It’s Personal: I just got a SWA Companion Pass!

For the past few months, I’ve been watching with keen interest as the recent Marriott/SPG merger opened up new opportunities to earn a coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

companion pass

In brief, it’s now possible to transfer Amex Rewards points –> SPG points –> Marriott points –> Marriott Travel Packages (exchange your points for a week of hotel accommodations with airline miles included) –> Companion Pass. You can get on this train at any one of the stops and still end up at the same destination. 😉 The end goal is to get 110,000 Southwest Points, which is the amount you need to earn in a year to earn the pass.

More Info About The SWA Companion Pass

  • The Companion Pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earn it, plus the entire next year.  So if you get the pass in January of 2017, it’ll be good through December of 2018.
  • The pass is especially valuable because your companion can fly for free even when you are flying on an award ticket using points.
  • Another great feature is that you can name up to three people (one at a time, of course) during the life of the pass.

Recent Developments

Over the past few days, a couple of things happened that made me decide to pull the trigger on this deal.

  1. First, on January 1, 2017, Southwest unexpectedly pulled the plug on a longtime method of earning the pass, which was to convert Hyatt or Marriott points to Southwest points. Then, on January 5, in an amazing display of goodwill, they reversed their decision until March 31, 2017! Crazy times! Nothing like a little drama to snap a girl into action! Gotta act fast!
  2. Southwest started flying from Oakland to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas – for SUPER CHEAP. As in 7,128 points for a nonstop flight! This means that my family of 4 could fly to Mexico for less than 60,000 points roundtrip (45,000 if I use my companion pass). Woo!

What I Did

I’ve been really focused on my job lately, and as a result I haven’t planned many family trips (in fact, one of my goals for 2017 is to travel more).

For this reason, my points and miles balances have really built up. I was sitting on 30,000 SPG points, plus a ton of Amex points, so I decided to transfer 180,000 Amex points to SPG (at a ratio of 3:1). This gave me an additional 60,000 SPG points, for a total of 90,000.

Since SPG points transfer to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio, I transferred all of my 90,000 SPG points to Marriott, for a total of 270,000 Marriott points.

Then I called Marriott (1-800-321-7396) to purchase a Southwest/Marriott Travel Package. This is an incredible value – you can exchange 270,000 Marriott points for 120,000 Southwest points PLUS a 7-night Marriott stay at a Category 1-5 property.

 

marriott travel package

Honestly, I’m not even sure I’ll use the hotel stay. This deal was good enough without it! If I do manage to find a property that works, I’ll consider it gravy.

In the meantime, I’m busy planning a couple of trips to Mexico. With 120,000 Southwest points, I have almost enough for a total of 3 roundtrips.

Happy New Year, indeed!

Has anyone else decided to get the Southwest Companion Pass this year?

Comments

  1. How long did it take for the SW miles to post in your account from when you placed the call with Marriott?

  2. How does it work if you have not yet determined how you will use the 7-night hotel stay? Do you get a voucher in your account that you can use whenever you want? What are the time constraints?

  3. The 7 night Cat. 1-5 voucher is good for 1 year from issuance however, when I called Marriott to get hotel and flight package the rep. was very clear that it can be extended if you don’t use it within that year. It is a certificate in your account so you don’t have to book a stay until you are ready.

    On a side note, I used last years 7 night cat. 1-5 certificate from the hotel and flights package to book a very nice stay at the Marriott San Jose Hotel and Resort in Costa Rica. It was fantastic especially since I am Marriott Gold with Executive Lounge privilages through my AMEX Platinum which give you SPG Gold that confers Marriott Gold when you combine accounts.

    I also flew to San Jose on Southwest Airlines using my companion pass. I highly recommend these redemptions. Combining this great deals in Costa Rica is about as good as it gets!!

  4. You are amazing. I wish I was married to you so that it was a slam dunk as to who would keep track of this stuff for me.
    thanks for doing what you do.
    love.

  5. Congrats on getting the Companion Pass! I’ve had it for the last 10 years and it’s core to my travel strategy each year.

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