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The New Transfer Rates
Wyndham Hotels includes Baymont Inn, Days Inn, Hawthorne Suites, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Microtel, Ramada Super 8, Travelodge, Wingate, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Garden, and Wyndham Grand Collection.
Previously, you got 2,400 Southwest points for every 8,000 Wyndham hotel points. That’s 0.3 Southwest points for 1 Wyndham hotel point.
But now you get only 1,200 Southwest points for every 6,000 Wyndham hotel points. This is 0.2 Southwest points for 1,200 Wyndham hotel points.
Why This is Bad News
This makes it harder to transfer points to Southwest Airlines and earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
Why? Because it lets a companion fly with you for free whenever you fly on Southwest. And it doesn’t matter if you pay for your flight with points or cash – your companion flies free (~$10 in taxes and fees) either way!
How do I Earn the Companion Pass?
You have to earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points within one calendar year (January 1 to December 31) to get the Companion Pass. And the 50,000 point (when available) sign-up bonus from the credit cards count towards the Companion Pass.
How do I get the Extra Points?
Even if you signed up for the Southwest Credit Cards, you would still need ~6,000 extra points for the Southwest Companion Pass.
In my experience, you can transfer hotel points such as Hyatt or Choice hotel points to Southwest. And the transfer does count as Companion Pass points. Of course, this could change at any time.
Previously, 8,000 Wyndham points converted to 2,400 Southwest points. So you would have needed 24,000 Wyndham points to get 7,200 Southwest Companion Pass points. You could have bought these points for ~$264.
But you now need 30,000 Wyndham hotel points to get 6,000 Southwest points. And these 30,000 Wyndham hotel points cost $330.
Note that Wyndham does have a 20% bonus on buying Wyndham hotel points up to March 31, 2014. But you’re still paying more than what it used to cost!
Additional Ways to Earn Points Toward The Southwest Companion Pass
Fortunately, there are actually a number of ways to earn points toward the Companion Pass.
The best way is to use Choice hotel points. 6,000 Choice hotel points convert to 1,800 Southwest points.
You can buy Choice points for $11 per 1,000 points, but are limited to 20,000 Choice hotel points per year.
So you’d spend $198 to buy 18,000 Choice points (points are transferable only in multiples of 6,000) to get 5,400 Southwest Airline points.
Wyndham’s point devaluation has made it more expensive to earn the Southwest Companion Pass by transferring Wyndham points.
But using Wyndham points wasn’t the best way to buy points toward the Companion Pass unless you bought them at a big discount in the once-a-year Daily Getaways. It is still cheaper to buy Choice hotel points and transfer them to Southwest.