Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
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.
The new year is quickly approaching!
I recommended a way for couples to earn the Companion Pass and get a 7-night hotel stay with 2 card sign-up bonuses each.
And many readers commented with fantastic questions on this strategy!
I’ll answer a few of the most common questions that can help you and your partner get the best deal in travel!
Marriott Hotel + Air & Companion Pass Questions
Here are some fantastic questions from our readers about earning the Southwest Companion Pass with Marriott Hotel + Air packages. I’ll share some tips so folks can get the most out of these packages!
1. Wait Until January 2017
Million Mile Secrets reader, Brian, commented:
Do the Southwest points from the Marriott Hotel + Air package post as soon as you’ve made the booking?
And reader Sophia, commented:
Is January 1, 2017 the best day to book the Marriott Hotel + Air package or December 31, 2016? How long does it take for the Southwest points to post? I’d like to get the Companion Pass as early as possible in January 2017.
Excellent questions! I recommend waiting until January 1, 2017, to book the Marriott Hotel + Air package. Marriott says it can take up to 14 days for the Southwest points to post in your account.
But I’ve read about folks who received the Southwest points in their account on the same day of booking. This would NOT be good if you booked on December 31, 2016!
So getting the Southwest points in early January 2017 means your Companion Pass will be valid until December 31, 2018!
Keep in mind, you can still combine Marriott points with a partner in anticipation of booking a Hotel + Air package in early January 2017. This will save you time and you’ll be ready to book in the new year!
2. No Upgrades to Higher Category Marriott Hotels
Million Mile Secrets reader, trup, commented:
Great question! Unfortunately, you can NOT upgrade to a higher category Marriott hotel after you redeem points for a Hotel + Air package. I confirmed this on the phone with multiple Marriott representatives.
So if your goal is to stay in a Category 6 or Category 7 Marriott hotel and get the Companion Pass, you’ll need to use more points when you book the package.
For the Companion Pass and a 7-night stay, you’ll pay:
- 300,000 Marriott points for the Category 6 hotel option
- 330,000 Marriott points for the Category 7 hotel option
3. How to Use the Marriott 7-Night Certificate
Million Mile Secrets reader, Emma, commented:
Does the Marriott 7-night certificate have to be used all at once (at one hotel)?
And reader, Diane, commented:
Is there a time limit to use the Marriott 7-night hotel certificate?
The 7-night certificate you get with a Marriott Hotel + Air package must be used at the same hotel for 7 consecutive nights.
Unfortunately, you can NOT use it for 4 nights at one hotel and 3 nights at a different hotel (for example).
Remember, when you book the Hotel + Air package, you do NOT have to pick the hotel on the same day. You’ll get a certificate for the hotel category you choose that’s valid for 1 year.
But I recommend booking your stay as soon as possible. Because the hotel you choose will need to have 7 consecutive award nights available. So the longer you wait, the harder it might be to get the dates you want.
4. Alternative Card Sign-Up Bonus Combinations
Thankfully, there are other ways to get enough Marriott points to get a 7-night Marriott stay and the Companion Pass!
You and a partner could each apply for the:
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
With each of these cards, you can earn a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starwood points after meeting spending requirements.
So you and a partner can earn at least 100,000 Starwood points (25,000 Starwood points x 4), which converts to 300,000 Marriott points.
That’s more than enough points to get you the Companion Pass with a Hotel + Air package!
Keep in mind, you’ll need to qualify as small business for the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest business card. But AMEX small business cards are often relatively easy to get because there are no strict income requirements. And it won’t count toward Chase’s card limits!
I’ve written how couples can earn the Companion Pass and a 7-night hotel stay with 2 card sign-up bonuses each by booking a Marriott Hotel + Air Package.
If you’re considering a Hotel + Air package to earn the Companion Pass, remember:
- Wait until January 1, 2017, to book
- You can’t upgrade to a higher category Marriott hotel after you book
- You must use the 7-night Marriott certificate for consecutive nights at the same hotel
- Couples impacted by the Chase “5/24 rule” can earn the sign-up bonuses from 2 AMEX Starwood cards (personal and small business) to earn enough points for a Marriott Hotel + Air package
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!