Lyn blogs about Southwest at Go To Travel Gal. And I’ve asked her to share this new way to earn the Companion Pass, especially in light of the news that transferring hotel points will no longer work after March 31, 2017!
Lyn: Southwest has a new option that lets you earn up to 10,000 Southwest points per night that DO count toward the Companion Pass. It’s by booking a hotel through SouthwestHotels.com.
Dariaus and Emily believe the Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in travel. Because you get Big Travel With Small Money by flying 1 person free with you from the time you earn it until the end of the following year.
For a step-by-step process of how to easily earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you can download my free guide.
Previously, Southwest would offer a set amount of points you could earn during promotions with specific hotel chains. But now you can consistently book hotel stays with worldwide chains to earn up to 10,000 Southwest points.
I’ll show you how to use the Southwest hotel booking site to find rooms at more than a million hotels and vacation rentals in 225 countries and territories!
Booking Through SouthwestHotels Gets You Closer to the Companion Pass
To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.
So you’ll be 6,000 Southwest points short after the bonuses and points you’d collect from the minimum spending requirements.
Earning Southwest points for a hotel stay you’ll be booking anyway is a great perk. The points you’ll earn when you stay at a hotel vary but can reach up to 10,000 points per stay relatively easily.
Many of the hotels on the site allow you to book with no pre-payment and no cancellation penalty. The hotels are also ranked according to customer reviews to give you a better idea of what would best fit your needs.
But You Will NOT Earn Hotel Points
You will NOT be able to use your hotel loyalty program number when booking your hotel through Southwest. That’s because you’re essentially choosing to earn Southwest points instead of hotel points.
You may also miss out on hotel loyalty perks like free Internet access, mobile check-in, digital keys, upgrades, and special rates.
Do the Hotels Cost the Same?
What are the deals like on the Southwest hotel site?
They promise to price match if you find a better deal on a different website. The deal must be for the same hotel and room type, as well as the same dates you have booked and the deal must be available when they check.
Often, hotels will offer loyalty members a rate below their best advertised price. But the Southwest booking site will not price match special membership rates.
Typically, these are only a few dollars below the best published price. So you can decide it if it’s worth it to pay a couple extra dollars for the Southwest points, keeping in mind you may lose other loyalty benefits.
How Many Points Will You Earn?
The number of points you’ll earn for booking each hotel is at the bottom of the listing when you search by location and date.
Some hotels earn dramatically more than others. Unfortunately, there is not an option to sort to the number of Southwest points you’ll earn, so you may have to scroll down.
For example, when searching for a stay in Lexington, Kentucky, in February, my preferred hotel, a Hilton, only earned 298 points for a 2-night stay, whereas a Holiday Inn earned 2,000 points. And an independently-owned hotel earned 5,000 points.
To earn your points, you will enter your Southwest number into a field when making the reservation and the points will be awarded to you upon the completion of your stay.
The Southwest Hotel Booking site is operated by a 3rd-party company, Booking.com, instead of Southwest itself. So if you have questions you will be directed to them. You can call them at 888-850-3958 with any questions throughout the process.
Booking a Hotel Through Southwest
Step 1. Visit SouthwestHotels.com
Type in a date and location and select the Search button.
Step 2. Search for Your Hotel
Search through the options, noting the number of Southwest points you can earn at each hotel in the big blue box.
Step 3. Make Your Selection
Click on your final selection, review the details about the hotel and select “I Will Reserve.”
Step 4. Complete the Reservation
Fill in your personal information, payment details, and Southwest loyalty number. Then select “Confirm Reservation.”
You can now book hotels through SouthwestHotels.com to earn Southwest points that DO count toward the Companion Pass. Pay with your Southwest credit card to earn even more points toward free travel on Southwest!
Lyn Mettler is a freelance travel writer who blogs about Southwest at Go To Travel Gal. She is also the author of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass.” You can follow her on Twitter @GoToTravelGal or on Pinterest.