Million Mile Secrets reader Robert writes in:
Can I use the transfer of ultimate rewards points to southwest to complete my companion pass?
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best ways to save money on airline tickets for travel within the US.
2 Southwest credit cards and 10,000 extra points can get you $3,666 in Southwest travel and a Southwest Companion pass so that your companion can fly free (pay just the $2.50 security fee) for two years!
You get the Companion Pass after earning 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points a calendar year. You can earn points in a variety of ways. But not all points qualify towards the Companion Pass.
Ultimate Rewards Points
You earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with a Chase credit card which earns Ultimate Rewards points or by shopping at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Unfortunately, you can’t transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest and have them count towards the Southwest Companion Pass. That would be too easy!
But there is an indirect way to earn Companion Pass points from Chase Ultimate Rewards points…
Other Ways to Earn Companion Pass Points
Robert can earn points towards the Companion Pass by:
- Spending (or the sign-up bonus) on the Southwest credit cards
- Flying on Southwest
- Earning points from Rapid Rewards partners such as hotels and car rentals
Marriott and Hyatt Transfers
Robert can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or Marriott hotels points and from Hyatt or Marriott to Southwest. Currently, transfers from Hyatt & Marriott do count towards the Companion Pass status, but could change at any time.
But he will lose some Ultimate Rewards points in the transfer because the transfer ratio is NOT 1:1. But it could be worth it to top-off your Southwest account for the Companion Pass!
1. Hyatt Transfers
Robert can transfer, say, 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 5,000 Hyatt points i.e. a 1:1 transfer ratio.
He can then transfer 5,000 Hyatt points to 2,400 Southwest points.
Hyatt gives you a bonus for transferring 50,000 points. So if he transfers 50,000 Hyatt points to 24,000 Southwest points, he will get a bonus of 6,000 extra Southwest points for a total of 30,000 Southwest points.
The terms say that it could take up to 4 to 6 weeks for the miles to appear in your Southwest account, but in my experience they transfer within 1 week.
2. Marriott Transfers
Robert can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott points in a 1:1 ratio.
Here’s the transfer ratio from Marriott points to Southwest. Robert is better off transferring his Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt instead of Marriott because the transfer ratio is worse with Marriott points (unless he uses a Marriott vacation package).
With Marriott, you get a better transfer ratio the more points you transfer. So it makes sense to combine your points with your partner and then transfer points.
- 10,000 Marriott Points = 2,000 Southwest points
- 20,000 Marriott Points = 5,000 Southwest points
- 30,000 Marriott Points = 10,000 Southwest points
- 70,000 Marriott Points = 25,000 Southwest points
- 140,000 Marriott Points = 50,000 Southwest points
The terms say that it could take up to 6 weeks for the miles to appear in your Southwest account, but in my experience they transfer within 1 week.
However, Marriott has vacation packages which are terrific deals if you have a LOT of Marriott points.
For example, you can redeem 270,000 Marriott points and get 120,000 Southwest points (enough for the Companion Pass) AND 7 nights in a category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel!
You can’t redeem these packages online, but have to call 800-321-7396 for them. Marriott also lets you transfer your Marriott points to your partner and then redeem them for an airline transfer or for a vacation package. So that’s an easy way to combine your points in one account.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest will not count towards the Companion Pass.
But you can indirectly transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott or Hyatt and from there to Southwest and have the points count towards the Companion Pass! Remember, that this could end at anytime though.