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I recently had a reader ask if Marriott points transferred to Southwest count towards the Companion Pass. Good question.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best domestic airfare deals out there. That’s because the Companion Pass lets you bring a passenger for free on any revenue or award flight. Fantastic.
You have to earn 110,000 eligible Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass. Currently, sign-up bonuses earned from the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards do count towards the Companion Pass. So, you could almost reach the 110k qualifying miles by getting approved for the business & personal 50,000 SW credit card offers. This is something that Jordan and I have done in the past, but now I focus on Chase travel cards that help us travel internationally. But that’s just us. While I’m on Chase cards, read here on some new data concerning applying for Chase cards.
After meeting the 110,000 points qualification, you will receive the Companion Pass for the remainder of that calendar year and the FULL following year. This is why you will want to meet the qualifications as early in the year as possible, so you can basically get the Companion Pass for 2 years. Pretty darn valuable.
Do Transferred Marriott Points Count Towards the Companion Pass?
Back to the question that started this post. Hotel points transferred into Southwest will count towards the Companion Pass. So yes, Marriott points transferred to SW can help you achieve the Companion Pass. I actually bought some Marriott points and transferred them to Southwest to top off my account a couple of years ago for the Companion Pass. It always hurts me to buy points, but I did come out on top since I had the Companion Pass for two years.
The transfer rate isn’t great with Marriott transfers to Southwest, though. If you transfer under 30k points, you get a ratio of 5:1. Ouch. But the ratio goes to 3:1 when you transfer 30,000 points or more. So 30,000 Marriott points would net you 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.
30,000 Marriott points could get you one free award night at a category 6 property, or 2 free nights at a category 3 property. Another option with Marriott points and Southwest is the hotel and air package. For 270,000 Marriott points, you could get 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points (good for the Companion Pass), and 7 nights at a category 1-5 Marriott property.
This takes a lot of Marriott points, but you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink business cards into Marriott.
Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Southwest will not count towards the Companion Pass. Sorry to break that news to you, but thankfully there are other options.
Is Marriott the Best Hotel Transfer Option?
You do have some other options for transferring hotel points to Southwest Rapid Rewards, besides Marriott.
Hyatt has a better transfer ratio than Marriott, but I value Hyatt points higher. For example, you will get 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points after transferring in 25,000 Hyatt points. Not for me. You do get a bonus of 6,000 points if you transfer 50,000 Hyatt points, though. So 50,000 Hyatt points would net you 30,000 Marriott points. Remember, you can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt or Marriott.
Other options would be the Wyndham and Choice Privileges hotel programs (transfer partners of Amex Membership Rewards). Wyndham recently devalued their transfers, so you will now only receive 1,200 SW points for every 6,000 Wyndham points. You can transfer 24,000 Choice points to Southwest and receive 6,400 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. A lot of people buy Choice points since they are the most affordable. 24,000 points will cost you $264. There are often deals and discounts for buying Choice points, too. You’re capped at buying 50,000 Choice points per year.
The Southwest Companion Pass is a great deal for domestic flying, and you can help yourself reach the 110,000 qualifying points by transferring hotel points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. The Marriott offer makes it easier to get a handful of Marriott points right now, but I would only transfer Marriott points to SW if you’re not able to take advantage of the nights and flights package since that’s the best value with Marriott & Southwest.
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