Hooray! Southwest Reverses Decision, Hotel Points Transfers Count for Companion Pass!

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Amazing news for y’all who had hoped to transfer hotel points to Southwest and earn the Companion Pass in the New Year.

Earlier this week, Southwest announced, without warning, points transfers from hotel and car rental loyalty programs would NO LONGER count toward the Companion Pass.

But they’ve changed their mind!  You can now earn the Companion Pass with hotel and car rental points transfers through March 31, 2017. 

Kudos to Southwest for responding to their customers!

Hooray Southwest Reverses Decision Hotel Points Transfers Count For Companion Pass

Grab a Loved One and Start Planning a Trip – Hotel Point Transfers Can Earn You a Southwest Companion Pass If You Transfer by March 31, 2017!

I’ll share the details!

Earn a Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   How to Fly (Almost) Free for 2 Years on Southwest

On January 1, 2017, Southwest abruptly changed the terms and conditions of their Companion Pass.  Points transferred from hotel or car rental loyalty programs no longer qualified to earn it.  But they’ve reversed the decision!

Through March 31, 2017, you can transfer points from hotels like Hyatt, Marriott, and Choice to earn the 110,000 Southwest points required in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass, which I call the BEST deal in travel!

Hooray Southwest Reverses Decision Hotel Points Transfers Count For Companion Pass

If You Have Marriott or Starwood Points, You Can Book a Marriott Hotel + Air Package and Earn a Southwest Companion Pass for Almost 2 Years

Southwest says:

As we began the New Year on January 1, we took the opportunity to close a loophole in our Rapid Rewards Companion Pass terms and conditions related to transferred points from our Partners. This was an effort intended to clarify qualification requirements for Companion Pass, one of the best benefits in travel, as well as to protect the integrity and value of the Rapid Rewards program.

In doing so, we updated our terms and conditions which now clearly state that points transferred from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club will no longer count toward qualification for a Companion Pass. Members will continue to earn toward Companion Pass benefits through paid flights flown on Southwest, Points earned through spend with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards credit cards, and base points earned through transactions with Rapid Rewards partners.

Many of you have reached out to us since then, and we greatly appreciate your honest and candid feedback. Because we are a Company that values our Customers and believes in doing the right thing, we are offering a limited window for Customers to earn toward Companion Pass by transferring their loyalty points from these Partners.

To that end, points converted from the above mentioned programs will count towards a Companion Pass until March 31, 2017. This is a hard deadline and we will not be able to make any exceptions beyond March 31. If you have points with these Partners that you wanted to transfer, please do not wait. Make the transfer before the deadline.

We appreciate all of our Customers and look forward to seeing you onboard very soon!

This is fantastic news for folks who opened new cards or saved points to earn a Companion Pass for nearly 2 full years!  That’s because if you earn the Companion Pass in 2017, it will be valid for the remainder of the year AND all of the following year.

So Companion Passes earned in 2017 will be good through December 31, 2018!  Million Mile Secrets team member Keith already booked a Marriott Hotel + Air package after this news broke.  The Marriott representative said it would take 3 business days for the points to appear in his account.

But call quickly if you’re interested, because LOTS of folks will likely be making their transfers, too!  And here’s a reminder of what counts (and doesn’t count!) toward the Companion Pass.

Bottom Line

You’re in luck if you want to earn a Southwest Companion Pass with a hotel points transfer!  Because Southwest reversed their earlier decision and WILL allow these transfers to qualify toward earning the Companion Pass through March 31, 2017!

I’m relieved Southwest listened to their customers.  And decided to do right by them.  So now you have nearly 3 months to earn the best deal in travel!

Does this news help you get a Companion Pass?  Let me know what you think about this new development!

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40 responses to “Hooray! Southwest Reverses Decision, Hotel Points Transfers Count for Companion Pass!

  1. Great 🙁 first a crappy Jan 1 announcement, second a false email and now they reverse their decision but I already deposited my Marriott miles into AA account yesterday….can’t catch a break!

    • It certainly has been a ride this week!

    • I just cancelled my original purchase of a category 8 hotel with a 120,000 mile to alaska airlines that I ordered on January 2! And now just put it towards Southwest and my companion pass! everybody check to see if you can cancel. My guess is I got saved because it takes 1 to 2 weeks to do the point transfer. Not sure how long the other airlines point transfer takes, but it takes 3 days for southwest. Good luck to every body who was in my same boat.

  2. Is the purchase of the Marriott Vacation package the best way to achieve the companion pass or can I just transfer 110,000 Chase UR points to my Southwest account? I want to do this right! Thanks in Advance!

  3. Our Marriott& SPG reward accounts are in my name, but Rapid Rewards is in husband’s. Will I be able to purchase a Marriott Hotel & Air package on my Mariott account and send the RR points to his? Or should I have him open SPG & Marriot accts and transfer all of the points to him?

    • I believe Marriott will want the names to match. So it’s probably for the best if he opens an account in his name. Or if you register for a Southwest account with yours. Either way should work. Good luck!

      • Thanks! He just got the RR Biz card for his RR account, so we want to use those 50k points towards it. Probably going to just transfer 20k Starpoints to his SPG, then to his Marriott, then to his RR, instead of blowing 90k Starpoints.

  4. What a pleasant surprise! I always wait a few days before making changes. Glad I did as I was close to moving my Marriott Points to get AA miles as I am Platinum there. And a special thanks to Million Mile Secrets for alerting me.

    Restores my faith in SWA to do the right thing.

    To keep loyalty and not cost so much, SWA should allow 40 pr 50% of point transfers from hotels to count toward CP and also make it good for 12 months from issue of the CP. I think a fair compromise and will keep many in the fold.

  5. I need your advice. Currently my wife and I have the companion pass which runs until December 2017. My wife is the primary and I am the companion. Do you think it is worth it to get another companion pass now, with me as the primary and my wife is the companion, so that we can extend it another year through 2018??

  6. I have about 125,000 SPG rewards, 225,000 Chase ultimate rewards, & about 9000 Marriott reward points. Looking for your expertise, advise, and help. What would be my best way to achieve the southwest companion pass.
    Thank you so much

  7. Daraius, thanks for sharing this. Advice question for you. I have 90,000 Marriott points and 180,000 MR points. I am debating getting the SW companion pass (I have just enough for the Cat 5 Hotel+Air package) vs. getting the Enhanced Business Platinum AMEX with its 2 cents per point redemption (and I would designate SW as my airline). I don’t have any plans to stay anywhere at a Cat 5 Marriott, especially for 7 days. Do you think one approach is markedly better than the other?

    • It depends on how much you’d use the Companion Pass. If you think you’d use it a lot, having it for nearly 2 full years can be worth a lot.

      Or better yet, do both! Because then you could buy Southwest tickets using Pay With Points. And then add a Companion! 🙂

      It might be worth it even if you don’t use the Marriott free nights. And you can always ask Marriott to extend the expiration date if you don’t think you’ll redeem them within the next year.

  8. LaTray McDonals

    Hey. I went ahead and redeemed my points for travel package and 120k RR on 01/03 but saw that it was reversed on 01/04. Am I in the clear for the companion pass. I

  9. I just cancelled my original purchase of a category 8 hotel with a 120,000 mile to alaska airlines that I ordered on January 2! An now just put it towards Southwest and my companion pass! everybody check to see if you can cancel. My guess is I got saved because it takes 1 to 2 weeks to do the point transfer. Not sure how long the other airlines point transfer takes, but it takes 3 days for southwest. Good luck to every body who was in my same boat.

  10. I did some purchase on 1800flowers. will it count towards 6k missing to get 110k to get cp TIA

  11. I only have 118K Marriott Points. Would it make sense to transfer 152K Amex pts to SPG at 3to1 then to Marriott at 1to3? Which would give me a 1to1 Amex to Marriott ratio and enough needed for the 270K package earning the Companion Pass? Thanks!

  12. When you buy 50,000 Marriott points can this go towards the air+ package?

  13. I was glad to see the reversal of SW policy this morning. Although I already have a companion pass good thru 2017, I jumped on the deal anyway and will now be good thru all of 2018 as well.

    At the end of the day I am out of Marriott points and still have 58,000 SPG points. I have been doing alot of regular and manufactured spending on my SPG card as the math works out nicely for me. I often stay at a nice Town Suites, Cat. 1 Marriott which costs me 30,000 points for the entire 5 day stay (with free 5th day.

    I will do at least 10,000 a month on SPG this year which will bump up those points nicely……and if I can get a few friends to take out business cards and get the 5000 referral points each card, that adds to the balance as well. All is good. Glad they made the reversal.

  14. Hello, I have 117,000 Marriott rewards points and 70,000 Hyatt points. What would be the best way to transfer these points to Southwest Airlines to get the companion pass?

  15. Does anyone know the answer to this question?
    I am beginning the second year of my SW Companion pass for one more year (2017). If I transfer Marriott hotel points to my SW account would that extend my SW Companion pass for an additional two years? Are you allowed to do this? If so, how many Marriott points would I need to transfer?

  16. Help!
    I have about 106K Marriott from Chase Business Marriott last year (in preparation for for the hotel+air package, but got busy) missed out on the SPG buy discounted points promotion. Have about 90 UR points that most likely go to SW, so transferring to Marriott to then get RR isn’t too bad, and 31K MR points. I missed out on the Amex 35K SPG card, but am willing to take a loss on applying with 25K SPG. In essence, I should have enough points for the 270K package. But, I read somewhere and I can’t find it again that there’s a limit of 50K transfer per year? But then you can transfer 30K SPG in addition?
    If that’s the case, then I’d have to spend 5K in the Amex SPG to get 30K for 90K Marriott
    Transfer 50K UR to Marriott, which will be about 246K Marriott, 24K shy… meaning the only other way to reach it is to spend 24K in the Marriott card.

    Does it look right? Does my calculations make sense?

    Does it matter that on their terms and conditions that it still says that it does not qualify?

    https://www.southwest.com/html/generated/help/faqs/rapid_rewards_program_terms_and_conditions_faq.html

    Companion Pass

    A Member who earns 110,000 Companion Pass Qualifying Points or who flies 100 qualifying one-way flights booked through Southwest Airlines per calendar year will qualify for Companion Pass. Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, points earned on Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Cards, and base points earned from Rapid Rewards Partners. Purchased points, transferred points transferred between members, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points, and partner bonus points (with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.

  17. I need some help as I’m confused by the amount of points needed to get the companion pass with the package deal. Is it 200k? I currently have a reservation where I am using 170k Marriott points and have 70,183 points in my account. I don’t mind cancelling the reservation and just paying cash if it means I can get the companion pass, that is more valuable to me.

  18. Still have companion pass until the end of 2017. Can I use my Marriott points to get 7 nights plus a new companion pass that would replace the current on and be valid until the end of 2018?

  19. I feel like I won the lotto and so glad I didn’t miss out on this! I needed some points so purchased Starpoints which was cheaper and transferred to Marriott. Very easy call to complete transaction and SW posted 3 days later. Thinking of using the 7 day cert in Costa Rica for DH’s bday.

  20. How hard is it to book a 7 night certificate stay at Tier 4 or 5 when selecting the top tier plus miles for companion pass and is that smart
    I usually prefer to stay at nice hotel, so should I select Ritz tier 4-5 for 540,000 miles.

    thoughts or suggestions

  21. I keep seeing reference to “E-rewards” being transferred to Southwest. I am an E-rewards member and there is no option to transfer E-reward dollars to any airline. Does anyone know how this can be done when Southwest is not a redemption option on E-rewards? Thanks.

  22. I am confused. I transferred 6000 best western points last week in the hopes they’d count (also just got 100k bonus points with my Visa cards), and they are not showing up as counting. I sent two email inquiries and called a representative today. He sounded like he had never heard of this policy change. What can I do and who can I call to make sure these points count?

  23. I just want to make sure this is correct. If I transfer 110k points from Marriott to Southwest, I will have the companion pass benefit?

  24. Late to the game – can I still do this if I transfer from SPG to Marriott this week?
    I read in your earlier post it ‘takes up to 6 weeks to get the Southwest miles’. Am I out of luck?