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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!
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’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!
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
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 points, which 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.
And just like that, I had 270,000 Marriott points – enough to book a Southwest Hotel + Air package!
For that amount of points, you get:
- 120,000 Southwest points
- The Companion Pass
- A 7-night stay at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.