Personal Experience Earning Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points

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Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan recently earned a Southwest Companion Pass.  I’ll let him tell you about his experience!

Harlan:  Thank you Daraius!  I’m happy to report it all went very smoothly!

If you want to earn the Southwest Companion Pass with hotel points, you only have until March 31, 2017, before this method is gone forever.

But, you’ll be able to fly Southwest with a companion for only the cost of taxes & fees through December 31, 2018 – almost 2 full years!

I chose to earn the Southwest Companion Pass with points transferred from Marriott.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
Have Someone You Want to Fly With? Here’s Your Last Chance to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Point Transfers!

I’ll share my experience.  Here’s how I did it!

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass

1.   Why I Wanted It

There’s no doubt you can get lots of Big Travel With Small Money from the Southwest Companion Pass.  It’s valid for the rest of the year you earn it, and the entire following year.  So if you earn it in 2017, it’s valid through December 31, 2018!

If you live in a city Southwest serves, that means you can take a partner with you for nearly 2 years for only the cost of taxes & fees.  Plus, it’s valid for paid OR award flights!

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
When It Comes to the Southwest Companion Pass, Timing Is Everything. The Earlier in the Year You Earn It, the More Flights You Get With a Partner!

Because hotel transfers will NOT count toward the Southwest Companion Pass after March 31, 2017, the clock is ticking if you want to earn it this way.  But, the sooner you earn it, the more flights you can get with your designated companion.  If you have a trip coming up soon, that can save you hundreds of dollars!

2.   My Plan to Earn the Companion Pass

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

I waited until early January to transfer my Starwood points to Marriott.

You need 270,000 Marriott points to redeem for a Southwest Hotel + Air package.  That’s a lot!

But because Starwood points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, I really needed 90,000 Starwood pointswhich is still a huge amount.

In 2016, I opened an AMEX Starwood personal and small business card.  And earned nearly 60,000 Starwood points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.  Then, I took advantage of a 2X points promotion to earn the rest of the points.

Once I had 90,000 Starwood points, I saved them until January 2017 so my Southwest Companion Pass would be valid for as long as possible!

3.   How I Did It

To begin, I transferred my 90,000 Starwood points to Marriott.

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
The Transfer From Starwood to Marriott Was Instant

And just like that, I had 270,000 Marriott points – enough to book a Southwest Hotel + Air package!

My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
Redeem 270,000 Marriott Points for a 7-Night Hotel + Air Package and You’ll Earn Enough Southwest Points for the Companion Pass

For that amount of points, you get:

Assuming the total value is $5,000, that means each Starwood point is worth nearly 6 cents ($5,000 / 90,000).  That’s a fantastic deal!  And of course, they’re worth even more depending on how often you’ll use the Companion Pass.

I gathered my Southwest and Marriott loyalty numbers.  Then called Marriott reservations at 888-236-2427.  I followed the prompts for an award booking.  The phone agent knew right away what I was asking for when I mentioned a “Hotel + Air package.”

He asked which airline I wanted.  I said Southwest and gave him my Southwest number.  The points were immediately taken out of my Marriott account.  And a few minutes later, my 7-night award certificate appeared!

The entire phone call took less than 5 minutes.
My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
First, I Saw 120,000 Southwest Points in My Account

Two days later, I noticed 120,000 Southwest points were added to my account.  But no Companion Pass yet!

Folks on Reddit said this was normal.  And that the Companion Pass would show up a few days later.
My Experience Getting The Southwest Companion Pass With Hotel Points
Yay! The Companion Pass Showed up Soon After the Transfer

And it did!  I got a welcome email from Southwest.  And was able to add a companion after logging-in to my account.

There were no snags, and the entire process was entirely smooth – from earning the Starwood points and transferring them to booking the award with Marriott to finally earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

And I can’t wait to fly Southwest with a partner through the end of 2018!

Want More Southwest Points?

Link:   Chase Southwest Plus Card

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Card

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier Small Business Card

You can earn 50,000 Southwest points with the Chase Southwest Premier (personal) or Chase Southwest Plus cards when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

So you’ll earn 104,000 Southwest points by signing-up for 2 of these cards (100,000 Southwest points in sign-up bonuses + 4,000 Southwest points from minimum spending), putting you just 6,000 Southwest points away from the Southwest Companion Pass!

But Chase has increased its sign-up bonus on the Chase Southwest Premier small business card to 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 in 3 months.

So if you sign-up for the Chase Southwest Premier small business and 1 Chase Southwest personal card, you would instantly qualify for the Companion Pass after meeting minimum spending requirements!

Bottom Line

Through March 31, 2017, hotel points transfers will help you earn the Southwest Companion Pass until the end of 2018.  That’s nearly 2 full years that a partner can fly on any Southwest flight with you for only the cost of taxes & fees!

I earned the Companion Pass with a points transfer from Marriott.  And the process was easy and smooth.  The phone call to Marriott took 5 minutes!

It’s important to make a plan to earn the points needed if you want to earn the Companion Pass this way.  Here’s a guide on everything you need to know.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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