Bad News for Southwest Companion Pass – Hotel Point Transfers No Longer Qualify

Bad News for Southwest Companion Pass – Hotel Point Transfers No Longer Qualify

Million Mile SecretsBad News for Southwest Companion Pass – Hotel Point Transfers No Longer QualifyMillion Mile Secrets Team

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Update:   Southwest has changed their mind – for now!  Hotel point transfers to Southwest will count towards the Companion Pass through March 31, 2017.

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of the Southwest Companion Pass!  It’s still my favorite deal in travel.  But it’s just become a little harder to get.

Via View From the Wing, Southwest changed the terms for earning the Companion Pass today, January 1, 2017.  Without warning!

Effective immediately, points transfers from hotel and car rental loyalty programs will NOT count toward the Companion Pass.

Bad News For Southwest Companion Pass Hotel Point Transfers No Longer Qualify
The Southwest Companion Pass Is Still a Terrific Deal – but They Just Made It Trickier to Earn Qualifying Points

I’ll share the details, and show you how you can still easily earn the Southwest Companion Pass!

Southwest Changes Companion Pass Rules

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass Terms and Conditions

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

Without notice, Southwest changed the rules for earning the Companion Pass today, January 1, 2017.

Previously, transferring points from hotels like Hyatt, Marriott, and Choice was a good way to top-up your Southwest account to earn the 110,000 Southwest points required in a year to qualify for the Companion Pass.

Now, according to Southwest:

Companion Pass Qualifying Points are earned from your revenue flights booked through Southwest Airlines, your points earned by making purchases with a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Credit Card, and your base points earned from Rapid Rewards partners.

Purchased points, points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs, and e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions and Diners Club, points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment, tier bonuses, flight bonuses, and partner bonuses (excluding points bonuses earned on the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase) do not count toward Companion Pass.

Bad News For Southwest Companion Pass Hotel Point Transfers No Longer Qualify
Points Transfers From Hotels Like Marriott No Longer Count Towards Earning the Companion Pass

This isn’t good news for folks who were planning to earn the Southwest Companion Pass early in 2017 by transferring Starwood or Marriott points to Southwest via a Marriott Air + Hotel package.

And I’m disappointed they made this change without giving folks advance notice!

Still Earn Most of the Points for the Companion Pass With Chase Cards

Link:   Perfect Timing for the Southwest Companion Pass – All 3 Southwest Cards Offering 50,000 Points

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Personal)

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Business)

Link:   Chase Southwest Plus (Personal)

You’ll earn 50,000 Southwest points with the Chase Southwest Premier (Personal), Chase Southwest Premier (Business), and Chase Southwest Plus (Personal) cards when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

With all 3 cards, you’ll earn 2X Southwest points per $1 spent on Southwest, hotel partners, car rental partners, and points purchases.  And 1X Southwest point per $1 spent on everything else.

Here’s a quick chart showing the differences between the cards:

Card FeaturesChase Southwest PremierChase Southwest Premier BusinessChase Southwest Plus
Sign-Up Bonus50,000 points60,000 points50,000 points
Minimum Spending$2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account$3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account$2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
Anniversary Bonus6,000 points6,000 points3,000 points
Foreign Transaction Fees003%
Annual Fee$99 NOT waived the 1st year$99 NOT waived the 1st year$69 NOT waived the 1st year

Each card is considered a different card product, so you’re eligible for the Chase Southwest Premier if you already have the Chase Southwest Plus, for example.

But Chase is unlikely to approve most folks for 2 personal cards at the same time.

And you can earn the bonus again from the SAME card if you no longer have it and you received the bonus more than 24 months ago.

Remember, Chase has tightened their application rules.  That is, if you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months (excluding certain business cards, like the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN), it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards.

Emily and I don’t earn a commission from these cards, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!

How to Earn the Remaining Points

I’ve previously written that hotel point transfers and partner program bonus points were the easiest ways to get the extra points you’d need to earn the Companion Pass.

This is no longer the case.  You’ll only earn Companion Pass qualifying points from:

  • Flying on Southwest
  • Earning Southwest points from your Chase Southwest cards (sign-up bonus and ordinary spending)
  • Base Southwest points (not bonus points, like 1-800-Flowers promotions) from partner programs
Bad News For Southwest Companion Pass Hotel Point Transfers No Longer Qualify
Only Base Points From Partners Like 1-800-Flowers Count Toward Southwest Companion Pass Status, NOT Bonus Points

Purchased points, points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards, or points earned from online survey companies do NOT count toward the Companion Pass, either.

Bottom Line

Without notice, Southwest changed the rules for earning the Companion Pass today, January 1, 2017.

Points transfers from hotel and car rental programs, like Hyatt, Marriott, and Choice, no longer qualify toward the Companion Pass.

That’s lousy news for folks who had plans to earn the Companion Pass early this year by booking a Marriott Air + Hotel package.  I know many of us, including Million Mile Secrets team members, were waiting for the new year to pull the trigger on this deal.  🙁

That said, it’s still relatively easy to earn the Southwest Companion Pass by signing-up for 2 Chase Southwest cards.

Did this announcement catch you by surprise?  Please share your thoughts in the comments!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the editorial content nor the comments on this site are provided by the companies whose products are featured. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser.

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I bought the Marriott/SW PAKAGE Cat 1-5 on Jan 2, minutes for 270k Marriott points after procrastinating it until January to get two years of Companion (Yes, say it! Greedy me! I know!) minutes after I read a blog with the nefast news. Then this morning at 11:58, I received and email from SW Congratulating me for getting the companion. I went on I log in to check the account, no companion. Called SW and they referred me to customer relations. CR then said, that they are having trouble with the system and with the companion that they are reviewing the accounts MANUALLY!!$@?! Are you freaking kidding me? So much for Russians hackers. Praying that they honor the email, just because of the big boo, boo they did sending it! Finger cross! Good luck everyone!

I had planned ahead and was ready for the big Day January 1 to do the transfer for Companion Pass. Since the website would not allow me to do it online and I had not read any blogs about the viability of it now, I waited until early January 2 to make the call. I did the hotel package 3 and thought I was ready to go. Happy lady :-). Just as I was completing the transfer on the phone with the agent, and had agreed to all the terms and conditions... he said the transfer was complete and could not be reversed...Literally at that instant, the email popped in about the deal is dead! My heart sank. Within three minutes I called again to reverse the decision and cancel the package. I was allowed a one-time courtesy and the package was cancelled. Relief. ..sad, but relieved. the next best transfer in connection with United miles? Or is there an SPG package that would be better Bang?

Grateful for bloggers like you...millionmilesecrets!

Thank you for the heads up! My wife and I follow your site, and executed the companion status in 2013 (I did it for 2013-2014) and again in2015 (she did it for 2015-2016). It's my turn again, and I was approved for both personal and business last week, but reading this today was a shock. We'll just have to spend an additional $6k on the cards before we get our companion status for 2017-2018. #firstworldproblems

Oh--how sad is that? you still get the 110 SW points--just that they're not points you can sure toward the companion pass? Or do you not even get the points?

Thanks for the immediate notification--even thought wasn't one I wanted...

How could the bloggers not get wind of this they get wind of everything else! I think the blogger were sworn to secrecy on this issue!

Load more