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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.
Million Mile Secrets reader, Terri Clark commented:
I have recently been targeted for both the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer credit card and the Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa card for 50,000 miles each. Currently, I have 7 new credit card accounts in one year, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Hyatt card.
My question is, if I apply for and receive the Southwest card, can I transfer Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express points to Southwest to help me reach the Companion Pass? I have read that I cannot do that with Chase Sapphire Preferred. Thanks!
Great question, Terri!
Unfortunately, Southwest is NOT currently a Starwood airline transfer partner. And you’re correct that transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest will NOT count toward the Companion Pass.
However, there are lots of other ways to earn the 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year you need to qualify for the Companion Pass. I’ll explain!
How to Earn Southwest Companion Pass Points
Link: Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is still my #1 best deal in travel! That’s because when you have the Companion Pass, a friend of family member flies with you for almost free (on paid and award tickets) for up to 2 years!
To get the Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. And there are lots of ways to earn Southwest points which qualify!
Note: Points transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards, purchasing or receiving points as a gift, and certain bonus point promotions do NOT count towards the Southwest Companion Pass!
1. Chase Southwest Credit Cards
It’s a great time to earn the Companion Pass, because all 3 Chase Southwest cards are currently offering 50,000 point sign-up bonuses after you complete the minimum spending.
By signing-up for 2 cards, you can earn most of the points required!
That said, this isn’t as easy for many folks as it used to be. That’s because Chase has tightened their application rules. If you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for a Chase Southwest card.
Terri mentions she’s opened 7 cards in the past year, so she falls under these new rules. But there are reports folks who’ve received targeted Chase offers are still being approved, even if they’ve applied for lots of cards.
2. Transfers From Hotels
If you sign-up for 2 Southwest cards and complete the minimum spending, you’ll earn 104,000 Southwest points (100,000 from sign-up bonuses + 4,000 from minimum spending on 2 cards).
You’d still be 6,000 Southwest points short of the 110,000 points required to earn the Companion Pass.
Transferring points from certain hotel programs is an easy way to earn the remaining points you need! But keep in mind, it’s not a 1:1 ratio.
Note: Wyndham no longer allows points transfers to Southwest.
You could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott or Hyatt and then to Southwest. But I don’t recommend this unless you’re just a few points shy of the Companion Pass because the transfer ratios between hotels and Southwest are so poor.
3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
You’ll earn extra Southwest points at dozens of online retailers. For example, you can currently earn 3X Southwest points per $1 at JC Penney, or 2X Southwest points per $1 at Kohl’s.
4. Southwest Rapids Rewards Partners
You can earn Companion Pass qualifying points through Southwest shopping, survey, and travel partners like:
…and many more!
Note: Typically, only base points earned from these partners count toward the Companion Pass. Bonus points (from special promotions, for example) usually DO NOT. So read the fine print!
5. Paid Flights on Southwest
If you have paid travel coming up, consider booking Southwest to earn points the old fashioned way! 😉
Southwest often has the cheapest fares, and you’ll save money because everyone gets 2 free checked bags. And there are never any change or cancellation fees.
You’ll earn points based on what you paid for your ticket, the type of fare, and your elite status.
However, there are lots of other ways to earn the 110,000 Southwest points needed in a calendar year to earn the Companion Pass:
- Chase Southwest Credit Cards
- Transferring Hotel Points
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Partners
- Paid Flights on Southwest
Thanks for the question, Terri!