Personal Experience Earning Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

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Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan recently earned a Southwest Companion Pass.  I’ll let him tell you about his experience!

Harlan:  Thank you Daraius!  I’m happy to report it all went very smoothly!

If you want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass with hotel points, you only have until March 31, 2017, before this method is gone forever.

But, you’ll be able to fly Southwest with a companion for only the cost of taxes & fees through December 31, 2018 – almost 2 full years!

I chose to earn the Southwest Companion Pass with points transferred from Marriott.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

Have Someone You Want to Fly With? Here’s Your Last Chance to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Point Transfers!

I’ll share my experience.  Here’s how I did it!

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass

1.   Why I Wanted It

There’s no doubt you can get lots of Big Travel With Small Money from the Southwest Companion Pass.  It’s valid for the rest of the year you earn it, and the entire following year.  So if you earn it in 2017, it’s valid through December 31, 2018!

If you live in a city Southwest serves, that means you can take a partner with you for nearly 2 years for only the cost of taxes & fees.  Plus, it’s valid for paid OR award flights!

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

When It Comes to the Southwest Companion Pass, Timing Is Everything. The Earlier in the Year You Earn It, the More Flights You Get With a Partner!

Because hotel transfers will NOT count toward the Southwest Companion Pass after March 31, 2017, the clock is ticking if you want to earn it this way.  But, the sooner you earn it, the more flights you can get with your designated companion.  If you have a trip coming up soon, that can save you hundreds of dollars!

2.   My Plan to Earn the Companion Pass

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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

I waited until early January to transfer my Starwood points to Marriott.

You need 270,000 Marriott points to redeem for a Southwest Hotel + Air package.  That’s a lot!

But because Starwood points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, I really needed 90,000 Starwood pointswhich is still a huge amount.

In 2016, I opened an AMEX Starwood personal and small business card.  And earned nearly 60,000 Starwood points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.  Then, I took advantage of a 2X points promotion to earn the rest of the points.

Once I had 90,000 Starwood points, I saved them until January 2017 so my Southwest Companion Pass would be valid for as long as possible!

3.   How I Did It

To begin, I transferred my 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

The Transfer From Starwood to Marriott Was Instant

And just like that, I had 270,000 Marriott points – enough to book a Southwest Hotel + Air package!

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

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

For that amount of points, you get:

Assuming the total value is $5,000, that means each Starwood point is worth nearly 6 cents ($5,000 / 90,000).  That’s a fantastic deal!  And of course, they’re worth even more depending on how often you’ll use the Companion Pass.

I gathered my Southwest and Marriott loyalty numbers.  Then called Marriott reservations at 888-236-2427.  I followed the prompts for an award booking.  The phone agent knew right away what I was asking for when I mentioned a “Hotel + Air package.”

He asked which airline I wanted.  I said Southwest and gave him my Southwest number.  The points were immediately taken out of my Marriott account.  And a few minutes later, my 7-night award certificate appeared!

The entire phone call took less than 5 minutes.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

First, I Saw 120,000 Southwest Points in My Account

Two days later, I noticed 120,000 Southwest points were added to my account.  But no Companion Pass yet!

Folks on Reddit said this was normal.  And that the Companion Pass would show up a few days later.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

Yay! The Companion Pass Showed up Soon After the Transfer

And it did!  I got a welcome email from Southwest.  And was able to add a companion after logging-in to my account.

There were no snags, and the entire process was entirely smooth – from earning the Starwood points and transferring them to booking the award with Marriott to finally earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

And I can’t wait to fly Southwest with a partner through the end of 2018!

Want More Southwest Points?

Link:   Chase Southwest Plus Card

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Card

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Small Business Card

You can earn 50,000 Southwest points with the Chase Southwest Premier (personal) or Chase Southwest Plus cards when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

So you’ll earn 104,000 Southwest points by signing-up for 2 of these cards (100,000 Southwest points in sign-up bonuses + 4,000 Southwest points from minimum spending), putting you just 6,000 Southwest points away from the Southwest Companion Pass!

But Chase has increased its sign-up bonus on the Chase Southwest Premier small business card to 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.

So if you sign-up for the Chase Southwest Premier small business and 1 Chase Southwest personal card, you would instantly qualify for the Companion Pass after meeting minimum spending requirements!

Bottom Line

Through March 31, 2017, hotel points transfers will help you earn the Southwest Companion Pass until the end of 2018.  That’s nearly 2 full years that a partner can fly on any Southwest flight with you for only the cost of taxes & fees!

I earned the Companion Pass with a points transfer from Marriott.  And the process was easy and smooth.  The phone call to Marriott took 5 minutes!

It’s important to make a plan to earn the points needed if you want to earn the Companion Pass this way.  Here’s a guide on everything you need to know.

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31 responses to “Personal Experience Earning Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

  1. I believe the first paragraph after “Why I Wanted It” has an error as the pass should be valid until the end of 2018, not December 18, 2017.

  2. When you choose a hotel category with the package are you locked into that category or can changes be made by using more points at a later date? For example, we are looking at a CAT 7 hotel that we want to stay at over Thanksgiving, however, we aren’t ready to commit yet.

    If we decide on a CAT 9 instead, can we “pay” the difference in additional points when we book? Alternatively, what if we decide to go with a CAT 5 or 6, could we use our CAT 7 certificate to book a lower hotel (not expecting a return of points)?

    I want to order the Southwest points and a certificate, we just haven’t determined exactly where we want the Marriott stay to be so I am wondering what flexibility there may or may not be. Thanks!

  3. I heard that you cannot do this anylonger right ??
    I read that point will no longer count toward your SW pass , is that true ,?

  4. My wife has a companion pass through 2017, is it better to renew her companion pass, or just get a new one in my name? I’m currently her companion of course on her pass……I’m guessing either way we are only good through 2018

  5. I had the same smooth experience booking my package! This was my first time earning the companion pass and I’m excited it was so effortless (minus the emotional roller coaster of the rule changes)! I’ve already booked a flight for my companion and I. Thanks for all the great information!

  6. So I can redeem the 270k Marriott points to get the companion pass without using the certificate of the 7 night stay before march? Or does the stay have to be completed for the 120k points to move over to southwest?

    • The 7-night certificate is valid for 1 year after the date you make the transfer to Southwest. And you can always ask to extend it later.

      You don’t have to complete a stay for the points to appear in your Southwest account.

  7. A few questions with this:

    1) Is it true the 7 night stay category 5 and below is only redeemable in the US? Thought I may have seen that somewhere…
    2) How long is the 7-night award certificate valid for? Do you have to use it by a certain date after receiving?
    3) Has anyone had trouble finding availability for the category 5s due to the length of the stay? Or do you just need to avoid peak travel periods, etc?

    • You can use it for any Category 5 or below hotel. It’s valid for a year from the date you make the points transfer. Although lots of folks have had luck extending it for another year with a call to Marriott.

      I’ve had luck finding award space at several Marriott hotels, but of course it depends on which hotel you want. I’d recommend booking as far in advance as you can for the best chance at finding the award you want.

  8. Could family members (my same last name and living with me at same address) transfer their SPG points to my SPG account so I can do then transfer them to Marriott and book the travel package and SW miles? My son and daughter have SPG points but not enough for the 90k needed and I wander if we can combine them…..

  9. Can anyone tell me how long it takes for the points to be posted to your account for Marriott & SPG credit cards once you meet the minimum spend? Do they post at the statement closing date or as soon as you meet the spend? My husband just got both cards, so if it’s at the statement date, then we barely have time to meet the minimum spend. Ouch!

  10. So I’m considering transferring enough SPG points to Marriott so that I can get the 7 night certificate for a Category 9 Marriott. My question is, is it possible to to split the certificate so that I can get 2 rooms during one trip? My wife and her parents are looking to go to NYC this December and would love if this is possible.

  11. Excited I got in on this and agree very smooth transaction! It’s my second time with the CP and already booked a Vegas trip. Perhaps doing an article on getting the best value with the Marriott certificate would be helpful and give some ideas of where to book!

    • Congrats! Glad your transaction went smoothly! 🙂

      That’s a good idea, we may just have to write that up!

      • We did the same, redeemed Marriott points for Hotel & Air package and got companion pass. Very smooth transaction, and agree with Boonie…please do an article on how and where is the best way to redeem this certificate. I have been somewhat confused as to how to book a stay with this.

    • Looking through the Category 1-5, the best deal I found in category 5 is JW Marriott Phu Quoc Resort & Spa in Vietnam. Goes for $500/night during times that I checked. We will be using our 7-night certificate there in 2018. In 2016, we usedour other 7-night certificate at the Renaissance Curacao….LOVED Curacao experience & location of hotel, but the hotel had ridiculous resort fees without all the resort amenities we expected.

      • Note: Renaissance Curacao went up to Category 6. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Marriott bumped JW Marriott Phu Quoc up in 2018, so book before category changes occur in Feb/Mar 2018.

  12. Enjoyed reading this article. I initiated a transfer from Hyatt to Southwest to get the companion pass early last week. It has almost been two weeks since the transfer and the points have not shown up in my Southwest account. Is this variance gap between the initiation of the point transfer normal for Hyatt? How long should I wait before inquiring further? (The terms did say it may take up to 8 weeks, but that seems to be a long time). Thanks for your help.

  13. I am happy to say that I also followed the hotel point transfer process and obtained a companion pass until 12/31/18. I have been lucky enough to hold a CP for the last 4 years between my wife and I using the Chase cards. I can’t get another card due to too many new openings so this method was perfect timing.

  14. Help please,

    As of today 3/24/2017 (1 week before the deadline) I finally have in my Marriott account the 270,000 points needed in order to book the 7 day Hotel & Air package and hopefully get the 120,000 SW rapid rewards points along with the companion pass. I’m calling Marriott later today to book the package, however, I’m worry about the amount of time that Marriott will take before they transfer/post the 120,000 points in my SW account.
    Do you know by any chance if Marriott will transfer the 120K points to SW immediately or is it going to take 6 weeks as I have read in some of the comments as well as Marriott terms and conditions. Am I too late? Any advice?