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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, Heather, commented:
My Southwest Companion Pass expires in December 2016. You mentioned you can transfer Marriott points to Southwest for no fee and use them to get the Companion Pass. If I have 110,000 Marriott points, could I save them until January 2017 and transfer to Southwest to get the Companion Pass again?
Thanks for the question, Heather!
You CAN transfer Marriott points to Southwest, which count toward the Southwest Companion Pass.
I consider it the top deal in domestic travel. So I can see why Heather is trying to get it again!
I’ll explain how you can use Marriott points to earn the Companion Pass!
About Marriott Hotel + Air Packages
Heather could transfer Marriott points directly to Southwest to earn the Companion Pass. But the transfer ratio isn’t good. Unfortunately, it’s NOT a 1:1 ratio! You’d need to transfer 290,000 Marriott points to get the 110,000 Southwest points needed for the Companion Pass.
Instead, I recommend redeeming Marriott points for a Southwest Hotel + Air package. You’ll need to redeem a minimum of 235,000 Marriott points to get enough Southwest points to earn the Companion Pass. And you’ll get to enjoy a longer stay at a Marriott hotel!
5-Night Hotel + Air Packages
The 5-night packages are not advertised on Marriott’s website and have typically been reserved for Marriott Vacation Club owners.
To book, call Marriott reservations at 888-236-2427. And ask specifically for a 5-night package. I haven’t tried it myself, but some folks with Marriott elite status have had success booking 5-night packages.
Here’s how much they cost:
|Marriott Hotel Category||5 Nights + 50,000 Miles or Points||5 Nights + 70,000 Miles or Points||5 Nights + 100,000 Miles or Points||5 Nights + 120,000 Miles or Points|
|Category 1 to 5||165,000 Marriott Points||185,000 Marriott Points||215,000 Marriott Points||235,000 Marriott Points|
|Category 6||180,000 Marriott Points||200,000 Marriott Points||230,000 Marriott Points||250,000 Marriott Points|
|Category 7||200,000 Marriott Points||220,000 Marriott Points||250,000 Marriott Points||270,000 Marriott Points|
|Category 8||230,000 Marriott Points||250,000 Marriott Points||280,000 Marriott Points||300,000 Marriott Points|
|Category 9||275,000 Marriott Points||295,000 Marriott Points||325,000 Marriott Points||345,000 Marriott Points|
The benefit of booking a 5-night package is you’ll pay fewer points.
For example, you can pay 235,000 Marriott points for a 5-night stay at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel. And, you’ll get 120,000 Southwest points, which is more than enough to earn the Companion Pass.
7-Night Hotel + Air Packages
If you’re not able to book a 5-night package, you could use more points for a 7-night Hotel + Air Package.
With this package, you’ll get 100,000 Southwest points that count toward the Companion Pass. And there are many ways to earn the extra 10,000 points needed to get the Companion Pass.
Remember, you don’t have to book a hotel stay right away! Marriott will send you a certificate for a 5 or 7-night stay (valid for 1 year from the date of issue). Plus the Southwest points, which you can use for any Southwest flight.
You’ll usually get the airline points within a few days of booking the package.
Want More Marriott Points?
If you’re short on Marriott points for a Hotel + Air package, remember a friend or family member can send you Marriott points to help you get enough.
And earn an extra 7,500 Marriott points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the 1st 3 months of account opening. The $85 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year.
With the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier small business card, you can earn 80,000 Marriott points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. The $99 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year.
Just remember, Chase now has stricter approval rules. So if you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards from any bank (excluding certain business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards.
Or Have It Both Ways!
If you don’t have enough Marriott points to book a Hotel + Air package to get the 110,000 Southwest Points, consider getting a Southwest credit card to make up the difference.
For example, you can pay 200,000 Marriott points for a 7-night stay at a Category 1 to 5 Marriott hotel. You’ll get 50,000 Southwest points that DO count toward the Companion Pass.
Then, get 1 of the 3 Chase Southwest cards, which are all offering 50,000 point sign-up bonuses after meeting minimum spending requirements.
With the minimum spending and sign-up offer from the Southwest card, you’ll need just 8,000 Southwest points to earn the Companion Pass.
You can redeem Marriott points for a Hotel + Air Package to earn the Southwest Companion Pass. You’ll get a 5 or 7-night stay at a Marriott Category 1 through 5 hotel. Plus Southwest points that you can use for any Southwest flight.
Or you can combine less expensive Hotel + Air packages with a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus from 1 of the 3 Southwest credit cards.
Have you used Marriott points to earn a Companion Pass?