortunately the category 5 hotels are typically where i want to stay.

  6. Thanks Darius, I didnt realize you could combine Marriott accounts. I was almost thinking of transferring my valuable AMEX MR points….
    I have had the CP for 4 years and now its expiring this month. There are very few category 5’s that are worthwhile for a week vacation. Do you know how upgrading from a 5 to a higher category works after you book?

    • @Brian & @trup – With the proposal above, you’ll have enough points to book up to a category 7 Marriott hotel, so don’t have to restrict yourself to a category 5 Marriott.

      I’m not sure you can upgrade once you book a category 5 to a category 7 later on.

  7. Great post. I have two open chase slots and I was going to wait until April to reapply for the southwest companion pass. I think I’ll do this instead.

    Quick question. Do the Southwest points a pure as soon as you’ve made the booking? Specifically, do I need to wait until January 1 to book?

    • I would wait until January 1 to be safe. Because if the points post by the end of the year, the Companion Pass would only be good for ~1 year instead of 2 full years.

      • From my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Marriott department you call to book the hotel and air package is only open business days. That means you cannot call on New Year’s Day, nor, for that matter, on Monday, January 2 which is a legal holiday. So January 3 would be the first opportunity to do so.

  8. Thanks for all the info Darius. I would like to know if I have 71,000 Marriott points and my wife has 138,000 Marriott points does it matter to combine in December or January. Of course, I want the southwest pass in January, but if the points are combined before January does it have any negative effect on getting the Southwest pass? In addition, I have 150,000 spg points so do I just wait until January to transfer into Marriott account for any shortfall for one pass and use the remainder for second pass?

  9. A free and easy way to combine Marriott points from two accounts:
    1. User A converts Marriott points to SPG points first
    2. Then transfer SPG points from user A to user B for free
    3. Then convert user B’s SPG points to user B’s Marriott points and you are done with moving Marriott points from user A to user B.

  10. Great post with complete information? How long does it take for the Southwest point to post? I’d like to get the companion pass as early as possible in Jan. Is Jan 1st the best day to book Marriott package or Dec 30th?

  11. Hi
    I am little confused. Can you pls help me here.

    What you are referring is that I can convert appx 300K Marriott points to 7 night stay and 120K southwest miles which will give me companion pass..

    So – if I have these many points, I can do that. It has nothing to do with getting new Credit cards etc. – right? That is just additional information to generate Marriott points.

    • If you have 300K Marriott points already, you can redeem them for a Hotel & Air package through Marriott and get 120K Southwest points (enough for the Companion Pass) and 7 nights in a hotel. No need for extra credit cards. The cards are only for folks who don’t have Marriott points.

      I’d request the Hotel & Air package on Jan 1, so that your companion pass lasts for almost 2 years. If you transfer the points in December, the pass will last for only ~1 year. Good luck!

      • I don’t have it. But I have around 150K UR points and 70K AMEX points and around 110K Marriott points.

        What do you suggest is better to convert. UR points or AMEX points.

        • I value UR points more than AMEX points, so I’d transfer the AMEX Points to SPG and then to Marriott. That’s about 70K Marriott points, so you’d have 110K + 70K Marriott points, or 180K Marriott points. You’ll need another 90K Marriott points, so you could get the Marriott card or the Starwood card (biz or personal) and then transfer the remaining points from UR.

          Or if you can’t do that, you can transfer 80K out of your 150K UR points to Marriott to have enough for the 270K redemption.

  12. Great post. Unfortunately my husband and I already have the AMEX SPG card. And we exceeded our limit for applying for another Chase card. I guess we’ll have to keep this info and use it when we can apply for the Marriott Chase card. Thanks for this info.

  13. Greetings,

    Please confirm my understanding: I can transfer ~73,334 starwood points to marriott. This will yield ~220,000 marriott points. Chose cat 1-5 and 70, 000 SWA points and presto…

    For 73,334 SPG points ( 220,000 marriott points) I receive 7 nights cat 1-5 AND 70,000 SWA points that will count toward Companion Pass.

    I just snagged the SWA business card and will complete spend 01.01.2017. With the above strategy in January, I should have CP issued sometime in February. Correct??

    Thank you, and does SPG have a similar program thus not requiring a transfer to marriott?? Thank you for your guidance.

  14. Does the Marriott 7-night certificate have to be used all at once (at one property)? Or can it be split up into 3 nights at one property and 4 nights at a different property?